Eco-friendly, eco-conscious, earth-friendly, recyclable, compostable. You’ve probably seen one or all of these words often in the last 3 years or so. But what do all of these mean and why is it so important?
Today’s group of humans have become very aware of the damage that has been caused in relation to our planet. We’ve dumped so much plastic in the ocean that there’s literally a place in the Pacific Ocean called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you’re like us, you’ve either done your research and are on your way to helping create an eco-friendly environment, or you’ve just begun your journey, and you’ve stumbled upon this perspective that will help you and your e-commerce company begin the journey to eco-consciousness.
Make your product eco-friendly.
Your product is the most important item. Whether you are a company that sells clothing, stationery, or you create prepackaged meals for consumers who don’t have time to cook, there are ways you can make your product a little friendlier for mother earth. There are several things you could look for to help you find the right materials to create your product with.
If you’re selling clothing, bags or any other apparel, consider collaborating with companies that use responsibly sourced organic materials like cotton and hemp. You could also knock out 2 birds with 1 stone by using recycled plastic materials. companies like Econyl provide the raw materials to create a range of items like carpets, backpacks, and swimsuits all from recycled nylon. It keeps the plastic out of the ocean, out of the way of marine animals, and you’re helping repurpose a material that is supposed to take about 500 years to fully break down.
If your company cooks and delivers meals, consider teaming up with your local farmer. Not only are you helping your local community, but you’re also ensuring the quality of your food lasts longer since your ingredients don’t have to travel cross country. You also have the added bonus of knowing your ingredients very likely won’t have many (or any) chemicals or fertilizers used, making your ingredients as natural as possible.
Sourcing materials is probably tedious. From making sure it’s affordable and allows you to make a profit. However, also consider making sure that it has the lowest impact on the planet and those who live in it.
Make your packaging eco-friendly.
Aside from your product, the next biggest item is the packaging. There are many creative ways you can design your packaging, and truly the only limitation is your imagination. Many companies provide 100% post-consumer materials, meaning that the entire thing is made from 100% recycled material. There are many companies that also use low VOC inks. This means that the ink won’t create harmful substances once the packaging starts to break down.
If it fits well with your product, and your consumers, you could also use compostable packaging. As it says in its name, it can be tossed right into the compost to help feed home gardens. Other alternatives to paper materials are glass and metal (like aluminum and tin) which all recycle pretty nicely. If you have fragile items, you may want to consider an alternative to bubble wrap. Some companies have made packaging materials made from recycled paper that works just as well as bubblewrap. No, it doesn’t have the calming effect of popping bubbles. But that’s not why you chose bubblewrap in the first place, is it?
By choosing eco-conscious packaging you’re adding another level of thought to your brand that doesn’t just say “this product is what you need” but also “this product was made responsibly”.
Make all your marketing materials eco-friendly
Aside from going online with your marketing, there are ways you can make your marketing materials eco-friendly. You can start by using eco-friendly materials for your business card, letterheads, and other print materials. Print only as much as you need. If you have swag to give away or sell consider creating useful items that you know people will use. Items such as hats, tees, and bags. Exnay on the fad items that will probably end up accumulating space in landfills after they’ve lost their charm. I’m looking at you, fidget spinners!
Eliminate your carbon footprint.
Now, we understand that the planet goes through its many phases of heating and cooling, but we ought to know that all the fossil fuels we’re burning is really not great for the planet and all its residents. Consider teaming up with reputable companies like carbonfund.org and onetreeplanted.org to see what you can do to help combat the immense amount of carbon we’re emitting. If you choose to go with the latter, you’re also helping create new habitats for our forest friends. In addition, jobs for the locals who help plant the trees.
Help get rid of plastic.
As I’ve said above, the planet goes through the ebb and flow of extreme heat to extreme cool. This is natural. What isn’t natural is the absurd amount of plastic everywhere. Humans are the only species on the planet that know that plastic isn’t edible. Many animals (mostly marine) are suffering from starvation due to consuming plastic that they’ve mistaken for food. You can help do you bit by donating to companies like 4ocean.org and plasticbank.com which pull and recycle plastic from the ocean. If you’re not ready to take the leap, use OceanHero as your search engine. They’ll pull 1 bottle of plastic for every 5 searches.
Make your office eco-friendly.
As they say, it all starts at home. Not ready to make any huge changes yet? You could always start by making a few small changes in the office! You could start by providing kitchenware like utensils, plates, and cups that can be rewashed and reused. Also providing a way for employees to heat their meals will give them the opportunity to bring meals from home instead of getting takeout.
If you’ve made it this far in this perspective you’ve taken the first step in directing your company into the path of eco-friendliness. In this day and age, many consumers are doing their best to help combat pollution. By choosing to make your company eco-friendly, you’re not only helping them make the easiest decision in purchasing your product, but you may have also gained their loyalty.