It’s Plastic Free July. If you’re not sure what all that is about I’ll pop a link a the bottom of this blog. In a nutshell it’s an initiative launched by the Plastic Free Foundation in 2011 to challenge people to give up single use plastic for July. And hopefully, form some longer term habits in the process. That’s all well and good, I hear you say, but what has that got to do with my wedding? Well, I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight where there is often hidden plastic in your stationery and give some tips on how to have plastic free wedding invites.
Definitely don’t choose acrylic or perspex if you want plastic free wedding invites
There is a huge trend right now for using acrylic and perspex to make wedding invitations, wedding signage, table plans, and place cards. Newsflash – it’s all plastic. Acrylic is produced using virgin fossil fuels, it doesn’t have any recycled content and it’s not recyclable afterwards. It’s essentially single use, and so after the wedding, it will sit in landfill for hundreds if not thousands of years. For these very reasons, I have never (and never will) offer acrylic or perspex invitations or stationery.
If you love that translucent look but would prefer more eco friendly plastic free wedding invites then a beautiful print onto heavyweight vellum could be your answer.
Avoid glitter for plastic free wedding invites and stationery
What is glitter? Well, it’s essentially thousands and thousands of tiny pieces of shiny plastic. When you find it on wedding invitations it is often in form of glitter card or paper, where all those tiny bits of plastic have been glued onto a card backing. Once card or paper has had glitter applied to it it can not be recycled and must be disposed of in landfill. While the backing might decompose the micro plastic particles of the glitter won’t. They’ll find their way into our waterways and eventually our oceans where they will become lunch for any number of marine life.
While I have used it in the past, I have pledged that once my current orders are fulfilled I will no longer offer glitter in my designs. Instead opting for more eco friendly and recyclable wedding invites and stationery.
Did you know that many ribbons are actually made of plastic?
I’ve used ribbons in my wedding stationery for years, one of my favourites is double sided satin. But, guess what, most satin ribbons are made from polyester which is….. plastic. While polyester can in theory be recycled, it’s unlikely that all the little bits of ribbon used on wedding invites and stationery would be. I like to think that at least some of them have been reused in gift wrapping or similar. I should also mention here that many of the ribbons I have used over the years are supplied on a plastic spool. While I have recycled many of these I’m sure some will have ended up in landfill.
There are a few options now emerging for satin ribbon made from recycled plastic bottles, and while this is great it’s still not easily recyclable or biodegradable. For embellishing plastic free wedding invites choose ribbons in natural fabrics like silk or cotton. Jute twine or paper raffia also come in a wide range of colours for a more rustic look.
Steer clear of embellishments and the associated adhesives
Creating handmade wedding invitations and stationery involves an awful lot of ‘cutting and sticking’ in the process. Much of that sticking will involve plastic in one way or another. To attach embellishments like diamante clusters a hot melt glue would be used. What’s that made from? Plastic. Double sided tape also has a starring role and more often than not that will be on a plastic backing and reel.
A plastic free wedding invite can be achieved by avoiding embellishments that need to be glued and fixing layers of card or paper together by other means such as clips, metal fasteners or twine. All of which can be easily removed before recycling – and hopefully reused too.
What to look out for if you want plastic free wedding invites:
- Steer clear of those that are actually made of plastic (i.e. acrylic and perspex)
- Avoid glitter (it’s actually thousands of tiny bits of plastic
- Choose plastic free and natural ribbons like cotton or twine
- Opt for stylish but reusable embellishments that are themselves plastic free and also don’t need a plastic based adhesive to attach them.
I really enjoy designing plastic free wedding invites and eco friendly wedding stationery. Using recycled and recyclable materials and reducing waste is a great way to help make your wedding a little more sustainable. I hope I’ve inspired you to think carefully about what your wedding invites are made from and to consider some plastic free alternatives.
If you’d like some inspiration for recycled wedding invites and stationery go have a browse through my designs here.
If you’d like to chat more about how I can work with you to design your very own suite of plastic free wedding invites and stationery get in touch, I’d love to meet you.
I have also designed a capsule stationery collection for my sister company Green Manatee, it’s completely plastic free and made from 100% recycled or tree-free plantable seed paper. There’s a whole range of coordinating, sustainable and eco-friendly favours and gifts too. Go check it out.
Want to find out more about Plastic Free July and how you can get involved? Go have a look at their website here.