Eco-Friendly Bubblewrap

Many of you are aware of the legendary packing that we do at the Goulet Pen Company, and an integral part of that is our bubblewrap. In an effort to be more eco-friendly, we want to consider switching to biodegradeable bubblewrap. The stuff is pretty cool, it looks and feels a lot like plastic, but it biodegrades after only 12-24 months in a landfill. I’ve already put it through some testing and it’s holding up well, I soaked it underwater for about 20 straight hours and there was no change in it at all, and it seems to be just as strong as plastic.

For the next week or so (depending on our shipping volume), we’ll be using our new green “Eco Bubs” as we’ve come to call them around the shop. We want to see how they will hold up in the real world, so if you’re ordering from in the next week or so, you will probably see some eco bubs used for your package. If you do, we’d love to get your feedback on how they held up! We have this online survey (it’s really quick) that will help us to get the feelings you have towards our new bubs and our green initiative.

We are also going to be trying out some green (biodegradeable) stretch wrap as well, but we’re really torn about this one! Our blue wrap has become so distinctive, that we kind of hate to give it up! So we’d love your thoughts on that too.

***I want to correct one thing I said in the video. I said the green bubbles ‘can’t be recycled’ but what I meant was ‘doesn’t have to be recycled’…these bubbles CAN actually be recycled, but they will also biodegrade if simply thrown away, so you have options 😉 

If you know you aren’t going to be ordering from us but still want to share your opinion on our eco stuff, just post here in the comments as I’d really love to hear what you think!

2017-10-11T03:17:08+00:00 June 14th, 2012|A Goulet Life|36 Comments
  • Rebekah Hoyt

    I think it's great that you guys are trying to go green with your shipping materials!  The sheer volume of materials you use daily is amazing, and to be able to use something that is biodegradable is really awesome!  Way to go, Goulet Pens, always thinking ahead!! 🙂

  • Marshall Massey

    Glad you are thinking in this direction.  But for something as light as a fountain pen, even a fountain pen in a presentation case, crumpled newspaper ought to do equally well.

  • Jim Blackie

    Bravo for this thoughtful move! Another reason to Go Team Goulet.

  • Thanks! This is a trial period for us and for everyone else, so we'll see how they hold up. We're trying at least!

  • We do use recycled newsprint in our normal process, but it's not always the case that there is a single pen we're shipping…the pens aren't so much the issue, but it's more the ink and paper that's the trouble. Both are very easily damaged, and the ink specifically can ruin the entire contents of a package if it breaks. That's part of why we're so gung-ho with our packing. 

  • Thanks! We're trying…we haven't decided for sure if we're going to switch because we want to see how the bubs hold up, but we are hoping to go more in this direction.

  • Awesome!  Great idea!  I do care.  Glad to see it already.  🙂

  • GourmetPens

    I'm so happy to hear you guys are considering green options! I had been wondering for awhile if you would change… I hope everyone's orders arrive safely so the green initiative can take over! I love when businesses try to be green. It makes me even more of a loyal customer. Great idea.

  • GrannyKass

    Fantastic! I am truly with you on saving the environment. Great move, I hope it works out well.

  • kh

    I definitely support switching to biodegradable materials.  If they perform approximately as well as the traditional plastic, it's truly a no-brainer.

    While I understand your reluctance to switch away from your distinctive blue plastic wrap, I think it's even more important to switch that to something biodegradable (or recyclable, like brown paper) than the bubble wrap!  I can (and do!) reuse bubble wrap, so at least in our house it doesn't immediately end up in the landfill… but plastic wrap is very difficult to reuse, and even though I've managed to do so a few times, it most often ends up in the trash.

    I may be ordering a large volume of ink in the next week, so that'll be a great test case for you!

  • I just wanted to say I reuse the stretch wrap and eventhe baggies from samples. The boxes usually get recycled because they're usually too mutilated to be reused. We have TERRIBLE MAIL CARRIERS. The ink drop bubble bags sometimes get reused but those are more likely thrown out. I am in an apartment with weird collection (in recycling crazy Berkeley, but some things still need to be taken to the plant and I just don't do that anymore as its terrifying with the salvagers anymore) so I haven't really figured out any way to recycle those other than reuse. I'm OK with the Eco stuff but honestly I just want my stuff safely.
    They banned styrofoam and plastic food containers in Berkeley not too long ago and now I end up eating the cost as I used to be able to eat from and store food in the takeout containers, but now have to use three times as much stuff to eat a meal – the rapidly dissolving coated paper container it comes home in, the paper plate to eat on (can't do dishes, don't ask, miserable apartment issues) and then something, probably in recyclable to store leftovers in. It's dumb. If you switch to the eco stuff but use more of it to accomplish the same goal it's not really saving anything because it's still shipping, packing, creation, fuel, etc. etc. to not only create the material but to use and mail it. So if the packages weigh more you'd have to charge more, etc. etc. I'm not saying that's the case I'm just making an example statement. I'm sure you've weighed (literally) the cost difference as well.

    Thanks for being open and involving your customers in this process, it keeps me coming back, despite two days after making my first (and last for quite awhile, poor now) $100+ order you offer free shipping over $100. *sigh* 🙂

  • Ron

    Fantastic idea! Glad you're doing this.

  • Thanks! Good to know 🙂 

  • Thanks! It's been on our minds for a while, but it's actually surprising (or maybe not) how few options there really are for green shipping supplies. We're having to search pretty high and low to get these supplies, and even then we're basically getting them as a 'special order' through a new shipping company. We've already invested a lot of time just working on a supply chain for these supplies, so we're hoping they really hold up. 

