Do you still send snail mail? Or give people cards for special occasions? Despite the digital world we live in, most of us still love to give and receive a physical memento of special occasions, especially when they are beautiful. Wrapping paper is often an art in itself, letters are also making a comeback and to me, there is nothing like a paper diary. Despite living in the online world and working digitally for over 17 years, a paper diary is my bible.
I have always loved stationary, everything about it. The first week of a new school year was a delight to me in primary school as we would get a stack of fresh new books, pencils and rulers, all ready to create things with. My favourite games to play were “offices” and “schools” and I had 2 penpals from overseas, who I loved writing to.
Now, our youngest son Maxwell always has a paper book somewhere he is writing stories and creating worlds within. Heide Hackworth from Earth Greetings, has taken a passion for stationary, art and the planet, and turned it into a business. Earth Greetings creates earth friendly paper goods and gifts in collaboration with a range of Australian artists. They stock a wide range of greeting cards for all occasions, along with wrapping paper, desk stationery, diaries, wall planners and organic cotton tea towels. Sounds like heaven to me!
All Earth Greetings paper goods are produced locally, printed with vegetable based ink, bound with vegan glues and made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. This means paper that has already been used by consumers, so it’s truly recycled. They avoid plastic packaging or don’t use packaging at all, and when they do, it’s made from 100% post-consumer waste which can be recycled.
Open for the past 14 years, Earth Greetings are a carbon neutral business. This means voluntarily subjecting their business and products to an annual emissions and waste audit, to measure their reductions and offset remaining carbon emissions. This is done through a donation to the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridoor. Additionally, Earth Greetings donate a minimum 10% of annual profit to environmental organisations to give back to the planet. Heide describes herself as a “deep greenie”who started a greeting card business in 2003 to break away from the corporate world, and turn her nature photography into a creative business venture.
“I’ve always loved gardening, bushwalking and the outdoors so living in ways that are kind to the planet followed on naturally. In my travels throughout Australia, I’ve completely fallen in love with our quintessential native flora, quirky fauna and wildly contrasting landscapes” says Heide. However when she started she was pretty naive and didn’t realise how difficult it would be to produce products on paper which were not connected to deforestation or a toxic printing process. The challenge to stay authentic to her own values, whilst manufacturing Earth friendly paper products became an inspiration in itself, and rooted sustainability at the heart of the Earth Greetings brand philosophy and practice.
“I loved that I could bring the plight of our environment to someone’s attention simply by giving them the choice to buy a greeting card made from recycled paper without a plastic sleeve. I still love that I can use my brand to convey an important message to the world” explains Heide.
The first 5 years were difficult because even though Heide was producing an environmentally friendly product she was really proud of, retail store owners were yet to comprehend that the market for earth friendly products was about to really take off. Thankfully a handful of early adopter eco stores were incredibly supportive, and many of these stores are still around and continue to be loyal Earth Greetings stockists today.
“It’s been amazing to see the shift in people’s thinking around sustainability grow since I started Earth Greetings 14 years ago. I felt so lonely caring about reducing waste, recycling and going vegan back then, but now sustainability is penetrating the mainstream which is hopeful for the planet. For many people just discovering the extent of the damage done to the forests, oceans and animals, this means making one small change to their habits at a time” says Heide.
For those of us who were early adopters, she suggests offering gentle encouragement and support to others just starting this journey. For example, give re-usable coffee cups and eco bags as gifts to encourage friends and family to use less disposable plastic, or cook a lovely plant based meal for them. “I take them into bulk stores to show them how easy it is to refill your own containers. In demonstrating my own commitment to sustainable living in both my home and business, I hope to inspire others” suggests Heide. She says it is such a delight to hear others tell her about how much they enjoy sending and receiving her cards. “People always comment on the beautiful designs, and I love telling them the stories of the artists we collaborate with”.
Heide’s tips for a more sustainable and mindful home
- Recycling is great, but refilling is better.
- Find your nearest bulk store and take the time to explore all the items you can avoid buying with wasteful packaging in future. You’ll be amazed!
- Every time you run out of a product in a jar or bottle, instead of adding it to your supermarket shopping list – clean it, and take them to a bulk store to refill with the same product.
- Every time you reuse and refill, a new habit is formed and you’ll be leaving a much less wasteful trail behind you.
Like many of us, Hedie has an indoor plant obsession and tending to her ‘babies’ relaxes her. She loves listening to classical music, and has a meditation space which she tries to get to every evening. This is very important when finding balance in your life and trying to create a more sustainable home. Heide is very proud of the stationery collaboration she has recently created with Adelaide based talent Claire Ishino. It’s amazing to see how recycled waste can evolve into something so pretty! I use the desk notes and planner every day” she says.
Her final words of advice: “sustainable living is easy once you’ve gotten accustomed to a change of ritual and adopted new habits. It’s only the change that’s difficult, and it is ongoing, but so rewarding. One step at a time”.
You can find the most beautiful Earth Greetings here