I may be biased, but I'm pretty sure we have the best packaging around. It may not look super fancy or provide an epic unboxing experience, but it has a positive impact and that matters more than aesthetics.
Here's the situation: Canadians generate 3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, one-third of which is packaging and other short-lived products. A mere 9% of that waste is recycled. I won't get into the reasons for this (unless you're interested), but it's a problem that needs to be addressed. I believe that the most effective solution is for businesses to just stop creating so much packaging to begin with.
As a toy rental company, we’re fortunately positioned to easily re-claim our packaging. We’ve partnered with All Things Preserved, a local zero-waste business, to make our packaging bags. They’re hand-sewn by a local seamstress out of upcycled denim and the drawstrings are made from upcycled t-shirts.
Here are a few more reasons why we sought out this type packaging:
- No new material is needed to produce them
- Waste (retired jeans and t-shirts) is being diverted from the landfill and upcycled into a new product
- We can wash and re-use them repeatedly, extending the life of the material
- We are supporting a local, woman-owned small business
- We are reducing carbon emissions by having them produced locally rather than overseas
- They’re just really pretty
Just one Toy Exchange Club member who subscribes for the full three years will save roughly 100 pieces of packaging from entering our waste stream.
As for our shipping boxes, we have opted for simple, un-branded cardboard boxes. This is for two reasons. The first, is to keep our packaging costs under control (and in turn, our subscription prices). We value a positive environmental impact over fancy, branded packaging, and just can't have both without raising prices for our members. The second, is that our returned shipping boxes are re-purposed by other local businesses. They are more likely to be re-used if our branding isn't covering them. These boxes are recyclable and compostable at the end of their life, but I’m still looking for an alternative to cardboard that is eco-friendly and reusable over the long-term that will work within our unique business model. Our two-way shipping process, storage constraints for members and varying size requirements are all posing challenges. If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments!
We've also partnered with Share the Love Baby Box who re-purposes our Kraft packing paper, so make sure you return it with your toys so it can be re-used!
Our sustainable, zero-waste packaging is one of my favourite parts of our business model. I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve as we design or discover even better solutions.