Every second of every day, about 250kg of plastic is dumped in to our oceans.
Forty percent of Europe’s plastics are used only once and then thrown away.
If nothing changes by 2050, all the plastic in our oceans will weigh more than all the fish.
As a business, Costume Source has a responsibility to minimise its impact on the environment and ensure that what we do is sustainable.
In the summer of 2018, we decided to do our bit on plastics:
This gave us less than six months to change.
We knew that a tight deadline would be hard, but we like a challenge.
We also knew that keeping a tight deadline would keep us focused, and force us to solve any problems as we came across them, rather than putting them off.
We started by looking at the materials we use in the business.
We already had fairly good environmental credentials – most of the materials we use when sending out costumes are paper and cardboard. Both come from sustainable sources and can be easily recycled. Our offices are also powered by renewable energy, helping to keep our carbon footprint low.
But then we noticed two things:
We were using packaging tape to seal our boxes and we were using sticky tape to attach the address labels.
These had to change.
We switched over to self-adhesive labels for addressing. Paper-based, no plastic, and it means that our customers can simply stick the included return label over the old label when they send our costumes back.
Eliminating parcel tape was slightly harder.
Over the summer we started trialling alternatives until we found something we were happy with.
Our boxes are now sealed using a compostable, paper-based tape that sticks using a natural resin. This new tape can be recycled with the cardboard without having to be removed first. It also creates a much stronger bond than parcel tape and is tamper-evident.
These simple changes mean that now the normal shipments we send out are completely reusable, recyclable and compostable.
Our costume bags are made from plastic (we aren’t aware of an alternative), but these last for many years.
The clothes hangers are also plastic, but again reused many, many times. We could change them to wood, but that would be heavier and mean that more energy was used to transport our costumes.
For example, when our customers send costumes back to us, they do still tend to use parcel tape to reseal our boxes. We are still looking at ways to change this, and if anyone has any ideas on what we can do, we’d love to hear them.
We must keep pushing forward and realising that sometime even a small change can make a huge difference.
Only by working together as a society and sharing ideas and innovations can we change things for the better.
If anyone wants to know more about what we have done so far or knows how we can improve further, please get in touch.
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