When Mr P presented me with this box at the weekend and asked if I could use it for anything it struck me that this box epitomises the very problem with high end packaging and is exactly what I was meaning in my blog post about resentful packaging.
It’s beautiful, it’s made out of solid board, covered elegantly with bright red glossy paper for the base and a slight flock feel fabric paper for the lid. It oozes quality, it feels special. So special in fact that you keep the box long after the products have been used and their packaging discarded.
You want to use this box for something that matches its quality and timeless elegance so you put it away while you think what that purpose could be…. Fast forward 4 years and the box has been on a shelf gathering dust in Mr P’s office as he doesn’t want to throw it away. It’s too nice to throw away oh and the real kicker is that if you did throw it in the recycling, it’s not recyclable as many of the gloss finished papers can’t be recycled in the usual way so even if I were to put it in the green bin, the people who sort the recycling would have to put it to landfill. The box doesn’t seem so special now…
Whilst I do personally love beautiful, elegant packaging, I can’t feel comfortable about the cost it has not just in terms of the price of the product but also the environment. Lubylu® packaging is designed to be elegant and stylish but not wasteful and resentful. It’s made from recycled materials and can be recycled. My aim is for my customers to be able to enjoy high quality, handmade home fragrance products with a hint of fun and a sprinkling of glitter that don’t cost the earth in more ways than one.
Who’s with me on trying to increase our purchases of Ethical Luxury goods…?
We all want to do our bit for the environment, we care about the future of the planet and what kind of a world we are leaving for our kids. For some of us it bothers us that we seem to take our endless supplies of material goods for granted. We buy new clothes instead of mending old ones but then the clothes we buy aren’t made to last. We waste food because it’s Friday and the label says best before Wednesday, we even buy new electrical items and furniture because the broken TV can’t be fixed and the skills to mend a chair leg haven’t been passed down through the generations….
The problem is that when we try to do ‘our bit’ it sometimes feels like our small efforts are going to waste and will have no impact at all. When you see lorries churning out great plumes of fumes as they trundle through our cities you wonder why you’ve made the effort to get public transport, when you imagine the amount of electricity used to power the lighting at a major sporting event you wonder why you bothered switching to low energy light bulbs in your home. It reminds me a sketch by comedian Sean Lock who talks about rinsing out his Marmite jar before taking it to the recycling depot being akin to turning up the aftermath of a volcanic eruption offering to help clean up the ash with a dust pan and brush… it seems too little too late.
The other side of this though is that if everyone took the time and the effort to make small changes in their daily routines, their actions would soon amount to a very large difference. If everyone recycled all their glassware, used low energy light bulbs and tried to make the most of all the food they bought, the positive impact would soon be felt. The same goes for our choices of packaging materials.
If we all made the effort to buy products that come in recycled and recyclable packaging and resisted buying the fancy products in glossy hardboard boxes with plastic wrapping not only would this have an immediate positive impact but it would also start to make the companies that sell products in none environmentally friendly packaging think long and hard about what consumers actually want. It’s one of those things that seems hard to do at first, a bit like when the carrier bag charge was introduced at the supermarkets; we all though it’d be a hassle making sure we had our carrier bags with us and for a while, yes, we did take them and then leave them in the car, but it’s now become habit and it’s sparked a whole new range of reusable shopping bags. It’s almost looked down upon now to answer ‘yes’ when the person on the checkout asks if you need any bags! The same can happen with product packaging that clogs up your cupboards and landfill sites.
As consumers, if we make positive, ethical choices about which products we buy based on what’s important to us, at some point those issues will become important to the manufacturers and notice will be taken. Increasing numbers of products are now available with recycled, recyclable or even re-useable packaging. This is one of the reasons I have focused one of the main elements of the Lubylu brand to be ‘ethical luxury’. We can still have the nice things in life, the treats and the luxury goods but we can now look for ones that have a positive impact on our ‘world’. Lubylu handmade home fragrance products come in packaging that is either recycled, recyclable or re-usable or all three. It’s important to me that my customers feel good about their choices and you don’t have to live in an organic, hand knitted yurt, to have a positive impact on the world around you, just buy your luxury soy wax candle from Lubylu!!
Lucy Pimblott, Owner, Lubylu Ltd