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Sustainability Series: Plastic Free July

9 July 2020

The Plastic Free July initiative offers us all an opportunity to become more mindful of our plastic consumption and make positive environmental changes to both our work and home lives. Find out how we're doing and where we're aiming to be...

A global environmental campaign that raises awareness and helps individuals and businesses alike to forge long-lasting habits to reduce single-use plastics, Plastic Free July is an initiative well worth getting involved in. Offering support to schools, local communities and workplaces to name but a few, the Plastic Free July movement works towards creating a world free of plastic waste. 

The campaign has got us feeling reflective about our own sustainable efforts as a business; our accomplishments, sustainability-focused processes and also the areas in which we feel we can improve further. Here's a round up of what we've been busy working towards and where we hope to be in the very near future...

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An order ready for dispatch carefully wrapped and packed by hand in our sustainably sourced, plastic free packaging. 

Tom Raffield lookbooks packaged in recycled envelopes ahead of being packed into orders.
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Handcrafted, hand packed and hand delivered. We make decisions based on what's best for people and the planet.

"Plastic Free July isn't just about buying a reusable cup or bag, it's about giving people the tools to change their habits, to pause and think how we as individuals can make an impact for the better and reduce our reliance on plastic"

- Erin Rhoads, Author - 'Waste Not'.
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We strive to source materials and services from the closest possible suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint and support the local economy.

Packaging and Products

Sustainability has always been at the core of our business and hence, we are proud that our product range and own packaging is plastic free - and has been since our inception.

- As we handcraft our product ranges from steam bent wood, we have no use for plastics in any of our products. We opt for durable metal finishes, leather straps and ceramic designs to compliment our pieces.

- All of our packaging is designed in-house which ensures that each and every box we dispatch is considered, secure and traceable back to its source.

- We use sustainable cardboard, recycled paper tags and envelopes, string, brown tape and the literature sent with products is packed in recycled envelopes.

For a number of our more fragile-to-ship products (such as mirrors) we use bespoke-made packaging by local Cornish company, Flexi-hex – all of which is widely recyclable and compostable.

- Tom Raffield are proudly part of a pack share initiative which focuses on reusing packaging materials and sharing surplus stocks to ensure nothing goes to waste.

- We are currently in conversation with the large retailers we work with to find a way to avoid wrapping our pallet deliveries in the plastic shrink wrapping they require in their warehouses.

We feel strongly that all businesses, big or small, should be doing their part to stop using unnecessary plastic where possible and will continue to have the difficult conversations required to pioneer a new way of thinking and working that's best for the planet.

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We’re committed to using sustainably sourced timber from responsibly managed forests, weighing up credentials, carbon footprints and woodland techniques to inform what we buy and where.

Our Design Studios and Workshop

Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Cornish landscape we feel passionate about our location and preserving the environment that inspires us.

- We have a plastic water bottle ban and any food packaging, plastic or not, brought in by our team is recycled into bins, reused or re-purposed. This spring there was a spell of plastic trays being taken home for germinating fruit seeds - we love nifty ways to re-use things (there’s currently a window full of jam jars in our office filled with shooting avocado stones!)

- As a team of foodies, most of our workforce bring a homemade lunch to work every day in re-usable containers, which helps to reduce our overall waste’s the small lifestyle changes that make a big difference in the long run.

- Our weekly kitchen food shop is as considered as can be, wherever possible we purchase glass jar condiments and choose fresh unwrapped fruit for break time. 

- Instead of buying milk in plastic bottles, we have a milk delivery twice a week to ensure we support local business and cut down on single use plastic cartons. 

- We're trying our best to become a paper-less workplace, but purchase recycled paper where not possible.

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With the smallest ecological footprint possible, we forge a path to excellence, crafting the heirlooms of the future whilst protecting the natural world that surrounds us.

Where we'd like to be...

  • In an ideal world we'd love to become a completely plastic-free workplace, we're working hard towards this goal and will update on our progress.
  • We aim to start using refillable cartridge pens and other non-plastic stationary options to keep our office supplies topped up sustainably. 
  • Although we request all our deliveries on site to be sent to us with minimal packaging, sometimes it is unfortunately unavoidable. We’d like to partner exclusively with businesses that operate with a plastic-free ethos.
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    We opt to use wooden jigs to form our products as opposed to plastic moulds.
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    We use durable materials throughout our workshops (such as wood and metal) to create bespoke tooling options.

    Posted: 09.07.20
    Updated: 21.04.23

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