“The more the greeting card industry shows it is in tune with the times, the better for us all,” believes Paul Woodmansterne, md of Woodmansterne Publications. As part of its drive on the environmental front, the Watford-based publishing group (which includes Woodmansterne, Cardmix and Caltime by Woodmansterne), is introducing new labeling on the backs of its cards, advent calendars and wrappings to communicate to the public both their recyclability and fountain-pen friendly nature.
Chief executive officer of the group, and long serving Council member of the GCA, Paul Woodmansterne is keen to share the company’s strategy, in the hope that others will follow suit for the greater good of the sector.
The publisher has received official approval from WRAP, the government recognised body on recycling matters, to use the publisher’s created phrase of ‘recycle me’, alongside the WRAP logo, instead of adopting the more direct ‘recycle’ or ‘recycle now’ commands.
“We believe that for greeting cards, ‘recycle me’ feels more friendly – and what’s more WRAP has also decided to adopt it,” says Paul who elaborates that the new wording “doesn’t demand that you throw away your card instantly!”
While Paul accepts that future developments on the environmental score are likely to impact on what Woodmansterne and the industry as a whole adopts, it is prudent to act now and “make it clear to consumers now how they should dispose of waste elements (bags) and products (cards and envelopes).”
Paul detailed Woodmansterne’s company’s three key principles:
- Only use official licensed ‘packaging waste’ logos and information on actual packaging (the polypropylene bags). It pays a modest licence fee to use the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL).
- Official waste disposal advice onproducts(cards and envelopes) (‘recycle me’) to sit under materials sourcing (FSC logo and info/100% recycled paper).
- Stick where possible for information to appear on the material concerned only (ie don’t put envelope advice on the card, just on the envelope etc.)
On the emotive subject of cellowrapping, Woodmansterne has steered clear of negative instruction on bags (eg ‘not yet recycled’) in favour of reporting simply the nature of the film used – ie the three arrows no.5 PP, Paul says “it gives a chance for consumers to check whether they can use recycling in the 20% of council recycling centres that do accept it.”
Less on a wider environmental concern and more in a personal orbit, soon to appear on the backs of all Woodmansterne and Cardmix cards is the message ‘suitable for fountain pens’. This was instigated on the back of Paul’s personal experience when writing a Valentine’s Day cards to his wife Bella when his fountain pen ink spread all over the card.
“It has led us to add a new logo of our own making (accompanied by the words ‘suitable for fountain pens’), reassuring Woodmansterne consumers that they will not ruin their card when using a fountain pen!” explains Paul.
Taking a wider view on all these impending developments, Paul told PG Buzz: “I am happy for any other card companies (that complies, obviously) to adopt our methodology”. As he stresses “As we have in the past with barcodes, letter post, double alpha, it is our whole industry’s interest that we take a consistent approach to labelling on the environmental front to make it clear to the public how they can, if they wish, to dispose of our products”.