At Plywerk, we devote a great deal of our mental faculties to figuring out how to work more efficiently and reduce our impact on this planet. For example, all our photo display products rely on bamboo, maple, or walnut woods, and we work to ensure they are all sustainably harvested. Stanley is made completely with upcycled Western Walnut and an all-natural oil/wax finish, and we recycle our own scrap wood as much as possible—including making keychains out of it for Green Drop Garage.
But running a green workshop is only half the story. After we cut, sand, and mount your pictures to our custom frames, we also have to get them to you. We can say all we want about our sustainable production, but if we deliver the final product packaged in non-recyclable materials, that kind of defeats the purpose. In 2011, we switched from using bubblewrap to sustainable Geami GreenWrap, which is 100% recyclable. This alone has saved roughly 40,000 square feet of bubblewrap from entering the ecosystem since 2011. We also source most of our boxes and other packaging materials locally from Carton Service, which even provides many supplies that are made from surplus materials.
One of the more difficult materials to replace with a green alternative was freezer paper, but thanks to EcoWrap we now have a freezer paper that not only resists moisture, but is 100% recyclable. EcoWrap also comes courtesy of a local company: Pac Paper in Vancouver.
Of course at some point, the boxes need to be loaded onto a truck and driven to their destination, which means C02 coming out of a tailpipe. While we offer local pickup so that our Portland customers can strap their Plywerk to their bikes, that doesn’t work as well for our out-of-town customers. That’s why we purchase carbon-offsets for all our UPS shipping, which ensures that for all the carbon put into the atmosphere to deliver our products, an equal amount of carbon is reduced elsewhere in the world. While carbon-offsets are not a cure-all, this is a verified, audited process, and we feel confident using it to support our eco-friendly shipping procedures.
There is, of course, a third part of the equation—you. We work as hard as we can to be more than just green, but we are always looking for ways to improve. If you have ideas for how we can improve the eco-friendliness of our production and shipping practices, then we want to hear from you.