A Note About Our Packaging
I find packaging of products interesting - both as a creator and seller of handmade items as well as a consumer. I find excessive packaging quite irritating and completely (at least in my mind) wasteful and unnecessary. How many times I have ordered something online only to have it arrive in a huge box, way bigger than the product I ordered. Or perhaps seeing an item in a retail store that has a significant amount of what I perceive to be unnecessary 'advertising' material. I often will go out of my way to find a similar item with less packaging as a matter of principle. As a consumer, I believe I have a responsibility to do my part to decrease waste whenever possible and make smart choices when making my purchases.
Since I've started weaving and creating other items for sale, I've had to research, plan and make decisions on how I was going to package my handcrafted products. I wanted to limit waste, eliminate plastic altogether (didn't quite get there but more on that later) and be ever mindful of the environmental cost of that packaging. I wanted to embrace recycled materials as much as possible and to ensure that whatever I used as packaging would be 100% recyclable, regardless of where you live.
I landed on paperboard boxes and corrugated cardboard which I think fits my philosophy of minimalist and environmentally friendly packaging. The boxes are made of Kraft paperboard. Many of us have heard of Kraft (or kraft) paper - that's the typical brown heavy paper used to wrap packages being sent through the post. If you are old enough to remember the brown paper bags that our groceries used to be packed in, there's a reason why grocers at the time embraced Kraft paper bags. The Kraft paper process produces a paper that is much stronger and more durable than paper made from other wood pulp processes. The word 'Kraft' is actually from the German word meaning 'strength' and refers to paper made using the Kraft process. Kraft paper also decomposes naturally within a few weeks but we don't need to throw it away unnecessarily - it can be reused or recycled to make other Kraft paper products!
I've also learned that there are approximately 4 different types of Kraft paper, each with its own unique properties. Some have recycled Kraft paper added which decreases it's strength properties but makes sense for things like cereal boxes where strength isn't a significant requirement in the packaging.
I mentioned earlier that I wanted to stay away from plastic wrapping (eliminate was the word I used). Unfortunately, this COVID-19 pandemic has prevented me from escaping completely from using plastic. With the launch of our handmade soap line, current health regulations require that we be able to wipe off potential contamination before being able to sell to the public. The only product at the moment that I can use is plastic shrink-wrapping and so we're relegated to shrink-wrapping each and every bar of soap we sell.
This requirement has also had an unfortunate impact on our sample soaps - I've opted to put these little soaps in individual plastic bags. This serves three purposes - one is it keeps the public safe, and the second is that it allows you, the consumer, the ability to smell and see the actual product. And third, you get the opportunity to take the soap sample home and try it out before you buy.
Scents are fascinating - some you like, and others not so much. Fragrance preferences are very indivualistic - what you like, others may not. Smells are particularly powerful; they can trigger long forgotten memories. In such situations, particular scent profiles can transport our minds back to a time locked in our memories. I distinctly remember as a child smelling a summer coat that my dad used to wear - when he was going out, he'd often splash on some Old Spice aftershave. Now, every time I see Old Spice products, I can't help but pick up a bottle just so I can smell the scent so very reminiscent of my late father. I wanted my soaps to impart a similar feeling - the ability to trigger a fond memory or perhaps to create a new one. Think of gifting a scented soap to someone special in your life - each time they wash with the soap, it's a reminder of who gave it to them. And that's pretty special packaging...don't you think?