Shop Updates – Noodler’s Plastic Bottles + Packaging Changes

There are a few shop updates to share with you folks! News from Noodler’s, as well as some changes to our current packaging process for online orders.

The first is that Noodler’s is changing their bottles from glass to plastic temporarily. While stock is running down from the distributor, and our own stock as well, you may get plastic bottles on the Noodler’s ink you order. There is going to be a bit more ink that fits in these plastic bottles, around 3-5%, so you’ll have more ink to play with! Eventually glass bottles will come back, but there’s no timeline on that for now.

Nathan Tardif, the manufacturer and wizard of Noodler’s inks, explains a bit of what’s going on – the glass bottles he uses are no longer being produced and there are some price increases on other options – and what may happen over the next few months. I must admit, I love watching some of his videos. You really feel like you could be in some secret laboratory somewhere underground with him… 🙂

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6L0lL-VzSE&w=560&h=315]

The second is that we’re going to start trying a few changes to our packing operations, mainly that we’re trying to see if we can reduce how much plastic we’re using. I want to emphasize that it’s not that we’re anti-plastic, it’s that we’re trying to be a bit more anti-excessive-plastic.

I know this sounds cheesy, but the three Rs are reduce, reuse and recycle, and we’re trying to do all three around here. A lot of the packaging you currently see is probably re-used from what our vendors send us, which is why you sometimes get different newspapers in different languages, different sized bubble wrap, and mis-matched styrofoam peanuts.

As a small business that does a lot of shipping out, we also take a lot of notice when we order things and they arrive to us. How much packaging did they use, and how much of an effect has had it had on making sure what we ordered came undamaged? And actually, a lot of the time, plastic isn’t as necessary as we think it could be.

We noticed a lot of big companies and small businesses get their stuff to us in great shape, and without needing to wrap and rewrap their items. For example, Field Notes sends their three packs out in a flat cardboard rigid mailer – no bubble wrap, no excessive plastic – and their memo books arrive safely and soundly. Up to now, we’ve been wrapping these memo books in bubble wrap, and then putting them in a bubble mailer – a bit too much?? We’re doing the same double bubble wrapping with flat Midori notebooks, and even the leather covers, which come in their own packaging involving plastic, cardboard and linen already.

Of course our number one priority is to make sure everything arrives to you safely, but we don’t want to go overboard. Items inside boxes that are surrounded by crumpled paper padding or styrofoam peanuts don’t really benefit from being wrapped in plastic, since the item is securely surrounded by crumpled paper in any case.

It costs us a lot when items break in transit – twice the cost of the damaged item, the cost of all the other items in the package that might be damaged which can get crazy when it’s a bottle of ink that’s broken, twice the shipping costs, twice the packaging materials, twice the time to put it all together, along with customers who are disappointed that they’ll now have to wait even longer to get their new order – so I mean it when I say we are really motivated to make sure you get your stuff in good condition. But we’re also pretty motivated to make sure that we’re not contributing any more plastic garbage than we need to.

This isn’t to say that we’re stripping it down and sending you a glass bottle of ink in a paper bag. We are definitely going to continue plastic wrapping and using bubble wrap on glass ink bottles, and making sure there’s a good and safe buffer of padding around breakable items. We do not want you to be receiving a pad of paper or a pen box that has a crunched corner, but it does mean we’re going to rethink about how much plastic we need to be using.

Our goal is to ensure your package is arriving to you quickly and safely, with just the right amount of packaging. So if you order from us online regularly, you may see some changes, and let us know what you think!

And in case you needed any motivation to see if you can use a bit less plastic in your own personal life, here’s an article on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from National Geographic, which is actually several floating patches of non biodegradable plastic garbage over our oceans, which scientists are saying is only a fraction of the garbage as most of the denser stuff is sitting at the bottom of the ocean floor:

Garbage Patch

And lest I sound too doom and gloom, I want to remind you that our Back to School giveaway is still open! Closes tonight and winner is announced tomorrow – good luck 🙂

9 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Re: packaging… I have, on occasion, ordered ink that is shipped from Japan, and it has invariably arrived perfectly intact with just a bit of crumpled paper in the outer box to pad the little carton containing the bottle of ink. Just an observation! Although to be honest, it does seem a little risky not to have any bubble wrap in there.

    • Yes! The Japanese seem to be excellent shippers – we get a lot of products from Japan, and I’m always amazed at how perfectly each of the boxes are packed…
      Haha! We’re still going to use bubble wrap around bottles of ink and delicate or breakable items, but I think we’re going to try to be a bit more discerning than we have been up to now! 🙂

  2. This is going to be a kind of weird offer, but I’ve amassed a ton of wrapping materials (like two or three large boxes of bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, the kraft paper that comes with every amazon.ca order and I make a ton of amazon.ca orders…); I’d be happy to give you all of it, if it would be of use to you. I have a bit of hoarding tendencies, so I always think I’ll use it in the future, but it’s just taking up space in my home right now.

    Send me a tweet or something if you’re interested!

    • We would LOVE it! Actually, we have welcomed styrofoam peanuts from all over, and I think it’s pretty great that these totally re-usable items are …getting re-used. The more we can share and re-use our resources, the better!! 🙂 Thanks so much for the offer, and we’ll totally take you up on it if it’s not too inconvenient for you!

  3. I also feel that bubble wrap is not that effective – rigid cardboard is way better. Plastic just inflates the volume and you pay dearly for it at Canada Post! I think experienced customers would understand.

    • I’m so glad you think so! I think sometimes it seems like “more is better,” but we’re hoping that we’ll find a good balance 🙂

  4. mickeyobe

    I collect antique/old cameras.
    I have a computer therefore I use/waste much more paper than I used to BC (Before Computers).
    I have a paper shredder.
    I am cheap.
    After being fed, the shredder evacuates a marvelous packaging material which has already been paid for and used at least once.
    I have never had a fragile camera damaged when packed in the centre of a plush bed of shredded paper.
    BONUS. The paper does not generate that annoying static electricity that plastic peanuts do. When you let go of it it lets go of you.
    Mickey

    • That’s great! Yes, I can imagine paper shredding would be really terrific packing material. Styrofoam peanuts are horrible for static, every time we unpack a Noodler’s order, which is general several boxes of inks and pens packed in peanuts, the whole shop seems covered in peanuts clinging to the walls and the shelves….and by the time we recover, it’s time for another Noodler’s 🙂 However, styrofoam is not the most biodegradable stuff, so I’m glad we have a reason to reuse it… 🙂

  5. Cathy

    Nothing cheesy at all about the three Rs. The world (and the ocean) would be a better place if everyone put more thought into this. Thanks for working on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *