Perhaps the greatest part of the holiday season are wrapped gifts. But in the mere seconds that it takes to open them up, a wasteful amount of resources ends up in the trash. In fact, it is estimated that wrapping paper and shopping bags alone contribute to 4 million pounds of trash per year. To help you grasp that number, that’s enough paper to wrap around the earth 9 times! However, one company by the name of Wrappily is aiming to solve this issue by offering consumers a stylishly designed gift wrap that is completely recyclable and biodegradable. With an environmentally conscious design approach and a short and sweet supply chain, Wrappily is off to a good start when it comes to brand transparency, but they need to work on their carbon footprint calculation to provide customers with a better idea of their impact on the environment. For these reasons, I believe Wrappily deserves a sustainability rating of 2.5 planets.
Wrappily’s festive gift wrap is made up of wood pulp, saw dust, soy-based ink, and plant based packaging. As a result, their paper is 100% recyclable. The majority of their newsprint comes from sustainably managed forest in the Pacific Northwest, where it gets milled, printed, and packaged all within the same state. While their website doesn’t specifically mention the use of recycled content to make the product, it’s safe to assume that it consists of mostly recycled goods, considering the fact that the U.S. gets 90% of its newsprint from recycled materials. This can go a long way towards reducing our demand for natural resources, as a single sheet of newsprint can be recycled up to 7 times. Another distinguishing characteristic is their use of soy-based ink to make their designs. Unlike competitors, their paper doesn’t contain any dyes or plastic sparkles, which make it nearly impossible to recycle. Lastly, their packaging is made entirely from a renewable plant starch, reducing the need for petroleum based plastic and carbon emissions. Overall, I think Wrappily deserves a high score for this section because of their effort to use environmentally friendly materials within all of their paper products.
As mentioned early, one great thing about Wrappily is their short supply chain. With the entire manufacturing process taking place in Washington State, they are able to limit the amount of miles that their product has to travel before it reaches the consumer. This allows them to lower their carbon footprint and turn it into a pinky toe footprint instead. Another cool aspect to the company is the fact that they use local old school newspaper presses to print their designs, many of which are created by independent artists who get the chance to showcase their art and build up their brand. There are, however, a few important manufacturing procedures that separate Wrappily from other traditional brands. For instance, their soy-based ink is allowed to naturally absorb into the newsprint, as opposed to using a machine to bake or coat in the design. The only slight downside to this is you may end up with some inky fingers, but if you ask me, it’s definitely worth saving energy in the long run. Another difference is the fact that they flat press their paper into folded sheets. This eliminates the need for a cardboard tube, which saves resources and makes it easier to store at home. I do however believe there is some important information that Wrappily should provide to the consumer, in order to feel completely safe with their purchase. It would be nice if they calculated their carbon footprint so that we can see exactly how big of an impact their company has on the planet. Also, I would like to know what energy source is being used to power the manufacturing process, as this can significantly impact one’s goal of being sustainable. If these two things were to be included, Wrappily could very easily be looking at a perfect score.
Wrappily was founded by Sara Smith in 2013 with the goal of providing consumers a guilt free way to wrap gifts. Having grown up in Maui, Sara became interested in the idea of sustainability. This is due to the fact that there are a limited amount of resources available on the island and she hated to watch the landfills grow bigger and bigger each year. Using her father’s connection to the printing industry, she quickly became interested in the old fashion printing press and began experimenting with different materials to create a company whose products evolve around the idea of a circular economy. To no surprise, she located the company’s headquarters in Maui, where an abundant amount of talented artists live. Here, her company is able to support a wide array of small business owners whose personal stories can be found on the website under the tab Meet The Designers. Sara also acts as an inspiring leader, empowering other women to follow in her footsteps of owning their own business. Lastly, Wrappily participates in a fundraising program that donate’s a portion of their proceeds to communities in need.