My Eco-Conscious Small Business

Posted by Amanda Ostby on

It's no secret that being Earth-friendly is a priority in my business {and personal life}. Not only are many of my products made from upcycled materials, but I have made steps to ensure my business is as eco-conscious as possible. Many brands put a earthy label on their packaging and exaggerate their environmentally friendly measures. This is a practice called "greenwashing".  I'd love to share how I keep my environmental impact down and maybe even encourage a few readers and fellow business owners to make some small changes of their own! 


Believe it or not, NONE of my packaging has plastic. While cellophane bags and envelopes give a nice polished look, once removed, they typically end up right in the trash. While Cello shipping bags are sometimes made of recycled materials, they have a limited amount of reuses. I create designs that are entirely out of paper or reusable materials like drawstring bags, which can be used to store your pieces. 



I've talked about my products in years past, but I'll revisit here. Many of my pieces are made from upcycled materials. This means I use found objects, such as bullet casings and shotgun shells, vintage keys and buttons, arcade tokens and coins and more to create jewelry and accessories. I feel good about taking something that may be considered "junk" to someone and giving it new life. By creating my pieces with these found items, I help reduce what would typically end up in a landfill. You can see more of my upcycled pieces here!

Another piece, and probably one of my favorites, is my recycle tote. Not only is this design hand-drawn by me and printed locally, it represents a big part of what this bag can do! Simply bringing a few of these totes to the grocery store can reduce your plastic bag usage many times over. Each bag can comfortably fit 2-3 standard plastic bags full of groceries! The gusseted design is roomy for more than just groceries too! I bring mine along on road trips, outings with my kids or thrift shop trips! 


One of the most simple changes I love sharing with fellow business owners is my shipping tape! Packing tape is typically plastic, and while it is durable, it deems recyclable boxes and envelopes non-recyclable. I found this paper tape that is still very durable but is simply activated with water. It's made up of compostable material that can biodegrade. {Note: reinforced paper tape, ex. the kind that Amazon boxes are sealed with have fiberglass strands within, is not the same!} I purchased this tape dispenser which activates the adhesive with a water roller. It's not completely necessary but it's nice for storage and helps with packaging several orders at once.

My boxes are also made from sturdy cardboard that, if opened carefully, can be reused many times or recycled. {Tip: if you need to remove shipping labels or other stickers to reuse a box, heat it up using a hair dryer for 20-30 seconds. The adhesive will warm up and the sticker will peel right off!}

Occasionally, I will use packaging supplies from orders I have received. If you open your mailbox to find an "ugly" package, just know I've reused a box or envelope to extend its life a little more. Below are a couple FREE sticker designs to use for your own recycled shipping needs! 



I love getting compliments on my display pieces at markets. One of my most attention-grabbing displays is my "ring book". I love to show that I create my pieces with upcycled materials and feel that my displays should reflect that! My ring book is just one of the unique pieces I have. My keychains are displayed on a thread holder, my ring book sits in a vintage paper tray, the crates I use came from a small grocer, and many other vintage and upcycled pieces. I like when people notice items like an eye-spy game! 

Business Cards

After many years of participating in markets and events, I've handed out hundreds of business cards. They are quite expensive and I can imagine almost all of them have been discarded. When I first started shipping orders, I used to include a card in each package as well. After a while, I realized how wasteful this was. I found a company called Popl that offers a tap device that displays a webpage which includes any links I have. I'm also able to change, add and remove links as I need. You can find the large device I use at markets here, and the small device that sits on the back of my phone case here! There are many options located in their store and you can save with code LITTLEMAMAWANDERING 


Remember, "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectlyWe need millions of people doing it imperfectly." - Chef Anne Marie Bonneau Lastly, these examples are what works for my business. There is no "right" or "one-size-fits-all". I share my ideas in hopes to inspire others to see where they could possibly make changes; kind of like an "if she can do it, so can I" situation.  My inbox is always open to help! Feel free to reach out with questions!

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