As we are catching our collective breaths after a hectic holiday season, we are taking this opportunity to evaluate what we could have done better in fulfilling our mission of bringing you great all natural soap and lip balm, with excellent service while creating no carbon footprint. One are we can improve on is reducing the footprint of our shipping process for our internet customers. This year we have used USPS Priority Boxes. You know the ones with the cool slogan, "If it fits, it ships!". This was great for us for a lot of reasons. The boxes cost us nothing so we could stockpile without any expense, we could pay for shipping online and print off the labels at home, and we didn't even have to go to the post office since we could leave the packages in the mailbox for the postal person to pickup. However, there are several downsides to this process. First, the USPS boxes do not indicate that they are made from recycled (post-consumer or otherwise) materials. Secondly, the fact that there are only a few different sized boxes means that we frequently had to use a lot of packing materials for orders that were just slightly too large for the small box. Finally, the envelopes don't have any padding so we couldn't use those since we were concerned about the products arriving safely. For 2011 we are going to mix it up a little. First, we will continue to keep and reuse the packing material that our suppliers use in sending us the ingredients we use to make natural soap and lip balm. We hope this will allow us to not have to buy packing material although it will make for a cluttered garage =-). Secondly, we have found some shipping supplies that go by the name Caremail. Caremail is a line of products made by Duck. Available Caremail products include packing tape, padded envelopes, boxes, packing material and craft paper. We are going to start out using the padded envelopes for select orders. These envelopes are made with 95% recycled content and 55% post-consumer reycled content. Also, these padded envelopes are plastic free. This means none of the bubble wrap or lining which is super cool to play with but really sucks for the environment. Our plan is to use the envelopes for a while and if all goes well, expand our use of Caremail products. If anyone out there has any further suggestions on how we can improve this process further please let us know. Thanks & stay clean!