Let’s Talk Plastic

Or more accurately polypropylene. That’s the stuff that a large number of cards are put in. In the shop we have around 350 different card designs, which is over 1,000 cards in total. That’s quite a bit of plastic. Plastic that is recyclable, but generally isn’t recycled. Certainly not here in Sheffield where there’s a good chance it’s ending up in the city’s incinerator.

We have over a dozen suppliers of cards to the shop and quite a few of the smaller ones do use biodegradable /compostable alternatives. This is great, but only if they are disposed of in a place where they can biodegrade or compost. And of course those eco friendly alternatives take resources to make, and may not be as environmentally friendly as thought.

“No point in having biodegradable in Sheffield - it all gets incinerated!”

So, prompted by a number of customers asking about the sleeves on the cards, we spoke to our suppliers, we asked our customers in the shop and we asked our followers on our social media accounts about selling the cards without sleeves.

"Yes defintiely a brilliant idea! Go for it."

Our customers definitely want us to do this, our suppliers are supportive (with some reservations) and other shops aren’t sure.

“Given the way customers treat them, plastic free would result in too much money lost in damages for me.”

Why do we have card sleeves anyway?
It’s there to help it get to us in one piece and to protect the cards in the shop. Customers aren’t going to want to buy a damaged or dirty card. If the card is damaged in any way it costs us money and it wastes resources. Possibly more than the sleeve? If it costs money, it will ulitmately cost the customer more too. It’s not an easy answer.

But we need to do something and we’d be foolish to ignore our customers.

“Yes please but cards will get more damaged and dirty if not sold quickly, so there may be a cost to you.”

What’s the plan?
As you can see there are many different views on this and we’re not entirely sure what the answer is. So we’re having a trial with a small range of cards sleeve free (or naked) – Naked Cards have been around for a while for online sellers.

We’ve designed a paper corner to go over the top card to keep it together with the envelope and try and to tell people what we are doing. This is simply folded to hold it together so there’s no glue or tape, and when the customer buys a card we take this off and reuse it. And if this trial successful we’ll move to having more of our cards sleeve free. But it will take months for all of our cards to become plastic free, even if all of our suppliers offer this.

Is there a template?
If you’d like to use the paper corner with your own branding, simply download the file below and edit it yourself. It’s an editable PDF that you can easily edit in Illustrator or similar. We left our text on one of them so you can see the correct orientation for your text or logo and arranged them to get as many as possible on one sheet of A4. It’s free but it would be great if you were to tag us on our social media accounts if you use the template: Facebook @thewalkleypress – Instagram @walkleypress or if anyone’s still using it, Twitter @walkleypress. If you want to tell other people about the template, please point them to our website.

Click here to download template (editable PDF)

Folding instructions:

Card Corner Instructions
Click on the image to enlarge