My sustainability practices and materials

I’m definitely a reuse, repurpose, recycle nerd, and I’m always trying to improve the environmental impact of my creative endeavors. I try to plan ahead for my supply needs so that I won’t be in too much of a hurry and can choose ground shipping when it’s an option. I'm also a fan of transparency; so I want to share with you some information about my materials.

I source papers that are made in the US, with various amounts of recycled content, and virgin fiber certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), meaning it comes from well-managed forests.

I also have a “stash” of many kinds of papers that I have purchased at local shops such as Wet Paint and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, plus some scrapbooking paper bought years ago, sometimes from shops that don't exist anymore. I often don’t remember where I got them by the time I use them. Other papers I repurpose include security envelopes and junk mail; book, magazine, and catalog pages; and misc. product packages (if I like the design on them). I make my journals and notebooks, including what I call scrap notebooks and notepads, in a variety of small to medium sizes to make use of these remnants already in my possession.

Orders purchased from my Etsy shop and shipped via the postal service are packed in repurposed and recycled materials, some reused from packaging that I have received. This may include bubble wrap when I have it, since I prefer to reuse before recycling. My other reused materials are recyclable and compostable, as are my new packaging materials, including the brown packing tape. My boxes, when new, and the tape are from EcoEnclose. (And I still have a few corrugated boxes from U-Line, but I don't buy from them anymore because the minimum quantities are so high.)

I print packing slips at half size so that I can print the shipping label on the same sheet of paper, on the back of previously printed paper when available. I then afix it to the box or envelope with an Uhu glue stick, made by Bolton Adhesives in Germany and the Netherlands. Read their environmental statement here.

I buy new paper, envelopes, and cover/card stock from the following companies:
French Paper Co. Niles, Michigan. 
Family owned, est. in 1871; run exclusively on hydropower since 1922, claiming to have “avoided the release of more than 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.” I use their Dur-o-Tone and Kraft-Tone papers, which are 100% recycled, with varying amounts of post-consumer content and made without chlorine. I also use their Pop-Tone envelopes, which are not recycled. All their papers are acid- and lignin-free.

Leader Paper Products. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A privately held corporation established in 1901, majority-owned and run by the Wilke Family. I use their Greengrocer’s Brown Bag envelopes, which are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper and processed chlorine free. 

Mohawk Mills. Cohoes, New York (on the Mohawk and Hudson rivers).
Family owned, est. in 1931; offsets electricity used in paper production with Renewable Energy Certificates and carbon offsets, seeking a net zero climate impact. I use their 100% post-consumer recycled paper and cover (cardstock) for digital prints, notecards, and general printing (like shipping labels). 

Neenah Inc. Atlanta, Georgia.
A publicly traded corporation in which this artist owns a few shares of stock; they have paper mills operating in several locations including the original one founded in 1873 in Neenah, Wisconsin. I use their Environment and Royal Sundance lines of paper and envelopes, which are FSC certified, manufactured using renewable electricity, chlorine free, and 100% recycled with a minimum 30% post-consumer fiber. 

My stickers and labels, including the ones I use for mailings and bookplates, are from these sources:

Avery Products Corporation. Brea, California.
Unlike the other businesses listed here, this is not a cozy independent company, as you probably already know. I have purchased their labels in the past and have been replacing them with labels from Online Labels, below. Their Environment line of labels are printed on recycled sticker paper, and I still have a lot of these. 

Online Labels, Inc. Sanford, Florida. 
A privately owned company that offers labels (stickers) in a variety of sizes and shapes, and the option to select 100% recycled label paper, which I use for my various stickers. My bookplates are printed on removeable white matte labels, which were not available as recycled; the option to remove and reposition them without damaging the book seemed more important to me. There is no minimum order and you can select just about any quantity. This company has an excellent reputation as a workplace, with only positive comments and 5-star ratings on the website Glassdoor.

I did ask if their stickers are archival, and this was their reply, regarding their white matte material, which is what I use. “The facestock complies with the NISO standard for Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives, and the emulsion acrylic adhesive is a much better fit for archival applications. You'll find it won't yellow or degrade to the level that rubber-based adhesives do and it has passed the Photographic Activity Test for use in photo-storage applications.” NISO is the National Information Standards Organization.
—Sharon Parker
September 2019

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