With brands from Guinness to Hermes announcing their switch to sustainable packaging, and others like Glossier suffering backlash over over-packaged goods (though the brand announced it would change its packaging, particularly in itsPlay line which packaged the makeup in plastic wraps and cardboard boxes), consumers are paying attention to unnecessary waste. Companies, particularly small startups, can’t risk the optics of being on the wrong side of climate policy. Choosing alternatives isn’t difficult, we already have the technologies and infrastructure of environmentally friendly packaging. One of the fast-growing companies in this space, noissue, specializes in creating eco-friendly packaging that’s equally as chic as its dirty competitors, and they gave us a look into this niche, but important, industry.
The people behind noissue began this endeavor to solve their need for sustainable packaging for another of their businesses. As small business owners, they found no options that were simultaneously sustainable, cost-effective, and branded, so they made their own. They chose to focus on tissue paper because its applicable in myriad situations and could be useful to other small businesses.
Noissue’s eco-friendly tissue paper is completely acid-free and made of wood pulp sourced from sustainably-managed forests that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. It’s also printed with soy-based ink, a sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-based ink.
They’ve expanded into other forms of packaging like soy ink stickers and compostable mailers, but continue to focus on the utility and affordability of tissue paper. They’re most proud of their ability to be a part of other small businesses growing their brand sustainably, but also see larger companies turning to alternatives to traditional packaging. Noissue’s ultimate goal is to make sustainable packaging the industry norm rather than an alternative.
Noissue also organized itself to be accessible to both established and smaller businesses, so new brands can make sustainable choices within their budget. They allow brands to design their packaging right on the website, and their biggest challenge has been keeping up with demand.
“We started as just a three-man operation,” says noissue co-founder Josh Bowden, “and from the minute the design platform went live, we just had such a fantastic response… now it’s up to us to keep pace and keep creating and innovating.” It’s a good problem to have, and heartening to see the growing interest in sustainability.
Packaging may be an afterthought for many businesses, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to make incremental steps towards green commerce. While sustainability is what makes them stand out among similar companies, they see it not as a marketing pitch, but as necessity. Sustainable packaging shouldn’t be a novel choice, but something all companies shift towards.
In order to be accessible to small brands or even individual artisans, they keep their minimum order threshold low. For many just starting out, professional packaging is out of their reach. Typically with custom printed packages, brands would have to make bulk orders of 1,000-10,000+ while noissue’s minimum order is just 250 sheets. By making sustainable options accessible, they’re helping to usher in a new class of upstart brands present themselves professionally and eco-consciously.
Their interface also makes the design process easier for small companies who might not have professional designers on staff. The prevailing misconception is that sustainable options for businesses are either prohibitively expensive or decidedly unchic. They hope to change this.
It’s also in the design phase that noissue can help businesses reduce waste. Waste happens, the company explains, when reprints are required or the process gets sloppy. By keeping the design process online and making a full support team available, the need for reprints are dramatically reduced. “We work tirelessly to make sure that when the tissue gets printed and shipped, it is exactly what the customer wanted.”
For the team behind noissue, their inspiration to get into sustainable business solutions came from spending time outside. Growing up in the pristine New Zealand environment and spending their childhood revelling in the country’s physical beauty, sustainability felt like a natural move. The team also see sustainability as a mandatory shift happening rapidly in the business world, and wanted to be a part of the change. Culture has moved to a place in which companies have to answer to conscious consumers why they still adhere to old polluting practices rather than a few needing to educate their shoppers as to why they chose sustainable alternatives.
Noissue says they want to work with companies as a positive solution to help them grow rather than in an uncaring, bland business-to-business relationship. They understand that for smaller brands trying to make a difference, it can be overwhelming. Packaging is a small part in retail, but it can make a huge difference, not only in the professionalism and delight it brings to customers, but in its environmental packaging. Think of how many people buy things online and how many of those include plastic bubble wrap or non-recyclable bags. Online shopping isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and it’s up to businesses to make the changes necessary to reduce the waste they make.
“We predominantly see customers use [noissue] for wrapping products, invites, flowers, and the like,” says Bowden. “We’ve also seen people get pretty creative with it— artists who use the custom design option to create beautiful prints, a paper flower company using it in paper art, and even a few food trucks who have used it to put their branding right in front of a customer while they’re eating!”
Consumers can rest easy knowing that a growing number of companies are taking responsibility for the waste they create and making conscious choices, rather than passing on all the responsibility to them.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by noissue. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own. Images supplied. Specific product information is checked with the business. For more information about our policies, click here.
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