How to Minimise Environmental Impact of Direct Mail Plastic
My goodness, it’s all over the news at the moment, isn’t it? And rightly so—how humans use so much plastic that our beloved planet is being trashed. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, ‘What’s the point of trying to limit use of plastics? Little old me can’t make a difference to such an immense global problem.’ Here at Mailing Expert, we’re firm believers in doing what we can to protect the environment. There’s that famous quote, sometimes attributed to the Dalai Lama, but most likely an African proverb: ‘If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito!’
So, here are our mosquito bites into the flesh of unnecessary plastic use:
Direct mailing doesn’t have to have any plastic content
Shrink-wrapping mailed items is popular, especially for brochures and magazines, helping to protect products from water damage and wear and tear. However, smaller items need no such treatment—so think about using postcards, paper envelopes and one-piece mailers for your marketing, if that’s at all possible.
If we must use plastic, we try to make sure it’s good plastic
- There are recyclable, bio, oxo-degradable, compostable and photodegradable plastics available for mailing envelopes and bags.
- Shrink plastic film which breaks down is available, but it’s NOT truly biodegradable (yet), even if advertised as such. It is ‘degradable’—because the molecular structure doesn’t change, or, if it does, it will take decades. The best thing to do here is minimise the thickness of the film you use. (It’s worth noting here, that weight-for-weight, paper uses 100% more power in its production than plastic, so the environmental impact is not as clear cut as we might imagine)
- For packaging, there’s shredded cardboard and paper, and material made from corn or potato starch. There is also biodegradable bubble wrap, with a special additive that means it only lasts for 1-2 years in landfill before, theoretically, being absorbed into the ground as a harmless residue.
While not used as standard, we do offer these alternatives to our clients. We must point out that they have a shorter shelf life, since they start to degrade as soon as they’re in contact with light and/or oxygen, and they do come at a higher cost – but what price preserving the environment?
We always use suppliers with excellent environmental standards
Here’s a quote from one of them: ‘We implement a strict environmental policy which ensures that we exercise proper control over our activities, to discourage environmentally damaging and wasteful practices. As a minimum, we comply with all requirements of legislation and are always striving to achieve ever improved standards.’
This is what we look for in any company whose products we use for direct mailing, as well as adhering to very high standards ourselves.
Even if some plastics aren’t waste-friendly, they can be reprocessed into a form which means they can be used again for other applications which require lower grade material, such as refuse bags, fertiliser sacks, chairs, benches, tables and pallets. For this reason, we sort and recycle our plastic waste appropriately.
Why not join us?
Richard Rogers, the British architect, once said, ‘The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.’
How about it?