Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Gifting season for businesses usually means lots of handwritten notes as expressions of gratitude to employees, fellow colleagues, clients, and suppliers. A lot of thought goes into the words being written on the cards, but how much thought is given to how the cards are being made? A small switch to eco-friendly greeting cards shows your giftee the extra mile taken to communicate your company’s sustainable values, down to the smallest of details.
History of the Greeting Card
The origins of the greeting card can be traced back to the woodblock printing technique of ancient China, as well as the early Egyptians, who conveyed their messages on papyrus. Eventually, with the invention of the printing press and lithographic technology, as well as a rise in literacy, the mass production of greeting cards was facilitated, enabling people to communicate in an elevated way. The first commercially available Christmas card was sold in England in 1843, after Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsely to design Christmas cards to send to his friends. Not long after, this idea became a success, inspiring British and American companies to follow suit and produce millions of cards.
Environmental Impact of the Greeting Card
Today, even in a rapidly advancing digital world, the sentiment of the greeting card remains the same. While the thoughtful ambience of this custom is ingrained across generations, this meaningful expression of affection has a rapid and harmful consequence to our planet. According to Recycled Greeting Cards, 7 billion greeting cards are purchased each year in America, which is equivalent to 140,000 tons of paper and 2.5 million trees cut down each year for these cards. Moreover, although trees are a renewable resource, several forestry practices are not environmentally friendly or sustainable; therefore, it is important to address paper in a way that prevents wasteful use. For example, asking ourselves, “Why is the product needed?” and “Are there alternatives to eliminating the need to purchase this product?” By rethinking how our choices impact the planet, we can learn to utilize methods such as double-sided copying or using recyclable and/or compostable paper to meet our greeting card needs.
One of these developments in the paper industry is the preparation of seed paper, which is handmade paper embedded with seeds that can sprout and germinate when planted. Made from post-consumer and post-industrial paper products, seed paper is a biodegradable solution to prevent paper waste, and restore the earth. Seed paper is an optimal example of being eco-friendly and sustainable in the practice of exchanging greeting cards and gift-giving, on top of inspiring a circular economy. Lovingly created to help in growing more plants, seed paper is a desirable option for sustainability in businesses including the wedding, event planning, administrative, education, and real estate industries, where single-use paper such as wedding invitations, calendars, and thank you cards are used.
There are plenty of creative and sophisticated ways to include plantable seed paper as a green gift into your personal and work life. To help narrow your search, we’ve compiled a list of small Canadian businesses where you can purchase eco-friendly greeting cards:
Based in Montreal, Mélanie Girard-Brisson founded Flowerink in 2017 to create stationery goods and greeting cards that are zero-waste and environmentally friendly. The brand’s stationery products are embedded with wildflower seeds and herbs, making each item plantable and compostable.
A sustainable fashion brand, re was created by Toronto-based designer Lisa Tse to promote the slow fashion movement. re repurposes and upcycles textiles into unique stationery such as postcards and greeting cards.
A greeting card company based in Toronto, Charity Cards partnered with Make a Wish Canada and donates 20% of every greeting card sale to them. Their greeting cards are made from FSC-certified, 100% post-consumer waste paper and manufactured using renewable biogas energy.
First launched in 2004 by Charmaine Carlson, Yellow Bird Paper Greetings is a collection of stationery items inspired by the natural world. Continuing its eco-conscious legacy since 2017, Zoe Chicoine and Rob Wilson represent their passion for nature and the outdoors through an eco-friendly selection of assorted cards, gift tags, postcards, notepads, and gift wrapping paper!
Seeded Memories is a wife and husband team from Ottawa who are on a mission to provide zero-waste gifts through ‘memory gardens’. Handmade by MaryAnn and illustrated by Jose, the duo makes plantable paper and cards embedded with wildflower seeds, turning heartfelt messages from your cards into new life in the garden.
Started in 2014 by Carmen, Thunderloft Paper is an eco-friendly Toronto business offering both stationery and calligraphy services. With its roots going back to Carmen’s childhood and influences from nature, Thunderloft Paper’s illustrations and calligraphy are produced with an eco-conscious thought. Every water-colour painted greeting card and paper is handmade and/or letterpress with sustainable materials.
An eco-friendly corporate gifting company located in Toronto, Good Earth Gifting helps businesses build meaningful relationships with their clients, community partners, and employees by providing a sustainable gifting experience. Good Earth Gifting’s curated gift boxes are packaged with sustainable gift tags and seed cards and include eco-friendly gifts sourced from local Canadian brands that support a greener future. Learn more about their sustainable practices here.
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