One thing I have always wanted Compass Paper Co to be is responsible which means making choices to ensure each stage in the life of our products are as environmentally friendly as possible. From how we manufacture to how they are used to how they are eventually disposed of - it’s honestly a lot to think about.
The stationery industry is a pretty awesome place to be a part of. At the core of this industry, we just want everyone to stay connected in a real, kind, loving way. But there’s a weird dark side - the stationery industry is incredibly unfriendly to the environment to put it mildly. Things like using petroleum based inks or having to deal with the industry standard of packaging every card in its own single use plastic sleeve have never really sat right with me. We skirted around this plastic issue by using PLA (polylactic acid) film bags which is a compostable alternative to plastic typically made of corn or sugar cane. But when digging into the life cycle of PLA I knew I wanted an alternative.
You might ask yourselves “but why are sleeves so important?” For many reasons. For retailers, it keeps the cards clean and protected from sticky hands and dirty fingers. It keeps the card with its envelope. Plus it allows them to put a barcode on the product without damaging it for the customer.
So when Compass Paper Co decided to go sleeve free, I wanted to make sure my alternative packaging option would tick off some of those boxes for retailers. I sat down and did a mountain of research. Thankfully consumers are driving brands to be more environmentally friendly which is forcing sleeve free alternative packaging to pop up - each with their own list of pros and cons. I decided to create my own card band and I am happy to announce Compass Paper Co is cutting ties with PLA for good this year.
Our card band that we will use to package cards for retailers is printed in Ohio by our awesome, environmentally conscious printer. Just like our cards, they are printed with vegetable based ink (no petroleum!) making them not only recyclable but also biodegradable and so much easier to responsibly dispose of than the PLA sleeves.
And for customer orders we are doing away with PLA sleeves too! Next time you order a stack of cards (or even just one) from us on this site we will wrap up your order in a recycled paper bag to give it a little extra protection before slipping it inside our responsibly-sourced rigid mailers we use for our orders.
I know I won’t ever claim perfection when it comes to being a sustainable company - no one can. There’s always improvements to make. But what I can say right now in this moment is that I am really proud of this new step to responsibly package our products and reduce our impact even more. I am really proud of you all - especially those who reached out this past year asking for me to spend time finding a better way of doing things. I am proud of all the conversations it has started. And I am really excited to continue to work with retailers that see the value in taking this step.
So the next time you are in a store and you see our cards on a shelf sleeve-free please give that store a big ole high five for us.
Thanks for being awesome.
Cheers + Chacos,