Our Environmental Pledge
At Caroline Gardner we strive to reduce the negative impact that we have on our environment, both within the UK and worldwide. From conserving energy and not producing waste in Head Office, to removing single-use plastics from our recyclable greeting cards, we are taking significant steps. As a team and company, we are committed to becoming greener every day. We know that we are not perfect, but we have made some huge steps in the past 5 years that we can be proud of. Our sustainability mission will continue to be at the top of our agenda.
With approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic entering our oceans every year, we want to play our part to reduce the amount of unnecessary single-use plastic and to protect our environment.
In 2019 we launched our card corner, InFold, which holds the card with its envelope, secured with a paper sticker at the back. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into finding the right solution for us. The office became a testing ground for all shapes and style of sticker and finding one that would secure the envelope and card together but not affect the finish of the card was no mean feat and we are all extremely proud of our unique, plastic free solution, protecting the environment as well as the product. The introduction of InFold has saved the use of approximately 11,000 individual plastic bags every single day!
Previously, our cards came in cellophane pouches made from polypropylene (PP), which are in theory recyclable, there are currently only 17 councils in the UK who offer this facility, meaning that most cellos end up in landfill.
The story with compostable and biodegradable bags is much the same, as very few households have composting facilities or access to kerbside compostable waste collections. Landfill sites have thick sides and a lid to prevent leakage into the wider environment but this stops oxygen from entering the site, which prevents composting from occurring, should the bag end up in landfill. If a compostable cello bag escapes landfill and ends up in the sea, it will take approximately 40 weeks to reduce by only 2%, that’s if it’s not ingested by sea life in the mean time!
In short, we have learnt that the majority of film that is compostable, biodegradable or otherwise, ends up in landfill. Therefore, we decided that “naked” really was the best environmental solution. As Louise Edge, head of Ocean Plastics at Greenpeace said, “The fact is we can’t just recycle our way out of this mess: we need to stop making so much plastic in the first place.”
Cards & Wrap
We want to ensure that the cards and wrap we sell are all fully recyclable. The foil finish we use is thin enough that it will dissipate in the re-pulping process and therefore is already recyclable. In 2020, we moved to Enviro-Flitter which is a non-polyester based glitter which will naturally biodegrade in any environment where microorganisms are present. We will continue to use FSC and PEFC approved suppliers and products for our cards, envelopes and flat wrap, meaning that these products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
We have also launched plastic-free roll wrap. This environmentally friendly solution to gift wrap comes without the unnecessary tube inside, leaving room for an extra 2 metres of paper. Each roll is secured with a paper sticker, and10cm excess has been added to allow damaged edges to be removed.
We have been working with our warehouse to make changes there too. A new outwork tray and lid design has been introduced, improving the average use from 3 to 5 times per box. This is a whopping 40% saving, meaning they will use 2000 less boxes per year. The box fillers have been changed from plastic air pockets and bubble wrap to a recycled paper product and in January 2020 all parcel tape has been moved from plastic tape to a recycled paper tape.