For a long time I used heavyweight brown paper padded bags to send stuff out in, but Jiffy recently discontinued these, and the replacements are a weird 'gold' colour rather than a nice traditional brown.
On top of that, one downside to standard padded envelopes is that they're difficult to recycle - the plastic bubbly bit has to be separated from the paper, which not all recycling centres are set up to handle.
So I wondered, if I can't have lovely heavy brown paper, could I perhaps find something a bit more planet-friendly? Turns out the answer was yes. At the same time, I managed to streamline my packing process, and save a bit of paper too.
My original system involved printing out two sheets - one with the address on, one with the receipt. Then I had to manually cut out the address and tape it to the envelope. The place I bought the envelopes from had cunning sheets of paper which had two pre-cut, pre-stickied labels built in. After an adjustment to my address template, I had a single sheet on which I could print receipt and label in one go. Saves me paper, saves me time - just peel off the label and stick down.
Here are two sets of packaging for the pendant in the middle of the picture. On the left, the original envelope, receipt and separate address label. Right, the new lightweight envelope and combined address label/receipt.
The new white bags are all-plastic, which means most recycling centres can handle them easily - even allowing for removing the address label. These bags are extremely lightweight, which keeps postage costs down (especially as there's a temporary 'superlight' category at the Post Office right now) and they're really strong and even waterproof as well. The plastic isn't quite as nice to touch as the brown paper, but it is a smooth, silky finish which is a bit different to standard packaging. So I think my products still make a good first impression, and hopefully leave less of an impression on the planet at the same time.
The only downside is that I don't get to use my nice branded stickers to 'seal' the envelopes with. But on the other hand, I now have a load of spare stickers I can stick on things!
Want to see my packaging for yourself? Buy something and I'll send it to you.