Monday, April 4, 2011

The 2nd R

Reduce Reuse Recycle.

We've always recycled our cardboard and re-used the crushed paper, bubble wrap and other inner-packaging materials that come our way. However, one of our frequently used shipping materials, Tyvek envelopes, proved to be problematic.

Tyvek is theoretically a 100% recyclable product, but a local collection infrastructure does not exist. Instead, the recommended solution is to ship a big, new Tyvek bag stuffed full of the used Tyvek bags, all the way across the country, where the material will be down-cycled into plastic benches, decking and similar products. To us, this did not make much sense, so we decided to ask our customers if they would like the option to receive their orders in reused packaging.

The response to our query was overwhelmingly positive so we quickly implemented an option in our shopping cart to allow customers to select previously used packaging. We also switched from recycling cardboard boxes to reusing as many cardboard boxes as possible.

We are happy to report that more than 30% of our customers are now choosing this option!

THANK YOU to all of our customers who choose to reuse packaging - we appreciate your assistance in helping us to reduce our impact on the planet.

PS. We will still be recycling the Tyvek envelopes that have reached the end of their useful lives, but we are collecting them until a local recycling option becomes available or we can ship them in bulk via a freight carrier instead of the more expensive (and more polluting) small package carriers.

PPS. Yes, we are considering having the reuse option be checked by default. We'll work the kinks out first at lower volumes and if all goes well, it will become the default choice.