We've been around a little while now and it hasn't escaped the attention of our customers that our packaging is a little......boring, but there's good reason for it!
For those of you who have read our previous articles, you know that we're big advocates of reducing our environmental impact anywhere we can and our packaging is no exception, bottles have already been covered in our blog post here but what about our other items and why we omit certain items from our packaging and postal areas.
We'll start off with one of the more fundamental areas and that's our bottle labels, we use a company that produces 100% recyclable labels including the adhesive that holds the label to our bottles. But we went one step further with them, to save on recycling issues we changed from Dye based inks to Pigment based inks, it came to our attention that dye based inks were much more difficult to remove during the pulping process when paper gets recycled.
Instead of flotation deinking which works well with pigment based inks, dye based inks require the use of bleaching to clean the paper since the dye doesn't float to the surface, it might be a small thing to consider the inks used in the printing process but any little changes that we can make to lessen the impact to the environment has undoubtedly got to be a good move!
For our box packaging, we are making moves to remove dye based printing from them and move to fully pigment based, however to lessen the impact where we can, we use as few colours as possibly in the artwork, but for all the text, the Black ink we use is pigment based so that is where more of the focus is based.
For customers who have been with us for a while now may remember that we used to use shredded paper as our protective packaging for deliveries rather than foam inserts, packing peanuts or plastic trays and while it was a much more environmentally friendly solution as the paper was 100% recyclable there were two issues:
- The inks as mentioned before
- It made quite a bit of a mess if you weren't expecting it (one customer opened it outside just as the wind decided to pick up)
So we began to look at other ways we could protect the bottles while absorb any spillages in case of an accident during the delivery process. In the end we found that the bottles were actually very tough and could withstand a lot of punishment, so we decided to use mailing bags to store the order in, these had the advantages of containing any leaks, but also could be put straight into the recycling bin along with the box.
Or you could keep the box and reuse it to deliver other items or completed commission works.
For our revamped bundle packs, we used the notion again of keeping things simple while reducing the amount of non-recyclable or very difficult to recycle packaging at the very minimum, but then we realised that most bundle packs are just in a box and a box by definition is just a medium for transporting something, while we could have gone with all the bells and whistles to make the boxes look as attractive as possible we decided not to because:
- The first thing will be "Wow, this box looks so good"
- It will then go in the bin....
So with this in mind, we figured that a big flashy box was a little pointless and what you should actually be paying for is the product inside it and that's where we kept it.
Flashy packaging may look good, but it does come at a cost and also goes back to the first point of this article about inks. Barebones cardboard is far easier to recycle and in a strange way, stands out much more because it's very different from its counterparts.
But another thing you'll notice, and this is also very true of our mixing pack box, is that we don't use any foam inserts. This is because although the material to make them can be recycled, the low density of them makes them very difficult to recycle and not every recycling centre is set up to recycle them so the majority just ends up at landfill along with all other non recyclables. Instead we set out the contents in such a way that everything is kept firmly in place reducing any potential damage in transport.
We're always looking for ways to reduce our impact where we can in every aspect of the business, but also to our current and future customers to help reduce their impact on the environment too.
This also goes for many of the future projects we have on the go as well that look to make the hobby more green but some of the achievements we have done so far since 2017.
Alpha - The ultimate miniature paint, VOC free, Airbrush ready and able to stick well to bare plastic, metal and resin with a small modification of Varnish+ and Matte+ reducing the use of aerosol based, high VOC (Air polluting) priming products or airbrush paints that require Alcohol based products to thin them.
Soap+ Deep Clean - As powerful as traditional based paint removal products without the use of dangerous solvents and PH neutral, safer to use and even safe to use even on skin while being environmentally friendly and water washable
Packaging and Bottles - All bundle pack and postal packaging 100% recyclable. Thanks to the Alpha formulation, less paint is left on the inside of the PET bottles making it much easier to process, but reusability and refilling is highly encouraged. Bottle labels fully printed with pigment based ink and uses compostable adhesive. Grip Seal bags are LDPE, 100% recyclable
INSTAR Paint system - Encourages reusability by providing simple to follow recipes allowing people to refill initially purchased bottles at home from 100% recyclable bottles.