Paper Tiger gets claws into sustainability

Carbon-neutral deliveries are latest move for indie retailer Michael Apter



Carbon neutral deliveries and fully-compostable potato starch carrier bags are the latest ways indie card and gift retailer Paper Tiger ensures it’s hitting its sustainable target.

“We want our customers to shop with a clear conscience,” owner Michael Apter told PG Buzz, echoing the message he’s shared with customers through the store’s regular e-newsletter.

He added: “Over the summer we added carbon neutral deliveries to our website. In practice this means we make a donation for every delivery we make toward carbon removal projects that make an immediate impact.

“All of our web packaging is recycled and/or recyclable. Wherever possible we’ve removed plastic from the process – deliveries are in a recycled paper envelope, padded with corrugated card and secured with Paper Tiger paper tape.”

Above: Michael with his Greats award in May this year
Above: Michael with his Greats award in May this year

And earlier in the year Michael introduced the potato starch bags at his two Retas and Greats-winning Edinburgh stores. Made from the same material people use at home in food-recycling bins – which disintegrates to carbon dioxide, water and biomass in just under three months – he added: “We think they’re rather stylish! In the shops, they sit alongside our recycled plastic bottle totes and recycled paper bags.”

Paper Tiger is also part of the Trees For Life scheme, with 56 trees already planted in its grove in protected sites in the Scottish Highlands by offsetting website emissions and business travel, and running promotions with customers to encourage planting.

And, with his team, Michael has really got his claws into the single-use plastics issue, working with suppliers including Vent For Change, 24Bottles, 4Ocean and Kind Bags, to have just about eradicated them from sale in the stores.

Above: Many publishers who work with Paper Tiger provide sustainable greeting cards
Above: Many publishers who work with Paper Tiger provide sustainable greeting cards

And on the greetings card front Michael explained: “I think the vast majority of the card suppliers we work with are using FSC boards, and have removed problematic things like glitter. The move away from polypropylene bags to biodegradable ones, or clasps, has also helped with overall sustainability.

“We also have our own Paper Tiger cards and stationery ranges which are printed locally using sustainable papers and inks. This is something we want to do as a business, it is a key element of our buying criteria, and it’s something our customers expect from us too.”

Michael explained that Paper Tiger uses Planet, the carbon-neutral shipping option from Shopify, to help support the most-promising climate solutions on Earth where a carbon removal payment is made on behalf of our customers for every order shipped.
Unlike other sustainable commerce services, Planet focuses on carbon removal, rather than offsetting carbon with forest protection. To do this, Shopify works with high-impact companies like Running Tide and Remora through the Shopify Sustainability Fund to make a real impact on our Earth.

Above: Vent For Change, 24Bottles, 4Ocean and Kind Bag are among Paper Tiger’s eco gift suppliers
Above: Vent For Change, 24Bottles, 4Ocean and Kind Bag are among Paper Tiger’s eco gift suppliers

And the retailer’s environmental policy means it minimises its own impact by targeting waste reduction each year, and uses Changeworks UK which works with British facilities to recycle waste, while all the paper in Paper Tiger’s own-brand products is recycled with notebook covers in eco-friendly recycled kraft boards and printed using vegetable inks.

Michael added: “The Scottish naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir said that ‘in every walk in nature, one receives far more than he seeks’ – as well as reflecting the healing power of nature, I think it’s also a quiet call to action. Make the things that you do resonate at another level.”

Top: Compostable carriers are an eco addition for Paper Tiger owner Michael Apter

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