Plastic free packaging

This year we are  rapidly shifting to plastic free packaging for all our greeting cards. Two of my main customers in Cornwall, the Eden Project, and the Tate St Ives, have plastic free shops. All the Light on the Sea cards are now supplied in biodegradable, compostable packaging made from corn starch, with envelopes made from recycled paper. The  cellophane (oil based) sleeves  which we used for greeting card packaging are being discontinued, and soon all our greeting cards will be in plastic free sleeves.

In 1950 the  world produced only 2 million tonnes of plastic per year. By 2015, annual production had increased nearly 200-fold, reaching 381 million tonnes, roughly equivalent to the mass of two-thirds of the world population. From 1950 to 2015 a total 7.8 billion tonnes of plastic had been produced, more than one tonne of plastic for every person alive today. Clearly this is completely unsustainable and at last we are starting to wake up to the problem.

Packaging is the dominant sectoral use of plastics globally accounting for 42 percent (146 million tonnes) in 2016. This was followed by construction with 19 percent (65 million tonnes). Since packaging tends to have a much lower product lifetime than other products (such as construction or textiles), it is also dominant in terms of annual waste generation. It is responsible for almost half of global plastic waste. The production of so-called ‘bioplastics’ or biodegradable plastics is currently very low: estimated at around 4 million tonnes per year (which would be just over one percent of global plastics production).

 

Sell your business on social media (Business Northumberland)

Yesterday I attended another very helpful half-day course in Hexham, run by Business Northumberland (https://www.businessnorthumberland.co.uk/). This time the subject was selling with social media such as instagram and facebook, and the tutor was Katherine Briggs. There were 16 businesses attending, some of whom were even newer to the social media world than I am, so for the first time, I felt as if I have moved slightly up the ladder of digital marketing knowledge! So in the months ahead there will be some more changes and development to this website, with new products becoming available – mainly new greeting card and designs, and prints.

WordPress workshop, Business Northumberland

Another great session this week in a Business Northumberland workshop on wordpress with John Allan. These fully funded workshops are invaluable in helping small businesses develop their range of skills in many areas asuch as digital marketing. As a relative newcomer to this topic, I now realise how much there is to learn but I hope the benefits will be added to this website in the months ahead. Meanwhile, it’s worth taking a look at https://www.businessnorthumberland.co.uk/ if you want to receive expert advice and tuition for your business development. And they also provide great lunches!

Hextol Foundation

The run up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for many businesses, and I am fortunate to have the Hextol Greenbox (part of Hextol Foundation) to do the large amount of packing needed to prepare my Seasons of Northumberland calendars,  and Northumberland Winter Christmas cards ready for sale every year. Hextol Foundation is ‘an independent charitable company, based in Hexham, which gives a sense of purpose to people who are learning disabled or who have mental ill-health by helping them develop their skills and confidence through work and personal achievement that creates a positive transformation in the quality of their lives’. Under the guidance of  chief executive Chris Milner, the Hextol Foundation provides an invaluable service for many businesses in this region, covering jobs such as packing, decorating, gardening and catering. Thank you to everyone at Hextol Foundation!

Photo by Roger Clegg