Lost Fern Goods f*@$ing loves the environment. That’s why we’re committed to continue focusing and improving the materials we use, the suppliers we work with, and the footprint we make. Sharing these resources is important to us—it shouldn’t be so hard for business owners to find the companies and resources that will help make our world a better place. This is one thing we’ll never be protective of or unwilling to share, so if you’re a fellow creative or even just want to know more, feel free to give us a shout!
**We don’t receive any compensation for links. These are all products we simply love and use.**
things we do already do
There’s a surprising amount of supplies that need to be ordered to make a business run. A lot of these things you aren’t able to buy (or at least get in bulk) at local stores, so ordering online is inevitable. Lost Fern Goods saves virtually all boxes and packing supplies from these orders. From this, we haven’t had to buy packing materials (bubble wrap, air pillows, paper) at all and a good number of orders are packed in reused boxes and mailers. Sure, we could make every package super lovely and streamlined, but if we have mailers that can be reused, we’re going to use those first!
MAILERS: Occasionally, because of the size of a print or to protect the product, we do use new mailers. We source from EcoEnclose, a company in Colorado. We use their 100% recycled paperboard mailers, 90% of which is post-consumer recycled content. They also have tab locks, so no adhesive strip waste here! Please note we are running through the last of our mailers that do have adhesive strips. TIP: These are fully recyclable, but we always encourage reusing first. These are sturdy enough you should have no problem using them for your next package!
**EcoEnclose only uses FSC Recycled 100% paperboard to make their mailers, produced in mills that are Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) Certified, Chain of Custody FSC® Certified and PEFC Chain of Custody Certified.
TAPE: We also use corn starch water-activated reinforced paper tape from EcoEnclose. This can stay on your package if you choose to recycle it rather than reuse. TIP: If you reuse the package, just leave the previous tape on and you’ll only have to re-tape where you opened. Reinforced paper tape is strong and should last for another shipment!
**Reinforced tape contains fiberglass which is a type of plastic with glass fibers. We’ve decided to use this rather than non-reinforced tape because you only need to use one strip due to its strength. Non-reinforced tape isn’t as strong so you have to use more product to make sure a box is secure.
FOR SHIPMENTS: Besides packing materials, it’s fun to make your order look pretty. We want to continue doing this, but are also aware that this can create waste that immediately gets thrown away. Any tissue paper, string, or ribbon that we use for your orders are materials that we had purchased in the past and still have, were given, bought second-hand, or saved from gifts. We use washi tape (comes on cardboard rolls) occasionally.
CARDS: Our favorite change (and one we’d love feedback on!) is for any online customers, our cards will not ship in plastic sleeves. Instead they’ll be placed in a paper sleeve, closed tight with pretty washi tape. Plastic sleeves are currently necessary for retail shops and craft shows to protect items, but since we’re directly sending to you, there isn’t much chance for it to get damaged. TIP: If you’re giving the card as a gift just leave it in the sleeve—it’s basically already gift wrapped! We don’t put price stickers on any of our items.
BACKING: All of our prints include 100% recycled, unvarnished chipboard pad (currently from EcoEnclose) as the backing. This protects the print from bending and will help you keep it safe until you are ready to frame it. TIP: Reuse this as shipping material or as a protector or divider for your papers and files.
STICKERS, BUTTONS, POSTCARDS: While we still need to look into the actual materials and making of these items, we are proud that we only use companies based in the U.S. These companies produce everything themselves rather than outsourcing. We also do not package any of these items as they are sturdy enough to be handled without any further protection.
CARDS AND PRINTS: Nicole prints everything herself in Detroit, MI on a professional Epson inkjet printer. While more research needs to go into the use of ink and the possibility of switching to a better alternative, we save a lot in packaging and shipping costs by printing in small batches at home rather than outsourcing to a print house. We participate in Epson’s recycling program and send back all empty ink and maintenance cartridges. The printer was bought second-hand in 2011 and we’ll make every effort to fix it before moving on to a different printer.
SECONDS: Rather than throwing products away that have slight imperfections, we offer them for sale at low cost. Any cards or prints that aren’t able to be sold as seconds, are used for test prints before recycling.
TRIMMINGS: Trimmings from cutting prints and cards down to size are mostly saved. We try to be creative in how to reuse these whether it is in packaging or for use in our studio and small runs of fun products. Any that we can’t reuse are recycled.
things we want to improve and change in 2019
This year, we’re hoping to switch our paper and envelope provider to French Paper Co. and print our cards on sheets rather than individually. This will ensure better quality of our paper, keep it local, and produce less packaging waste from ordering. UPDATE: We’ve made the switch!! All of our cards are now printed on 100% recycled paper. Our normal use envelopes are now 100% recycled Kraft.
We use clear bags for all of our card and print packaging. We can’t get around this for our retailers, but are hoping to figure out a good solution for shipping prints without the bags. Eco-friendly clear bags are often cloudy, scratch easily, and most are quite difficult to recycle or compost; this is something we’ll keep searching for. In the meantime, after we use up our stock, we are switching to no-flap bags to cut down on the adhesive strip waste.