Glencroft is based in a truly beautiful part of Britain. Our village in North Yorkshire is called Clapham and is part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Ingleborough Hill (the most famous of the Three Peaks) looks down over the village, where the Clapham Beck trickles through. When you’re surrounded by such picturesque scenery, it’s hard not to be conscious about the environment, and here at Glencroft we have always tried to recycle and reuse wherever possible to reduce waste. Here’s how:

1. Reusing Cardboard Boxes:

Our packaging is probably one of the most noticeable areas where we try to cut down on waste. Our trade customers will already know that the cardboard boxes we use to pack up their orders are not new. Instead of using new boxes, we either reuse those boxes that we get our own deliveries in or buy second-hand boxes from a company in Huddersfield which trawls the mills for perfectly functional, once-used boxes to sell on. This saves these boxes from the rubbish tip and saves us a little money; it’s a win-win situation. After all, there’s nothing a bit of masking tape can’t fix.

One of our second-hand boxes, packed and ready to go to a trade customer.

2. War on Plastic:

Another area of our packaging we try to be more eco-friendly in is plastic. Of course, there is a current climate of a “war on plastic” following the harrowing scenes shown in David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, but Glencroft have on principle always attempted to reduce the usage of plastic, a principle which has only hardened over the last year. One previous instance of this occurred when a trade customer requested that our Glencroft Model Sheep (only a few inches in size) were wrapped individually, but we replied that we were uncomfortable with this as it would waste so much plastic and so we would prefer to pack them into plastic bags of 25. The customer agreed to this and we had no further problems, which just shows that the vast majority of people are happy to accept lesser packaging when the benefits for the environment are pointed out to them. As we handpick and pack all of our orders, it means we do get to make little changes here and there to reduce waste when packing your orders, unlike some of the bigger companies which have more regimented packing that may require every item to be packed in plastic or only have large boxes to pack them in, requiring a large amount of stuffing.

Our tiny Glencroft Model Sheep, which we do not package individually in our trade business.

3. Reuse in Schools:

Even those pesky bits and bobs we struggle to reuse or recycle within the business, we manage to find a use for in donating them to our local primary school for arts and crafts, which is always hugely appreciated. We’ve discovered that the little cardboard wheel at the centre of a roll of masking tape makes an excellent toy tractor wheel, if you’re interested.

Masking tape or tractor wheel? You decide.

4. Stuffing with Sheepskin Offcuts:

As a small family business, we have to be as innovative as possible with reducing waste, as not only is it good for the environment, but ultimately it saves us money as well. We found, for example, that when our sheepskin rugs were being hand-finished by Richard who cuts them into a desirable shape, there were lots of scraggly sheepskin off-cuts left over. These were too small to be made into any other product and varied a lot in shape and size. One offcut might be long and thin, another might be short and fat, depending on the natural shape of the sheepskin and how Richard then cuts it. Our solution for many years was simply to bag up these offcuts and leave them out for people to take freely to use for arts and crafts or whatever other use they could find for them. However, recently there has been a surge in the popularity of our sheepskin poufs, which of course need stuffing. Rather than use plastic stuffing, we have decided to use the sheepskin offcuts, meaning again that we are reducing our use of plastic, whilst also reducing our waste.

Just some of the sheepskin off-cuts we collect whilst trimming our Sheepskin Rugs.

5. Spare Yarn:

If you’ve had a browse of our website, then you may have came across our Surplus British Wool Chunky Jumper , our 100% Wool Weave Up Plain Travel Rug or our 100% Wool Weave Up Plaid Travel Rug, all of which are made from spare yarn that may otherwise go to waste. We do this by going to our manufacturers, mills and factories in the North of England, and discussing what yarn they have left over and getting this made up into quality woollen products. This is great for us we get a product made from premium British wool without the premium price, and it’s also great for the factory as it means their yarn is not wasted. The only downside is that every product we order from them in this way has only a limited run, but we like to think of this as making our products exclusive and one-off.

Our 100% Wool Weave Up Plain Travel Rug is made from spare yarn.

Looking to the Future

Despite our commitment to reducing waste and plastic packaging, this is becoming harder to do as we move into retail. With trade customers, it tends not to bother them if their order shows up in a slightly battered box, as ultimately they know that it is good for the environment and it helps to keep our prices down. With retail, however, we are interacting directly with the end customers and so need to make the best impression possible, especially if they are purchasing one of our more premium products. This is a problem that we are currently grappling with: how to give customers the best experience with our brand possible whilst also avoiding unnecessary waste. One solution we are considering for this is to use paper bags to pack items like jumpers, rather than plastic. We’re reviewing this issue with a company which specialises in producing packaging and labelling for retail companies, so hopefully they can give us a few ideas we haven’t thought of to cut down on waste. This is a developing issue though, so watch this space!