After packing and shipping almost 450 orders yesterday, I was really thinking about our packages.
As a small producer, you have a lot of options how to affix information to your products, and any number of ways to ship them. Every time I get a 90% empty box from Amazon with a plastic clamshell and polybag, bubble wrap etc... All I can think of is the amount of waste put into this world. (Amazon requires polybags, and yes to admit some of our own hypocrisy, we do sell through them and comply)
But we really do try to use as minimal a packaging as possible, header cards work well enough to label with size/content and they take about 1/5 the paper of our old "p-packs" (the ones we use on the Pro-Gear socks.. and we are almost out of them, and they will be discontinued when we are out). I really love our little 3gm Kraft bands on the heavier socks. Our thin brown shipping envelopes are made of recycled material, are bio-degradable, made in the U.S, and protect the products reasonably well. Short of wrapping in banana leaves, the most eco-friendly package we have found. Socks, gloves etc can take being squashed, tossed, and general postal abuse without sustaining any damage. They don't require bubble wrap or three layers of cellophane... (Just be moderately careful if cutting open the package, there have been several occasions where consumers have cut into their socks with a knife or scissors).
We want to look "professional" especially if these are given as gifts, we have to provide protection for the goods, we double duty things to be able to display on hooks at events and in stores. We reuse those cheap plastic hooks forever, if you have bought socks from us in person, you might have noticed we take them out before we check you out. . We aren't perfect by any means. We keep tweaking these things and hope to improve, but for the meantime, the things we are doing seem to work well enough.
We have looked at custom packing materials, and at some point we will probably do more, I just don't see any real reason to add extra expenses that will be passed on to you the consumer that really don't add any value and just get tossed in landfills. We actually turned down a fairly large wholesale contract from a large catalog house who required the socks be boxed individually (well, in pairs.. not singles)
We do put a promotional card in each package, with the hopes that it will get passed on to a friend, and now we put in a little "care and handling" piece, but we aren't going to include a 16 page catalog that gets trashed in seconds.
So, next time you get one of our little flimsy envelopes, know that we have put some thought into it. Have a great day all.. Ron & T