For me and my tiny Etsy shop, Green is a state of mind. Even pre-Etsy days I suppose you should say I was shamefully green. Not because of my recycling, but because of my pre-creative and creative processes, where I consciously do as much as I can to reuse everything along the way. This comes pretty easy to me because I am a collector. A junk one. Big time.
I collect and save everything from bits of used fabrics and tissue paper to rusty crap that I find on the street when I walk the dog. Tickets, tags, wrappers, stickers, twine, buttons, string – all of this would go in the trash for a normal person. But for me, it all becomes part of my tackle box. And what I do not re-use goes straight to the recycle bin.
For packaging, I use discarded bedsheets, which I rip into pieces to wrap around the jewelry. I re-use ribbon as much as I can to tie each fabric-wrapped package together, and I hand-stamp my tags to save energy (and a whole lot of moolah). When the time comes to get set for mailing, I use whatever used boxes or bubble mailers I have lying around.
As for business cards, instead of using a pre-made (and very expensive) duplex card stock, I make my own. The top sheet is a leftover French Paper stock that I had used ages ago in college, and the bottom is always recycled — whatever we have lying around the office. Be it sample paper stock, old presentations or just printed emails, it actually gives the card a really cool look. And the card's thickness seems really professional.
The future of Spool hopes to be even more green. I've created hand stamps to promote re-use of packaging products, but these are currently incomplete because of total stubbornness: I have not found the right recycled mount for them yet, which absolutely has to be made of something that is second generation. But I think that found objects could work, too, so we'll see what I come up with. To save an entire sheet of paper per sale, I'm hoping that I am able to get a new system in place soon so that I don't have to print out packing slips. Right now I'm too unorganized!