AUTUMN//WINTER 2018 39 38 AUTUMN//WINTER 2018 Many retailers have tried and given up on refillable pens, as it seems consumers are motivated by brand, product appearance and performance, and that being refillable is a secondary benefit. Interestingly, retailers have never been big fans of refills either as the return on space is poor, with ink cartridges being the only notable exception because most ink pens use one or two standard formats. In the ballpen and rollerball market, until recently only more expensive pens were refillable, and many brands now use Amazon as an online warehouse for refills. Often it is not the material itself that cannot be recycled, it is what we have done to it. Paper or board are normally fine to recycle, but film laminate, foil or glitter are difficult to remove in the recycling process. Using water- or cornstarch-based laminates allow boards to be recycled, and there are new degradable glitters in development. In August 2018, for example, M&S announced it was trialling a plant-based biodegradable glitter called Deco Bioglitter on its sparkling chrysanthemum gift bags. Foils are still a challenge because they are usually aluminium based, so while they are very on trend in design terms, they are not helping the environment. Foils can be floated off if the recycling company has suitable equipment. Scientists are in the process of researching biodegradable foils. These game-changing developments have been on businesses’ agendas for a while, but Blue Planet II seems to have given some much-needed impetus in terms of consumer awareness. It is a similar story with the bags we sell our products in. Some films can technically be recycled, but very few local authorities have the facilities to do it. Even if the film was collected separately, which it isn’t, it couldn’t be processed anyway. Biodegradable film will do exactly that over time, but it merely breaks down into tiny slivers rather than disappear altogether. Cornstarch film is compostable and will break down, but only if placed on your compost heap. If put in a black rubbish bag it will end up in landfill and won’t degrade as intended. There are, however, many examples of changes afoot: the National Trust recently sent out their member’s magazine in a potato-starch wrapper suitable for domestic composting, and they make it quite clear that we have to put it in our compost heaps for that to happen. UK packaging solutions provider Hazel 4D has launched new Surf recyclable mailing envelopes with a padded lining made of corrugated paper, which gives the envelopes the strength and rigidity required to protect products from damage in the post. And they are 100% recycled. In August, card publisher The Art File announced it will offer retailers a 4p price reduction for ‘going naked’ on its Spring Seasons 2019 cards. As consumers, will we remember to pick up the envelopes, and will we mind cards and envelopes being marked? If we want to make a difference, we will have to get used to it. The Greeting Card Association’s (GCA) CEO Sharon Little announced in August that they will soon be ready “to share full advice with our card publisher members and associate retailer and supplier members on environmental matters in relation to greeting cards.” Given the synergy between the card and stationery STATIONERY BIZ STATIONERY BIZ Deco bioglitter by Bioglitter,a biodegradable non-plastic glitter 2019 season‘naked’ cards from TheArt File ‘naked’ cards fromTheArt File industries and the fact that many UK businesses are involved in both market sectors, this is bound to influence the stationery on offer in 2019. Driving home recently I heard someone talking about an initiative used at sports grounds, encouraging spectators to return their plastic glasses for a £1 deposit. At Lords the spectators were slow on the uptake, but an enterprising youngster decided to forego watching the cricket and earned himself £92 collecting glasses. This shows that we all need to care M&S ANNOUNCED IT WASTRIALLING A PLANT-BASED BIODEGRADABLE GLITTER CALLED DECO BIOGLITTER ON ITS SPARKLING CHRYSANTHEMUM GIFT BAGS. more, even if there is a persuasive financial incentive! There is a huge amount of research going into developing more environmentally friendly materials and processes, but we cannot expect this to continue if we do not do our bit. As consumers we need to be aware of what we are buying and how we should dispose of it. We must all be prepared to put the effort in, and maybe spend a little bit more to give these initiatives the support and the impetus they need. Hazel 4D’s new Surf recyclable mailing envelopes with a padded lining made of corrugated paper