Yes, a lot of my business is about upcycling, recycling and reuse. A postage stamp used to send mail in 1919 is used again to make stamp art in 2019. A set of cigarette cards collected in 1932 is now used to inspire a craft project. Postcards sent in 1924 are now part of a vintage styling project on Instagram. A precious stamp collection featuring elephants once boxed up in a dusty attic somewhere has now been passed on for someone else to enjoy. Even more wonderful, I hear from some of my customers that they are reusing the packaging I send for their own projects or postage, whether that be the envelope, the glassines or the stickers, cards and stamps I use to make sure my outgoing mail makes someone smile as it lands on the doormat or in the mailbox.
But my business does have an impact on the environment. I use a lot of paper, envelopes, ink, glue and printed products like washi tape and stickers. Whilst I try to buy sensibly (e.g recycled paper), reuse what I can, and where possible, keep parts of my business electronic, I do rely on physical products to do my job. I also use plastic based products such as cellophane wraps and stamp album mounts. Obviously, my office uses electricity and my waste basket is emptied daily, being full of airmail and customs label backs, empty pen cartridges, washi roll ends, stamp gutters etc.
So in a philatelic world where I hope to make a positive impact, I wanted to share a few things I do which I hope inspires you to also give back and do good. Comments and ideas more than welcome!
Giving to charities
My Give10 campaign is now in its 4th year! For every Etsy order over £10, I place 10 stamps into my charity donation box. At the end of each year, I select two charities and run a poll across social media @artstamped for my followers to vote on which charity should receive the most stamps! Last year I committed to donating an extra 1,000 stamps to each charity if more than 100 people voted. And more than 100 people got involved to support these causes - how awesome is that?! I also share details of how others can donate their used stamps to charity. At Christmas, when we receive lots of stamps (and use lots of paper), its a great time to remind people of these stamp appeals and to raise awareness about some immensely worthwhile causes. At the end of 2018, I donated my biggest ever charity stamp collection to Macmillan Cancer Support and Kicks Count.
Buying from charities
I buy a LOT of stamps. When the opportunity arises, even if it costs me a little bit more, I buy stamps from charity auctions and from dealers where a % of funds are allocated to a charity of their choice. A lot of charities sell direct on platforms like eBay. Others use agents but either way, buying stamps can support some fantastic projects and causes. Here in the UK, it's rare to find stamps in a high street charity shop as most centralise how they handle stamps and other collectables but when I'm overseas, I love to go stamp hunting in charity shops. Stamp hunts are so much better in real life than online!
Supporting Stamp Active
When they are at stamp shows around the UK including Stampex International, I also buy stamps from Stamp Active, a charity of which I am a Dealer Patron. This is a great way to support a charity which is all about getting more young people into philately. They have some fantastic resources available including starter packs, games and activities, competitions and information for schools.
Carbon offsetting with Etsy
A lot of my business is done through Etsy - either from direct shop sales or custom order requests. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Etsy is now carbon offsetting all of my shipping! Etsy is the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping. It makes me proud to be an Etsy seller knowing that all of those postal miles my orders travel are now being offset. You can learn more about why this initiative is important here:
I hope to keep adding to how I give back and do good as Art Stamped grows. For now though, it's off to the recycling bin to throw away all of the paper scraps I can't think how to use... or can I?...
Happy stamping x