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Editorial blog

Sustainable Business Moves That Inspired Us

04 May 2020

Pentel Acts Positively on Sustainability

Writing instruments and art materials manufacturer, Pentel, has taken positive action to promote the sustainable credentials of many of its products, including quick-drying EnerGel X, one of its key pens for use in the office, retail environment, school or home.

A special promotion is currently in place, featuring boxes of 12 EnerGel X pens (made with 84 per cent recycled materials) with 12 free refi lls, to encourage users to refi ll their pen rather than dispose of it when the ink has run out.

Marketing manager Wendy Vickery said: “There really is no need to throw away a perfectly good pen, and no excuse to do so, when we all appreciate the importance of reducing waste by using refi llable products, as well as products made with recycled materials.”

Many everyday products in the company’s range of writing instruments can be refi lled, including most of the EnerGel family, which is perfect for both right and left-handed writers, thanks to its quick drying ink which reduces smudging on hands and paper. All of Pentel’s mechanical pencils, including the highly popular P200 series (favoured by artists and illustrators) can be refi lled with both leads and erasers. They therefore not only deliver a constant, reliable lead diameter, but also last indefi nitely, making them a sound investment for drawing, sketching or writing.

Long before the current soar in demand for recycled products, Pentel had been manufacturing and promoting a wide range of stationery made using recycled materials, under its brand Recycology. Such products include pens, pencils, markers and fi bre tips and a range of display books and presentation fi les – all made using a minimum of 50 per cent recycled materials. The company is committed to ensuring that as many products as possible are made using recycled content, including the recently launched 12 new colours of Brush Sign Pen, made from 81 per cent recycled plastic and ideal for hand lettering.

To encourage consumers to act responsibly and reuse products where possible Pentel has created a special logo for customers to use, to help end-users identify easily Pentel products that can be refi lled. “If You Love It, Refi ll It"will be available to download shortly from the Pentel website,

Packaging Solutions from Envelopes Ltd.

Providing envelopes and packaging to B2C and B2B worldwide, Envelopes Ltd. has a vision to become a renowned provider of eco-friendly and plastic-free solutions. With its ever-growing range of environmentally friendly products on offer, the brand is also developing existing ranges to fi t into the sustainable category. The “Envirolopes” brand includes products such as award winning Flutelopes – a plastic-free alternative to the traditional plastic bubble bag, and our Boardlopes – a completely compostable and biodegradable rigid mailer, as well as many more. Having been in the industry for over 20 years, Envelopes Ltd. are well aware of the devastation single-use plastic does to our delicate planet, and the company has become a market leader in postal packaging. The business’ belief is that if people can be provided with an affordable solution, we as a planet can eradicate a huge part of daily plastic waste. To fi nd out more about the work being done by Envelopes Ltd., including their eco-friendly blog posts, go to

Wool and the Gang’s New Wave Yarn

Made from discarded plastic bottles, Wool and the Gang’s New Wave Yarn provides crafters with a material that has a clear conscience. Each ball has been made with three whole plastic bottles, making this product sustainable. The plastic is blended with cotton to create a light and soft texture that can easily be used by beginners and experienced crafters alike. It’s possible to create sweaters, cardigans, bags, beanies, scarves and more with New Wave Yarn, providing fantastic versatility. The company have also set up the hashtag #changemaker to encourage consumers to post about their use of this eco-friendly yarn on social media, in order to inspire others to turn plastic pollution into a beautiful project.

Holly & Co’s Sustainability Initiatives

Holly Tucker MBE, and her founding business Holly & Co is cheerleading the small business revolution in the UK. The organisation creates a range of events to support small businesses, including workshops, podcasts and a free community of online resources that will motivate and inspire. Holly & Co care passionately about the environment and are constantly reviewing and making changes to the way the company works, understanding where products are sourced from and how to manage waste. Working closely with First Mile, the organisation is able to recycle all of its general waste. Used coffee grounds are made into fi re logs, balloons we used in events are 100% natural latex, created by tapping rubber trees and are compostable. In workshops, paper straws, takeaway containers, napkins and cutlery from Vegware are used, and the in house coffee cup lids are made from a plant based recycled, compostable material. Takeaway coffee cups are 100% biodegradable, compostable and recyclable from Scyphus. To work with Holly & Co to improve your business, go to

