Wildflower Favours is a vegan-run environmentally-conscious company. If you are reading this on our promotional site or paper site, those sites are part of Wildflower Favours Ltd. We want to help protect our beautiful planet in any way we can – and save a few butterflies and bees on the way! We have produced this quick guide to our use of plastic as we felt it an important issue to clarify with our customers.
Our paper seed packets are 100% recycled (except the pale blue, which are FSC certified paper), and the company that makes them assures us that the glue that seals the sides is vegetable-based. When we come to seal down the flaps after putting in the seeds, we use a similar glue with no nasties in it. Within the packet, the seeds are either loose (sunflowers) or in a glassine paper sachet. Glassine paper has a slight sheen to it and can be mistaken for being plastic-coated – it most certainly is not! Glassine is smooth, very flat and resistant to water and air so is perfect for packaging seeds! It is made via a process called supercalendering whereby the paper is passed many times through hot rollers which make the paper fibres lay flat and in the same direction. We pack the seeds into the glassine paper sachets and then fold over the top to keep the seeds inside (peg is for photo decoration use only!)
And what does FSC certified paper mean? The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is the assurance that the paper is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests.
Any plastic in our packaging has been recycled or re-used. If the bubble-wrap has a green hue it is biodegradable; if it doesn’t, then this is bubblewrap we have received in packaging and we are re-using it. We never buy in plastic packaging and use biodegradable bubblewrap sparingly as a last resort.
Plastic outer envelopes are are re-used or, in the case of UKMail delivery company, provided by them for their deliveries. Their plastic bags are 100% recyclable so please do recycle/re-use if your order arrives via that means.
We have also ditched the use of cellophane for packaging seed paper – even the corn starch cello alternative (PLA) we were using is still not that great for the environment. Corn starch is a bio plastic obtained from starch and sugar of various plants such as sugar beet, potato and corn. This bioplastic is turned into compostable packaging – sounds good, right? But it will only degrade if the compost is producing a lot of heat, so a garden compost heap may not suffice and there are not many facilities recycling PLA on an industrial scale. Also, consumers would need to know that the cello bag is ONLY compostable, it cannot be recycled. In landfill, the corn starch bags just remain as they are due to the lack of oxygen, light and heat, meaning they can take decades to decompose. There is also the moral issue of growing food to create packaging – when food supply is an issue in the world. Also, consumers would need to know that the cello bag is ONLY compostable, it cannot be recycled.
On further researching into corn starch, we found that manufacturing PLA uses more fossil fuels than plastic production, and much PLA uses GMO plants. Finally, though, we made the decision to not use ANY kind of cello packaging for the simple reason IT IS NOT NECESSARY! Paper will suffice just as well. So, as we have a lot of spare paper (some of which is not recycled, I hasten to add, but was bought many years ago for making seed packets because they had a particular design on that we couldn’t get on recycled paper) we will be using paper for wrapping orders where wrapping is needed. Most of this wrapping paper will be recycled and is not being used for anything other than sitting in a cupboard, so now we can put it to good use, customers can recycle it with their paper recycling – or unwrap it carefully and re-use it as wrapping paper! We will also be using tree-free lokta paper for packaging – a gorgeous paper made in the Himalayas.
Sellotape is basically sticky plastic – a good enough reason not to use it. It also sticks well to paper and board or may leave a sticky residue when removed, so hindering the recycling of the paper – another good reason not to use it. A third reason – it is made from palstic, which is made from petroleum fossil fuels – which are non-renewable. So once our current stock of sellotape is used up we will be using paper tape. We already use paper parcel tape for sealing boxes – 100% brown recycled paper and a rubber-based adhesive. It is biodegradable and compostable.
We also use washi tape for decorating or sticking – this too is biodegradable. Washi tape is made from the bark of various Japanese shrubs and overprinted with pretty designs.
You have probably decided to spend a few minutes on our website because of our environmental worries and trying to have as little impact as possible on the world. By buying our products you, too, are considering the environment. It is unfortunate that, no matter how hard one tries, one cannot be ethical all the time, as much as the desire to be so is there. Veganism is another case in point – if you are vegan you try as hard as you can to find out which food or products are not exploiting animals in any way but, sometimes, you come across something there is no alternative for and you have to reluctantly put up with it. For example, antibiotic tablets that contain lactose.
Similarly with the world of plastic – in an ideal world we could all avoid plastic 100% of the time but, unfortunately this is sometimes not possible. But as long as we all do the best we can to keep our planet beautiful for future generations, stop polluting the air, soil and oceans wherever we can and live peacefully and in harmony with the other creatures that inhabit our planet then at least we can say we have tried.
Written by Teresa Sinclair