Progressive Greetings - April 2018

Page 19

19-20-21.qxp_Grid 28/03/2018 14:39 Page 19


To Wrap Or Not To Wrap? Environmental issues remain very much front of mind - most specifically on the plastics front. While the UK greeting card industry is collectively investigating ways of further improving its eco-credentials, PG opens up the debate on the wrapping of individual cards as well as asking what other measures could improve the trade’s carbon footprint.

Jeremy Corner managing director of Blue Eyed Sun: To wrap or not to wrap?: “Higher priced handmade cards and their component parts do need protecting in stores as damaged handmade cards are costly to replace. I do think though that regular printed cards are better unwrapped and have noticed that several of the multiples do this. The key issue is changing the consumer perception of plastic wrapped goods as being better/more perfect than unwrapped.” Other measures: “The keys issues are education (understanding the issues and options), lobbying councils to recycle more and consistent, clear communication to consumers (by all publishers, suppliers and retailers) about what can be recycled and how to do it. This includes clear labelling on products, consistent communication on websites, in PR, editorial and advertising. We all need to work together on this to make real change. The GCA is perfectly positioned to facilitate tackling these important issues. Even small changes like moving from 40 micron cellobags to 35 micron bags will help reduce usage. Labelling these bags with the correct recycling/composting logos is essential though.” Above: Blue Eyed Sun is now distributing BambooCup in the UK, to try and combat the 2.5 billion single use plastic cups used annually in the UK.

Inset: Plastic reduction and improved recycling is something that is affecting all UK industries.

Ceri Stirland customer and channel director of UK Greetings (and current president of the GCA): To wrap or not to wrap?: “As someone who has been in the industry for a very long time I can remember the days when we never cellobagged product, in fact, a number of publishers and some retailers still don’t. Therefore, I would question why there is a need. Yes, it protects the product; yes, it keeps the envelope and card together and yes, there is something aesthetically pleasing about certain cards in a bag… however none of these are essential. It is up to every retailer, publisher and individual to make a pledge, however small or large, to make a difference.” Other measures: “I feel there are a few key things we, as an industry should be considering: l The majority of our product is recyclable, therefore every publisher should use the recycling symbol on the page 4 of their cards to educate consumers. l Every GCA Council Member and publisher member should write to their local council to lobby and ask them to improve recycling facilities to ensure our product (greeting cards) are actually recycled. l There should be more engagement between publishers and retailers to reduce avoidable plastic waste. Some retailers are further forward in their thinking and we are already talking to retailers about a variety of trials. l Consider seasonal buys to minimise waste - I am sure that there will be discussions over whether we really need full units in every pocket at the end of the seasons? As an industry it is essential that we continue to improve our environmental credentials. The key is to get everyone working together to share best practice to reduce our environmental impact while still delivering great innovative product and service to our customers.” Above: Ceri Stirland (left) at the GCA AGM last October, at which she became president. Pictured here with the GCA ceo Sharon Little and Bank of England’s Glynn Jones. Left: UKG has introduced an Environmental Steering Group, of which Ceri is a member. Part of this is the publisher’s Plastic Free Friday campaign.