  • Good to hear! It kind of goes in line with how fountain pens are good for the environment too, saving a lot of disposable pens from being tossed in landfills every year. I read estimates that something like 100 million pens are thrown away each year in the US alone, it's probably more than that since Bic alone has produced well over 100 billion disposable pens. Now THAT's a lot of plastic!

  • This is a really good point, I hadn't considered that as much. We actually just got in some biodegradable stretch wrap today, we'll try that out too. 

  • Thanks! We're trying to do what we can, that's all anyone can do, right? 

  • Nicky

    I think this is a fantastic idea! It's awesome to see you guys thinking about these things. 

    While I do love the blue wrap, being environmentally friendly is more important to me in the long-run. I would total support you switching to something greener. And hey, maybe eco-bubs and green wrap will become the new thing that is distinctly Goulet Pens?

  • That's a good point! Except that we just got in the eco-stretch wrap and it's clear, not green! We'll be testing that out too 🙂 

  • I know I have gotten packages with the green environmentally friendly bubble wrap, and I can tell no difference in it. I think it's a no brainer and will perform for you well.

    I am a bit more skeptical about the cling wrap. Will it cling just as well as the current stuff? I have my doubts. I'm sure you'll find out. To me, the question of what goes into the manufacture of the materials is even more important than their supposed performance in a landfill. If "environmentally friendly" materials use a lot more carbon and consume more resources to make, the true environmentally friendly option would be the cling wrap that doesn't readily biodegrade. 

  • JR

    Great! Green is the word 🙂

  • You make a very good point. The hidden environmental costs are often overlooked. For instance, until not too long ago, it took more energy to _make_ a photo-voltaic solar panel than it would produce in its lifetime. And fuels like corn ethanol and biodiesel also have a large environmental impact to produce.

  • I to re-use bubble wrap. I don't think I've ever thrown any out. If I accumulate too much (or shipping peanuts too), I bring it to work where the guy in our shipping department uses it. If everyone did that, we could probably stop making the stuff, and just re-use forever the bubble wrap and packing peanuts that currently exist.

    I don't like brown paper packing material. I find that I don't reuse it, because it makes packages much heavier than bubble wrap does. That means it costs more to ship, and it also means it takes more fuel to ship.

    It's so hard to know what the right thing is to do.

  • I'm SO glad to hear you are considering eco options for shipping. That shift would actually bring me BACK as a customer! I will be listening with great interest. Best to you.

  • Well, the cling wrap we got and tested is pretty darn clingy….granted it's a little thinner than our blue stuff but since it was just a sample I don't know if we can get it thicker. Yes, you're right about the manufacturing process, another factor is transportation. Just the gas used ship the stuff to us is a consideration! Of course, there's only so much that we can actually calculate, and it's often different factors weighing each other out. The most important thing I wanted to get across with this video is that we do care about our impact, and whether we ultimately make the switch or not, we're going to be considering the best of all the alternatives in the decision that we make. I think that's all that you can ask of anyone, business or individuals. 

  • Yes, and we're going to research as much as we can about that. There are just a lot of factors involved with this stuff!

  • 🙂

  • Well, we would be honored to have you back 🙂 At this point we're very much leaning towards moving to eco-stuff, there are a lot of logistics still to work out for a regular supply because it involved us changing suppliers as a whole. 

  • You're absolutely right, Brian. There is only so much anyone can do both in terms of doing what's right and in terms of calculating what's right. I'd think one general rule would be the closer the item's manufacture to you (so long as the distributor isn't out of the way), the better. Of course, we all knowingly violate that rule by getting paper from the Clairefontaine mill as opposed to whatever domestic mills there are. We think it's worth it because Clairefontaine paper is special. That's not a crime. It's a choice, and it's one we all hopefully balance with other choices.

  • Well, even getting the supplies locally isn't really a surefire bet, because you don't know where the raw materials are coming from to make the stuff, even if it is made locally….so it's tough to really try to nail down the perfect solution. But it's all about taking steps. As for Clairefontaine paper, it's true that it does travel a long way, but they are PEFC certified which means they don't use any bleach or acids, they get all of their wood pulp from trees in sustainable forests, and I've read the 'waste' coming from their factory is actually cleaner than the water that enters into it from the river next to the mill…so you can at least feel good about that. Plus there's no US paper I've found as good as it 🙂 

  • I received my package with the green bubble wrap/shrink wrap and had no issues with it. I noticed a few lines of bubbles were popped, but perhaps this was intentional? They were all in-line with each other. Everything arrived intact, though! 🙂

  • I found the new shrink wrap to be extremely clingy. I had a lot of trouble getting it off of the ink bottles/boxes. 🙂

  • Well, that might have been a little dramatic of me, ay? Suffice to say the packaging always influences my online business choices, and so the greener the better in my book. It would make you my one step closer to my perfect retailer. Perfection could only be attained if I could walk to your office to pick up purchases. 🙂

  • This is good stuff for me to know. Obviously, if a lot of people feel this way about eco-packing, then that's a serious benefit to a retailer like myself because not only is the packing good for the environment, it's good for business too. And though technically you could walk to our place to pick up your stuff, I don't think that would be very practical! 😉 

  • That's probably where the bubs were perforated. There are perforations cut every 12" to make tearing it easier, and the bubs that are in that row end up getting popped….obviously, cuz they have holes in them…good to know everything arrived well though!

  • That's good to know! I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact it's a little thinner than our blue wrap.