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Creating an Environmentally Friendly Small Business

Updated: Jul 23

Learning how to create an environmentally friendly small business was a challenge. When I first began my shop, all my items were packaged in plastic. Now, the only plastic used is the same size as a tack.

I didn’t realize how much plastic I was producing until I noticed it personally. When I was little, I was taught to recycle and not to buy individually packaged items because it was the right thing to do and eco-friendly. As I got older, I began to realize that the people around me weren’t as conscientious as I was. 

Noticing the impact I had on the planet, I also began to see the impact of my business and the role model I could become by making changes. I’ve found my shop to benefit from switching to a more environmentally friendly process. I could drive in a different audience, become a leader by example, support small businesses, and overall: make a positive impact on the planet.

The only downside to becoming environmentally friendly is the cost. It can be hard to make a choice from something very cheap to something a bit more pricey but the benefits can be outweighed.

After hours and hours of research and product testing, I have put together a list of methods and products I currently use. Here I will tell you all about the products I purchase and why I use them:

Felt

What I use: The felt I currently use is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

What I’ve Learned: Felt made from recycled plastic, this is great right? Super eco-friendly I thought! Not so much so. What I have learned is that creating felt out of recycled polyester, not only emits polyester particles into the atmosphere but it also can’t become recycled. This doesn’t create a circular system, that is why I don’t believe that this felt is the solution. I decided to do more research.

Bamboo Felt: After some research, I first came upon bamboo felt. I thought that this was a perfect alternative but quickly learned that the felt is actually made using dyes that cause the fabric to become not compostable. This made it not very different from using recycled polyester.

Wool Felt: The difficulty with wool felt starting out is it is not a vegan material. An alternative to this is to find a wool source that is local, trustworthy and treats their sheep with care. This can be fairly difficult to find online. Knowing which brands to trust and take their word for it.

Recycled Natural Felt: As some may know, the company Patagonia creates some products with recycled fabric material. In the interest of using the material for my items, I dove in to find the source. I fell short after learning that the recycled natural fibers are actually produced with a small number of polyester fibers as well, to make the end result durable. This although in turn, makes the fabric not biodegradable.

Solution: Wool felt that’s fair trade to both sheep and workers and is not produced with chemicals or toxic dyes.

Shipping Supplies

What I use now: Paper tape, Kraft 100% recycled mailers from EcoEnclose.

What I’ve learned: I first began my shop by using the yellow bubble mailers. This was not only producing virgin plastic but also not able to be recycled. After a simple google search of “eco-friendly shipping supplies,” I found my way to EcoEnclose.com.

Paper 

What I use now: 100% recycled and renewable energy produced cardstock, 100% recycled printer paper, 100% recycled business cards and 100% recycled custom note cards.

What I’ve learned: Ever since I’ve known, my parents have purchased the paper we use as a family to be 100% recycled. The replacement for the printer paper was an easy one, not really any replacing had to be done. For the recycled cardstock and business cards, those were found through a simple google search. What I use now for business cards is a cheap option and comes without plastic but in my search, I found some other great tree-free options you can check out here:

Plantable cards: Here and here

Banana cards: Here and here

Simply 100% recycled: Here and here

To better visual my efforts as an environmentally friendly small business, check out my Ecofriendly page here

This blog post uses some affiliate links, help support me by supporting others

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