The Crafty Kit Company

Founded in 2013 by Jo Lochhead, The Crafty Kit Company design and manufacture award winning craft kits just outside Edinburgh. They were a highly commended brand in the Best Sustainable Craft Company category of the Craft Business Awards 2020. The company’s needle felting kits contain Corriedale wool fl eece, which is a 100% natural material, lovely to work with and fully biodegradeable with no plastic content. All kits contain everything you need to complete the project, including materials, tools, trimmings and of course full colour instructions. Each kit is attractively packaged in a beautifully illustrated cardboard box – perfect for storing all your bits and bobs while you’re working! The company’s growing range of needle-felting, knitting and sewing kits, are all designed for either ‘beginners’ or ‘improvers’.

Jo Lochhead said: “Our connection with our suppliers is always important, and as most have had to quickly adapt from physical shops to online platforms over the last few months, we have tried to help them to make this transition by providing images and artwork. We make all of our kits to order, so we can adapt quickly to changes in the market, but we have found that the type of kits ordered haven’t really changed – a lot of our kits are nature-based, and I think connections with nature are so important to everyone at this time. On days when we can’t get outside we can bring a little bit of nature inside! For spring, our Blue- Tit, Sleepy Fox, Hedgehog and Bee Hive needlefelting kits have all been nature ‘top-sellers’! Also proving popular are beginner sewing and knitting kits, which are perfect for young crafters learning new skills while they stay safe at home.

“We are heartened by how many people are looking for positive things they can do for others during this difficult time. We have had a lot of orders for our best-selling starter needle felting kits like our “Baby Bunny” from lovely customers sending them to friends who are self-isolating on their own – some are ordering a kit for a friend and one for themselves, so they can do it ‘together’over social media which is such a lovely idea! We also had lots of orders for our Sleepy Koala needle felting kit after the Australian bushfi res, where people were making up the kit and auctioning it off to raise funds for the Aussie rescue centres.”

The Crafty Kit Company will be launching their new trade website in May, along with an exciting new product range. Go to

Maped Helix Packaging Changes

Maped Helix, the Black Country-based global stationery giant, has pledged to make signifi cant reductions to the use of single use plastic in its packaging as part of its ongoing commitment to education and the environment.

Combining tradition with innovation, Maped Helix produces over 25 million units of home, school and offie stationery each year which is distributed in more than 80 countries worldwide. One of the company’s top selling products, the Oxford Maths Set, has for many years been packaged in a plastic free sleeve and the company has now ensured that the Oxford products are in a plastic free wood casing.

Gray Richmond, UK Managing Director at Maped Helix, said: “It’s really important for us to create packaging that does not use single use plastic and is recyclable, whilst still properly protecting and displaying our products during the distribution and sales process. Our short-term aim is to remove single use plastics from at least 50 per cent of our products by 2021.” As part of Maped Helix’s new product development process, special attention is paid to the packaging components involved and options to be plastic free, but it’s an additional challenge fi nding alternative packaging for long-time products.

Gray added: “Our Oxford pen range has been carefully designed to feature only plastic free packaging and includes ballpoint pens, fountain pens, gel pens, rollerball pens and ink cartridges.

“Many of our office products and colouring packs are also in 100 per cent cardboard packaging, but it’s a trickier task for multipack stationery sets, erasers and pencil sharpeners which are currently in blister and clamshell packaging for display purposes.

“The industry as a whole must embrace change in the way we package products. Over many years’ infrastructure has been developed that is focused towards using plastic in packaging. This will need to be revolutionised at great pace to hit our short and long term targets but we are very much committed to doing so.

“While forward thinking retailers are embracing the concept of becoming plastic free, inevitably some will be late adopters, perhaps maintaining a focus on price points and margins. But Maped Helix is hopeful that by working together with both manufacturers and retailers on alternative solutions, the company can work towards single use plastic packaging for stationery becoming a thing of the past.

