Setting up The Scaff Shop has been an incredible experience. We're only 5 months in, and so much has changed and developed since we first opened the website, let alone when we sold our first scaffold board. We have felt so fortunate to be able to start a project like this and offer a product that people seem really excited about and interested in.
Having that sort of positive impact is great - it means we can make a living selling what we sell, and get a nice sense of fulfillment too. However, it would be wrong to ignore that as with any business, not all impacts are positive. We can't ignore the fact that every sale means a certain amount of packaging, road miles, and of course carbon.
This is further brought home when we consider the type of product we sell - timber. We wouldn't have a business if we couldn't rely on this resource. As we are all now painfully aware, forestation is at the top of the agenda not just for climate scientists and politicians, but more commonly for all of us as individuals, who are now taking more and more of an interest in how our planet is going to survive the current and upcoming climate problems.
The first thing for us to do has been to address the initial and most obvious issues, mainly around our packaging. We currently use as much recyclable packaging as possible, and so favour cardboard over plastic (which, despite being recyclable, is often not recycled by the end user). We package in cardboard boxes and avoid using plastic infill or void fill products. Our packaging tape is also paper based, making it more bio-degradable than plastic equivalents.
We also treat the office like we would our home, which means recycling all plastic bottles and any food or drink packaging where possible.
...moving on to bigger things
We don't want to stop there! One big passion of Jack's in particular has been to plant more wood than we use. We're currently looking in to tree planting schemes so that we can plant trees according to numbers of orders placed. This is a great way of renewing a resource which is so valuable, as well as offsetting the carbon from our other activities.
There's nothing wrong with making products from timber, but it must be renewed for it to be sustainable. In fact, by doing this, an individual or organisation can have a carbon positive impact, as carbon is sequestered in to the wood, which is then turned in to a long lasting product, and the same quantity or more of original timber can then be replanted in it's place.
We're not trying to just jump on the bandwagon
We don't want to just appear to be "virtual-signalling" to our customers. There is nothing worse than a company trying to appear "green" purely to boost sales. For us it is much more important that, instead of trying to shout about how good this or that green policy we have is, we are instead focused on reassuring customers that we are actually genuinely aware of the impact our business has.
If we just bang on about recycling then we're not really doing much more than anyone else is. Customers expect businesses to be doing this at the very least. That's why we want to go that step further and give something back, in this case by planting more timber than we use. We're not doing it to say "look at us", we just know that many of our customers care about the planet and we want to reassure them that we care too.
Watch this space as we update you on our progress with this. And feel free to contact us with any thoughts or ideas on how we can improve even further!