Greening the Greeting Card Industry
...The time could be nigh for a universal grading that will clearly state the heritage of each card. “I would love to see the environmental credentials of not just the card but also the envelope and packaging to be made compulsory for all, so that consumers can make an informed choice when buying their greeting cards,” suggests Susanna Morrish from Glebe Cottage.
Besides board and envelopes, packaging is another element that is coming under the environmental spotlight. While paper can be fairly easy to recycle, individual cellowrapping is not. Some publishers, notably Glebe Cottage, Canns Down Press and Art Angels have recently begun using bags made from corn starch, which is fully compostable, while Roger La Borde is looking at introducing biodegradable bags on all its cards for 2007 so this looks to be something that will develop quite quickly in the next couple of years. “There is a small cost concern when it comes to using corn starch bags rather than those made from polypropylene but we can just about manage to absorb these costs. I am sure that as publishers begin to increase demand for these bags, I am pretty confident that the prices will reduce in line with this,” predicts Robert Hartford, director of Canns Down Press.
The UK printing industry has long been governed on minimising any damage to the environment (with greeting card specialist Loudwater being the first in the trade to gain the highest ‘green’ credentials) but there is the inevitable environmental cost of transporting the materials to consider. “To be honest I don’t think it’s enough to just to look at the product and pander to public concern by undertaking a defensive marketing exercise. We feel we are going to have to review the so-called carbon footprint of all our business activities and we are just starting the process of assessing everything, from our electricity suppliers to our how long our computers stay on for in a bid to try to reduce the size of this footprint,” explains Tim Solnick, director at Roger La Borde.
At the moment, public concern over the environmental credentials of the greeting card industry has been relatively low key – there are bigger fish to fry when it comes to potentially harmful manufacturing. However, as the ecological situation worsens and global warming hots up, so society’s demand for every aspect of manufacturing and consumerism to be environmentally responsibly is likely to increase. Add this to the fact that it is in everyone’s best interest to protect our precious planet as much as possible, in any way possible, and it becomes clear that taking a strong eco-friendly approach is essential, even for those who don’t list ‘tree-hugging’ among their hobbies...
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