“Our role in plastic reduction is not only environmental but educational. It’s important for us to inspire our customers and communicate the importance of being environmentally conscious and socially responsible purchasers. We want to lead the way in eradicating single use plastic packaging and it’s essential to garner the support of manufacturers and retailers to do this.” To view the full range go to

Backstitch Turns to Brown Paper Parcels

In early June 2018, Backstitch, a fabric, yarn and haberdashery store based online and in retail premises just outside Cambridge at Burwash Manor, announced a new policy which banned all use of plastic in their haberdashery parcels. As part of a commitment to reducing waste and environmental impact, the company’s online customers will now receive their orders of fabric, yarn, patterns and haberdashery in recycled brown paper, ‘tied up’ with brown paper tape. The move has been welcomed by many customers, and feedback is positive that the brown paper is not only strong and practical but also looks great.

Specialising in modern products for knitting, quilting, dressmaking and home stitchers, Backstitch has always used paper packaging for in store customers at the Burwash Manor based Haberdashery, but like many businesses, had for many years used plastic parcel bags for posting out their online orders.

Alice Synge of Backstitch said: “The attitude towards packaging has taken a real shift recently and we are really behind this move. We have noticed a very clear change in behaviour in our Burwash Manor store with customers usually refusing even a paper bag for their purchases. Like so many people we are really worried about the impact of single use plastics and know that postal packaging is a contributing factor. We are proud to have made this move to eliminate plastic from our packaging.”

Backstitch is encouraging people to share their views on the no-plastic topic using #backstitchnoplastic. For more information on Backstitch’s packaging policy, visit www.backstitch.

Levi’s Jean Repair Tutorials

A recognisable brand across the globe, Levi’s is committed to the make do and mend initiative, by encouraging customers to repair jeans and wear them for many more years to come. The brand has provided a number of Youtube video tutorials, teaching customers how to do simple correctional stitches that will mend holes and rips. There’s even the opportunity to customise jeans to make them more personable and adaptable to changing fashion trends. In store experts are also available to repair clothing for another sustainable avenue. Alongside this campaign, Levi’s Better Cotton Initiative has changed the way in which the company produces clothing items, focusing on material that needs signifi cantly less treatment in the manufacturing process, and in turn reducing up to 96% of the water involved in making jeans. Go to

Timberland Report Back on Eco-Friendly Schemes

Boot and shoe manufacturer Timberland are proving to consumers that they are committed to reducing their company’s impact on the environment with several sustainability schemes in place. Goals include the 100% use of sustainably sourced cotton, certifi ed Organic, Recycled or Fairtrade – in 2018 the brand announced that they had already managed 75% of this goal. Another one of Timberland’s aims is to ensure that 100% of their footwear is PVC free (Polyvinyl chloride), in the same year 97% of this goal was achieved. From 2001-2018, the footwear giant planted 10.2 million trees across the world, surpassing this 2020 goal two years early, with a renewed goal of planting 50 million within the next fi ve years. Renewable energy is another eco-friendly resource that Timberland wants to take advantage of, this year the brand is working towards reducing its use of energy by 10%, sourcing 50% of its energy from renewable sources. To fi nd out more about these fantastic sustainability schemes go to

The Green Crafts Initiative Inspires Scotland

The Green Crafts Initiative (GCI) is a sister initiative to the established Green Arts Initiative and a joint project between Craft Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland. The project aims to enable the craft sector to contribute green actions within Scotland’s cultural industries.

Makers and craft organisations based in Scotland are able to become members of the Green Crafts Initiative, which provides support and advice for crafts individuals and groups committed to reducing their environmental impact.

The initiative asks members to pledge to improve their environmental actions over time through a series of simple commitments

• Reduce their environmental impact each year

• Strive to improve to their monitoring and management of environmental impacts each year

• Send an annual informal report about their actions relating to the environment

Members have access to an extensive range of website resources and case studies to aid in their fulfi lment of these commitments, as well as the ability to contact CCS for one-to-one advice as they work together to put culture and the arts at the heart of a more sustainable Scotland. If you are your business are eligible for this support, you can sign up by going to

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From the Craft Business Directory