As a business we have a responsibility to ensure our environmental footprint is as small as possible. We only have one planet and as a homeware retailer we have a duty to ensure that we operate in a sustainable and eco-conscious manner to protect our natural resources and prevent further damage to our planet.
As a result, we're doing as much as we possibly can to become a fully sustainable homeware business. We're proud of the steps we've taken to date, but we've still got work to do! In this guide you'll learn what steps we've taken in becoming a sustainable business; from our energy usage, to the delivery packaging we use.
A carbon-neutral website
An important element of ensuring we're operating a sustainable business is how we manage our website. Websites require hosting in data centres that consume vast amounts of electricity and in many cases, are powered from non-renewable energy sources. However, our website is hosted on the Google Cloud platform which is carbon-neutral. Google matches 100% of the energy consumed with renewable energy and the data centres that they operate consume on average 50% less energy than a typical data centre (data from Google Cloud Sustainability). We also utilise Cloudflare as our CDN which is powered by 100% green energy. Our website is certified as green hosted by The Green Web Foundation.
Powered by 100% renewable energy
Our business premises are powered by 100% renewable energy, provided by Bulb. For every unit of electricity that we use, Bulb make sure a unit is produced and put on the UK power grid by a renewable source including solar, wind and hydro. Every unit of renewable electricity that Bulb purchase is accredited by Ofgem, meaning that they can verify the amount of renewable energy being supplied is 100%.
Reducing our energy consumption
Alongside using 100% renewable energy, we've also taken steps to reduce the amount of energy we consume. All of our lighting has been upgraded to A+ energy rated LED bulbs, saving approximately 63kg of CO2 per year (data from Energy Saving Trust).
Sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging
As an online retailer, every order we dispatch to a customer has to be packed in a suitable manner to ensure its contents arrive safely. Using acrylic packaging tapes and large amount of single use plastic packing materials would be the easy option, but this just doesn't sit with our ethos of reducing our environmental impact.
As a result, we've taken steps to utilise environmentally friendly and fully recyclable packaging, reducing the impact that our packaging has and continue to search for new packaging materials that can enable us to further reduce.
FSC certified, unbleached and 100% recyclable boxes
The cardboard boxes that we dispatch customer orders in are unbleached, meaning that they are made from raw cardboard that is free from colouring chemicals, and as a result are 100% recyclable. All of our cardboard boxes bear the Forest Stewardship Council mix stamp, boxes that bear this label are made using a mixture of materials from FSC-certified forests, recycled materials, and/or FSC controlled wood. While controlled wood is not from FSC certified forests, it mitigates the risk of the material originating from unacceptable sources. Our cardboard boxes are sourced from UK suppliers reducing the distance that they travel and ultimately reducing delivery emissions.
We also use a variety of box sizes, ensuring that products are packed in a box size that is most suitable to reduce the amount of packing materials being used and reducing the space it takes up in the delivery vehicle.
FSC certified, unbleached and 100% recyclable paper mailing bags
Smaller products are often dispatched in unbleached, 100% recyclable and compostable paper mailing bags. Similar to our cardboard boxes, our paper mailing bags bear the Forest Stewardship Council mix stamp, meaning that they have been made using a mixture of materials from FSC-certified forests, recycled materials, and/or FSC controlled wood. Our paper mailing bags are made in the UK, reducing the distance that they have travelled, reducing delivery emissions.
Recyclable brown craft paper packaging tape
We only use recyclable brown craft paper packaging tape for our customer orders. This means that when a customer recycles the box used for delivery the tape can also be recycled, this doesn't need to be removed from the box. We don't use any plastic packaging tapes.
Recycled paper bubble wrap
Where possible, we pack orders using recycled paper bubble wrap. The paper used is 100% recycled and once it reaches the end of its life, it's 100% recyclable and biodegradable. Paper bubble wrap is an effective alternative to plastic bubble wrap which provides cushioning for products during transit to the customer. Due to the nature of the recycled paper used in its production, this packaging material is brown in colour.
Recycled brown paper filling packaging
To decrease the risk of products being damaged in transit, we use recycled brown paper to fill in voids inside the box, holding products securely in position. This brown paper filling is manufactured from recycled paper and is unbleached, meaning it can be fully recycled by our customers.
We're working to replace plastic bubble wrap
Sadly, for some products that are fragile and easily breakable during transit, we do still have to use plastic bubble wrap packaging. The plastic bubble wrap we use is manufactured from one sort of plastic (Polyethylene) and therefore can be recycled, however, this is dependent upon local councils recycling guidelines. Most councils sadly don't accept polyethylene bubble wrap at the kerbside, but do at household recycling centres. As a result we do ask all customers to check with their local authority. If the bubble wrap cant be recycled, then we ask customers to re-use it to extend its lifecycle.
Printed paperwork free deliveries
To further reduce the environmental impact our customer deliveries, we have removed all printed paperwork from inside the parcels. We do not include a packing slip or an order invoice in customer deliveries, reducing the amount of paper and ink we use. When a customer places an order with us, they will receive a series of emails including an order and dispatch confirmation email rather, helping us to reduce our ink and paper usage.
Recycling and reusing supplier packaging
We recycle and re-use as much packaging as we possibly can, with our supplier delivery packaging either being processed for recycling locally or being re-used. If we send supplier packaging for recycling and plastic packaging tape has been used, it is stripped from the box to ensure it is fully recyclable and doesn't end up in landfill or being burnt to generate electricity as waste recovery. We also re-use as much supplier bubble wrap and protective packaging as possible, extending its life cycle and reducing the volume of new materials being used.
Using sustainable and ethical materials
Where possible, we attempt to source environmentally friendly homeware products for our store; from natural linen cushions and sustainable mango wood products, to our recycled glass vases.
Our natural linen cushions are dyed using Oeko-Tex certified inks, meaning that they are certified to be free from harmful or toxic chemicals. When our linen cushions finally come to the end of their useful life, the fibres are biodegradable, which means they won't be adding to landfill or poisoning the soil.
We also look to source products that are reclaimed, extending the life of items that may otherwise end up being thrown away. All of our reclaimed products are completely individual and unique, each with their own story to tell. We hope that our customers use these products and bring a second life to them within their homes.
We've still got more work to do!
We've implemented a range of changes to ensure we are on course to be a sustainable and responsible business, however, we openly admit that we've still got work to do!
We're working hard to find alternatives to plastic bubble wrap and where possible we're implementing greener technology to decrease our carbon foot-print. The next project for us is to identify how we can reduce the impact our delivery partners, such as Hermes, have on the environment, be it through offsetting carbon created by delivery vehicles or sourcing new delivery partners who already do this. We are always on the look out for new ways of doing things to help us on our mission of being a carbon-neutral business.
If you have any questions regarding our commitment to sustainability, or would like to know more about what we're doing to become a green business, then please do not hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be able to help!