Here at Glencroft we’re trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use across our business. With most of our products made from 100% natural and biodegradable wool or sheepskin the focus is currently on our packaging.

In recent months we have started to replace all plastic mailing sacks with paper ones. That was only after we tested one for it’s durability.

Brand new paper mailing bag
Our new reinforced paper mailing bags / envelopes

We stuffed a bag full of sheepskin offcuts (and a thank you gift to our Irish participant!) and sent it all the way to Dublin, Ireland. We’re a family business and Justina is Irish, so it made sense to lean on the generous hospitality of one of our lovely cousins!

There it was received, photographed and some contents adjusted before being posted back to us. It arrived in one piece, albeit slightly battered from the first leg of its journey – no visible tears or rips.

Another week later and it made it’s way back to our Yorkshire Dales warehouse (thank you for the return gift Susi – you really didn’t have to!). Again it was in one piece, in a similar state to its arrival in Ireland in fact.

Test one completed, we think the paper mailing sack fared well and we’re now starting to use them across all small (caps / gloves) and medium sized orders (jumpers). We’ll keep an eye on how they get on in the future and also monitor feedback from any customers about potential issues.

There’s more we need to do – read below – and we’ll keep you updated here as we progress.

Next steps and considerations

Visiting local shops is best – We think a great way to reduce your impact on the environment and in your shopping is to visit your local shop and use your own reusable bag if you can. The shipping / transportation impact is reduced and packaging lessened. This is one reason why supplying shops will always be an essential part of Glencroft’s business, and you will usually find our products cheaper in stores than you will ever online.

Self seal concerns – We’re still not entirely trusting of the self seal tab on these mailing bags so still use a small amount of sellotape from time to time. We will start experimenting and using recyclable and biodegradable paper tape reinforcement in the next few months. Also the self seal tab is created by removing a plastic strip – we’re looking for better alternatives.

Not waterproof – What would happen if the parcel is left in the rain? We use couriers to ship our products based on both reliability, business practices and price, to hopefully avoid situations where parcels are left out in the rain or irresponsibly posted (currently we find Royal Mail the best for these reasons). We’ll have to wait and see if that’s something that causes an issue.

Environmental impact? – Paper wins hand downs against plastic when it comes to its impact on the environment after use. It will essentially biodegrade if not recycled or reused – that’s not withstanding any sellotape used or plastic based sealant. However on other aspects paper does not perform as well – a recent BBC article suggested it takes four times more energy to produce a paper bag, they are heavier so transportation uses more energy and of course paper used must be responsibly sourced otherwise we’re just cutting down trees unnecessarily. All things we are taking into account as we make our business even more environmentally friendly.

Other plastic packaging – Many of our products are packed in plastic at the manufacturing stage, we are investigating ways to reduce and remove this without impacting product quality and considering storage issues. More to follow!