Because doing cons has basically become my actual job now instead of just a thing I do sometimes, I’ve become more aware of how much waste I create and I’m trying to be more conscious about it.
Yeah, the earth is dying. Yeah, it’s arrogant to assume that anything that I, a single person, does is having a grand effect. Yeah, it seems pointless. But humans are creatures of anxiety, and if it clears my conscious to do it then I will live my life in this way instead of feeling guilty, pointless or not.
As much as I love creating cute packaging in cellophane plastic bags, I researched some alternatives to such things after reading some starting points from this twitter thread.
Other useful thing that was posted in the thread of what’s the difference between biodegradable vs compostable. Basically compostable > biodegradable because if it’s compostable it leaves no residue behind (only good stuff for plants); biodegradable sometimes leaves toxic waste behind.
This post is mostly detailing different types of packaging to use.
The first thing mentioned in the thread is PLA bags which are a type of plastic that’s created from renewable resources (corn). They are biodegradable, but can only be composted in commercial facilities which are apparently in few numbers, you can’t put it in your composter in your back yard. They degrade very, very slowly. Also, you can’t put them in the same recycling bin as traditional plastic (cello bags or soda bottles), they are chemically different and can screw up the recycling process if sorted improperly. If they rot in a landfill it can take 100-1000 years for a bottle to breakdown because a landfill is so tightly packed.
They seem to act and look very much like cello bag plastic.
Kraft bags I feel are the most Eco-friendly thing on this list because they’re just recycled paper, but you can’t see the product inside obviously which irks me. You can stamp them or get custom kraft bags with your branding. I wouldn’t mind having custom kraft bags for large things if I ever make it big.
Glassine is paper that is a bit transparent, so you can still see the product in the bag albeit it is mostly muddled. Finding small glassine bags seems to be difficult (at least on Amazon)? I couldn’t get 3×4 for my usual charm bags so I got 3×5.5 on amazon which is…weird but alright. (You can get 3×4 from ClearBags but their shipping is fucking insane so I don’t use them anymore…) They are biodegradable and compostable, usually used for food too. They’re grease, water and air resistant like plastic.
I feel like I prefer these because they’re the middle ground between kraft and PLA bags? You cant see the product in kraft bags but you can see it in glassine, PLA’s still plastic so it can cause issues being with other plastics, glassine is just paper and causes no such issues.
However, because glassine tends to be used only for small items like baked goods, they don’t really manufacture large glassine bags (with which to use for large prints). They make large glassine sheets, but this is to put between food or to simply cover artwork, not hold it.
Currently, I’ve been transitioning to glassine for my small items and anything below 5×7 prints. I still use cello bags for 8×10 and 11×17 prints. I do not know why, but large envelopes made of kraft paper are insanely expensive! I can get 100 11×17 cello bags for $18 but it costs $17 to get 25 kraft bags of a similar size! There is PLA bags of similar size at Clearbags, but at $50.84 it’s 50 cents per bag which is a pretty expensive packaging option (compared to regular cello which is 18 cents per bag).
Lastly, I’ve been using cute rose-patterned gold foil mailers for my Etsy store that are made of plastic… I originally bought them because I wanted to stand out, and I did get a couple compliments on them, but they are .18 cents a pop (very expensive for a mailer) and I just don’t feel most people care? I bought cheaper ones that are non-foil but still have roses on them cuz That’s My Brand, but still plastic. Whether or not I go back to kraft envelopes or keep these plastic ones, it’s still about 9 cents per mailer which is a lot more reasonable than .18 cents. I just hate how plain the kraft envelopes are…
I love the cute options they have for decorated cello bags I have to do my part and be more environmentally friendly. 😩