Packaging is a big deal to me. I'm always finding new ways to make it extra special. I think of it as a little box of surprises that makes you feel pampered and cared for.
But that's not all! I like researching materials and options to make it greener everyday. And because when I post about my packaging, I receive a lot of comments, I thought about making a complete guide to eco-friendly packaging for polymer clay jewelry in my blog.
The idea is that you could use it as a reference when navigating your way to a more conscious approach for your packaging.
So, keep reading to find the complete list (with links) of components I use in my packaging.
And before we start, please note that even though my packaging is not fully eco-friendly (yet), it's my plan to make it so as I get rid of the current inventory and components are re-stocked with a more conscious option.
In this blog post:
- Kraft Boxes
- Tissue Paper
- Jewelry Pouches
- Gift Tags
- Cello Bags
- Poly Mailers
- Shipping Tape
- A Little Something
- Ribbon and Twine
- Packaging Colors
I use recyclable kraft boxes. Kraft paper degrades naturally within a few weeks, decomposing just like leaves that fall off a tree. It leaves no impact on the environment, and 100% of discarded kraft is recyclable, which makes it a great resource to make more kraft paper and boxes.
I use three sizes of boxes. Small to fit 1-3 items, medium to fit 4-6 items, and large to fit up to 10 items. You'll see that the base is the same size so I can still use all my labes and inserts for all of them.
- Small mailer box 6x4x1" on Amazon
- Medium mailer box 6x4x2" on Amazon
- Large mailer box 6x4x3" on Amazon
There's a special box size that I use when I receive orders with multiple gifts because I pack each gift in a separate small box and they still need protection during the shipment:
For branding the boxes, I silkscreen them with non-toxic chalk black paint. The paint I use doesn't have harsh chemicals such as phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metals, or solvents; it is ultra-low VOC, has a low odor, and is certified safe as per European Toy Safety Standards.
When branding your shipping box, you should ensure that whatever you're using is eco-friendly so you can preserve the kraft's biodegradable/recyclable properties.
Tissue paper is compostable, as long as is acid-free and doesn't have any synthetic coating, glitter, or foil. It's considered biodegradable as it can be broken down naturally by micro-organisms such as bacteria. Many people repurpose it for composting because it's good at absorbing odors.
I found an acid-free tissue on Amazon paper that is also made from recycled material, which I consider a plus. It comes in sheets of 15x20" that I cut to get 4 strips from each. I use 2 strips per box.
As jewelry pouches I use drawstring muslin cotton bags. These are made from natural unbleached cotton muslin, non-toxic, safe to use, soft, durable, reusable, and chemical & fragrance-free.
The bags measure 2.75x4" and I find that size good enough to fit my earrings (I don't make them extra large.) I add a bag per item to each packaging.
I add my brand logo to the bags using my Cricut and Smart Iron-On Vinyl, but, that's something that I will eventually be changing with a stamp and vegan ink.
I use 100% recycled 80 lb cover paper for all my cardstock needs from the Cardstock Warehouse Paper Company.
I get it letter size and print all my jewelry display cards and box inner cards in a black and white laser printer. They sell on Amazon, but you can get more color choices and larger bulks when buying on their website. I leave you the links for both options:
I design the jewelry cards using Canva and print 2 sheets (front and back) and then glue them with 3M Super 77 Spray Glue to get a robust jewelry card. I find this final thickness more appealing than using 100 lb cardstock.
I found the best option for a high quality eco-friendly gift tag at Michael's Stores within their brand Recollections. These are made of kraft paper with reinforced hole.
I need clear cello bags for 2 reasons:
- To keep the jewelry safe from scratching when stored in the inventory boxes
- To find the item fast when I'm fulfilling orders.
For this, so far, I've used these regular cello bags:
But as expected, I need a replacement. I recently found Elevate Packaging, which is a packaging brand that creates eco-friendly brand experiences with recycled, compostable, and recycle-friendly packaging.
Well, guess what? They offer clear small biodegradable cello bags that work perfectly for keeping your earrings safe from scratching:
I use a poly mailer to protect gift boxes during the shipping. Currently I'm using this cute pink poly mailer:Elevate Packaging:
Similar to the shipping boxes, I prefer using kraft here. I get a water-activated, reinforced, eco-friendly, and recyclable kraft tape on Amazon that allows me to ship everything safe and sound.
I make my on labels using my printer and some labels that I bought on amazon to try out. I'm currently using two types of labels: white for ready-to-ship boxes and clear to close the gift boxes before making the bow. I use Canva for designing them and I'm still trying out some designs. Once I get the final design I'm planning to print them in a printing service that offers biodegradable alternatives.
A replacement for the shipping labels has been one of the most difficult components to find. I'm currently using the last ones from my regular shipping labels, but I already have the eco-friendly replacement from Elevate Packaging.
These shipping labels are compostable and bio-based. I don't have a Rollo printer (yet), so I use them half sheet, letter size, for laser printer. They have other presentations if you need to.
The Little Something
One of the things I love the most is creating a wonderful customer experience, so from the beginning, I was on the lookout for something cute and unexpected.
So, one day I found a deal for some cute pop-open cards that I'm still using:
This was before moving to eco-friendly packaging. So, even though I love these cards because they have the most gorgeous messages and pop (lol), I don't love that they aren't made of recyclable materials. Because of that, I'm planning to substituting them with something more gentle to the environment once I run out of inventory.
Ribbon and Twine
To make the packaging feel like a little box of surprises, I tie everything inside with a natural cotton cord. It makes the packaging look extra special.
I'm guilty here. I just can't find a cute replacement for this satin ribbon, but I'm still on the watch! Can you think of any?
Finally, I like to keep an earth tone look in the packaging and that's why you see many of the elements are in a neutral color range.
This wasn't my first choice, but I moved to it after understanding that it's easier to get the perception from the customer that the packaging is eco-friendly when you design it in neutral hues.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and found this information useful. Do you have any additional comments or questions about eco-friendly packaging for polymer clay jewelry? If so, please share them in the comments below.
PS. I make commission on some of the links posted here.