Eco Friendly Ideas to Package Art

María Escalona June 11 2021

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Are you as worried as me about bubble wrap? Or about plastic tape and plastic mailers in landfills and oceans? Then here are 7 tips to take into consideration when packaging and shipping your art as an independent artist.

Have you begun making sales and shipping out your one-of-a-kind artwork? That is great news! But have you asked yourself where your packaging goes after your buyer receives it? Are you thinking about how much waste your practice may produce? You are not the only one! A lot of artists and companies are looking for, and creating, eco-friendly alternatives to wasteful packaging. Here are 7 ideas for the conscientious emerging artist looking for more sustainable ways to package and ship art.

Reuse, recycle, repurpose
If you are creative, (and hoard) enough like me, you will find yourself surrounded with materials deserving of a second life. A package that you receive could be the box for your next artwork, that newspaper you stashed away for months could be a cool wrapping paper, the possibilities are endless!

Photo by Furoshiki

Or even better, consider adopting the eco-friendly philosophy of Furoshiki, wrapping and protecting gifts and packages with a cloth. Instead of throwing away those ill fitted t-shirts, stained tablecloths, or old dresses, try folding and tying them for a thoughtful and plastic-free solution.

Buy local

" Solitude " by Antoine Devictor.

By prioritizing buying from stores near you, you will reduce your carbon footprint by limiting car or air travel. In addition, you will also be contributing to the local economy. Everyday, more entrepreneurs and small businesses are adopting eco-friendly practices. By creating partnerships with them, buying from them, or promoting them, more and more people will become aware of environmental issues and their importance.

Consider going to thrift stores, eco depots, garage sales, and small supply stores near you. You would be surprised by how many materials you could find for great deals, like vintage envelopes, wrapping paper, stickers, stamps, boxes, or stationery.

Ask for it!
As you may know, many stores throw away enormous quantities of waste every month when they receive shipments. But that waste could be a gold mine for emerging artists who may be on a budget, or simply trying to make use of what is already out there. If you are polite and your timing is right, you may find yourself with good quality cardboard, packaging to fill like corrugated paper and plastic, bubble wrap, boxes, and even wood for crates. You only have to ask for it!

Inform yourself

Photo by Ecoenclose

When buying shipping supplies or materials, make sure to find out what they are made of, how they decompose, and how you should dispose of them. Ask the companies if necessary; some websites are very transparent and informative about the processes they use. For example, this article by Ecoenclose about Compostable versus Biodegradable Packaging. Others are more secretive about it, and possibly are not as sustainable. With that information, the decision is yours to make.

Think about the best end of life options for your products
It is useful to ask yourself how you think your buyers will use these products, and what they will do with them once they can no longer be used. Can you do something to extend the product's lifespan? Maybe use materials that they can reuse or transform, like a thank you card with seeds from Botanical Paperworks.

Inform your buyers
Once you transition to using eco-friendly practices, tell your customers! And, if necessary, tell them how to dispose of them. Include a little note clarifying if your materials are compostable but not biodegradable, or only recyclable, or they could be used in a fun and creative way. In addition to that, invite your clients to participate in these practices. There are a lot of fun and personalized options available now to brand yourself that are also eco friendly; for example, recycled business cards from Moo, these blank compostable labels from Pure Labels, this recyclable, biodegradable, compostable and customizable tissue paper from Ecoenclose or these compostable mailers by Noissue.

Measure and budget before ordering

Once you find a supply store that resonates with your goals, practices, and aesthetics, I highly recommend that you plan ahead the quantities and products that you need. This is especially helpful if you are buying in bulk. Take measurements of your artwork, and if possible, establish consistent dimensions for your pieces to budget more efficiently. This way, you can avoid wasting bits of material, or accumulating stuff that you don't need anymore. Also, customers will appreciate packaging that is made to measure, that is not wasteful, and is easy to open and reuse.

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anastasia_koutso1260 replied 1 year, 7 months ago Being mindful of our planet is always a good idea, thank you!