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GUEST POST: How to Make Paper Sustainable

Jess Gattone

As small creative business owners, we have the incredible opportunity to infuse the world with beauty and originality through our products. But what if we could take it a step further and ensure that our stunning paper creations also contribute to a sustainable future? In this blog post, we'll delve into the invaluable benefits and eco-friendly attributes of paper products, shedding light on the pivotal role they play in mitigating climate concerns when careful consideration is made. With Stationery HQ, creative businesses and artists can seamlessly integrate sustainability into their paper products without compromising on quality. From eco-friendly paper selections to the cutting-edge printing prowess of the HP Indigo Press, Stationery HQ makes sustainable practices a breeze. When selecting your paper, keep an eye out for FSC certified options, high recycled content, and alternatives like Bamboo—all significant leaps forward from traditional paper sources. Moreover, the digital printing process, particularly with the HP Indigo Press, boasts remarkable sustainability features, from reduced waste and water usage to eco-friendly ink choices and a structure with high recycled content. Let's explore a few standout products from Stationery HQ that exemplify sustainability in action. Their range of journals, keepsake books, and notebooks are not only customizable but also crafted with durability and longevity in mind. While the covers provide sturdy protection, the inside pages offer the option of FSC Mix paper—an excellent choice for both printing and writing, sourced from sustainably managed forests and recycled content. Additionally, the spiral notebook options feature wire-o coils which allow the pages to lay flat and easily be flipped. These journals and keepsake books are designed to withstand the test of time, serving as lasting reminders of a commitment to sustainability. And for those quick notes and doodles, the recyclable pages of notebooks and notepads help minimize waste, reducing impact on landfills. 

Rebecca Woolbright

As a small business owner, I touch all the pieces of my business. I pack all of my orders and also see the amount of packaging I use to create a product and ship it out. It can be overwhelming to see the volume and supplies needed to run a business. As I have grown, to stay more sustainable, I now save all shipping materials much to my husband's chagrin.
When I wanted to expand my line to include wrapping paper I was thrilled with Stationery HQ’s ability to offer the option of ordering as few as 5 sheets, not only is this an incredible way to test a product but it offers a level of sustainability not found when sourcing overseas where volume is usually the only option. As someone that values sustainability and conserving our resources, when I discovered that Stationery HQ’s wrapping paper was also 70% FSC certified and made of partially recycled paper, I was overjoyed! Every little piece that we save adds up. It’s wonderful when sustainability and small batch manufacturing work together!

Jennifer Clifford

Art prints boast incredible profit margins because they have a high perceived value. They are a great product for artists to sell to their customers, at craft markets, online, and wholesale, and they are the backbone of my full-time art business because of their excellent profit margins.

Here are five ways you can make them sustainable and good for the planet:

  1. Opting for papers that are long-lasting and museum-quality ensures that they will last for years to come! 
  2. Eco-Friendly Inks: Choosing water-based or soy-based inks over traditional petroleum-based inks can significantly decrease the environmental footprint of the printing process. These eco-friendly inks are often more biodegradable and emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), reducing air pollution.
  3. Limited Editions: Producing art prints in limited editions can help minimize overproduction and reduce waste. By creating a sense of exclusivity, limited editions can also increase the value of each print, encouraging customers to cherish and preserve them for longer periods.
  4. Minimal Packaging: Opt for minimal and eco-friendly packaging to reduce waste. Use biodegradable or recyclable materials for packaging art prints, and consider eliminating unnecessary packaging elements to further minimize environmental impact.
  5. Educational Initiatives: Raise awareness among artists, consumers, and industry stakeholders about the importance of sustainability in art print production. Provide resources and guidance on adopting sustainable practices and encourage collective action to drive positive change.
Amita Nair

When considering sustainability in your art business, greeting cards offer a quick win. Jess laid out some great things to keep in mind when you are designing and printing your cards. But sustainability can go beyond the process of selecting recycled or FSC certified paper. Encouraging your customer to extend the lifecycle of each card, transforming in into a piece of art for their walls, repurposing it as a new card or gift tag, or incorporating in into their scrapbooking projects. Not only will this approach promote sustainability, but it also adds value to your products, encouraging repeat customers. 

Reminding your customers of the versatility and longevity of your cards can reinforce the value of a purchase beyond the initial sentiment. By suggesting that cards can be framed or reused, you’re not only promoting sustainable practices but also elevating the perceived value of your products. Moreover, ensuring your cards end up in recycling bin rather than the trash can further supports environmental responsibility. 

Stationery HQ can help support our commitment to sustainability with their large selection of paper and printing processes. This variety allows you to choose the best substrate for your products, ensuring durability, customer satisfaction, and adherence to your eco-friendly values. By partnering with Stationery HQ and spending time educating your customers in all the ways they can extend the life of your greeting cards, you can confidently offer your customers high-quality, sustainable options that align with their values and your business’s commitment to the planet. 

 The four of us are hosting Small Batch Bootcamp on May 13-16, 2024 and are thrilled to have StationeryHQ as a sponsor to our event. During the bootcamp we will be going through sourcing products in small batches in North America! If you would like to know more about this event as it unfolds follow us on Instagram!

Amita Nair: @amitanair 

Jennifer Clifford: @adventures_in_collage

Jess Gattone: @secondnaturestudio

Rebecca Woolbright: @rebecca_jane_woolbright


Author Portraits

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