Going Green: Is the Scrapbooking Industry There Yet?

Today’s Scrapbook Update guest blogger is Vicki Flinchum.

Known to many in the scrapbook community as Texas ScrapAddict, Vicki is an experienced designer and instructor. She currently designs for Zutter Innovative Products, Purple Cows, E.A.D. Designs, Heart of Texas Studios, Texana Designs and My Town Papers. You can learn more about her at her Etsy Store or her blog.

Green products, green living, green consuming: the emphasis in 2009 has been to reduce, reuse and recycle. We see it in advertising. Our children are taught it in school. With the downturn in the world economy, conspicuous consumption has been on the decline, and “going green” is in vogue.

It is no secret that the scrapbooking industry consumes large amounts of paper products. Has the industry begun the transition to reducing this consumption and rely more on recycled and natural materials? Yes, it has. There are numerous companies who offer products made from recycled or natural materials, print with soy based inks and package their products in recycled or eco friendly packaging. Some of these include: K & Company, JilliBean Soup, Die Cuts With a View, Paper Trunk, Piggy Tales, Prima Marketing Inc, Pink Paisley and Colorbok. This list, of course, is not all inclusive and should not be construed as such.

Will the trend continue? Only time will tell. Can the industry do more? Yes, a lot more. The majority of manufacturers still print with fresh paper and synthetic inks. Product packaging still utilizes lots of acetate and plastic. More manufacturers need to join the ranks of the eco friendly and rely more on recycled and all natural materials, print with soy based inks and package their products in recycled or eco friendly packaging. Since the industry seems bent on introducing multiple new lines and products several times a year, perhaps it should consider making these lines more compatible with existing products they have already produced (allowing consumers to use up older products, but still incorporate new). Or, if the industry is not willing to abandon the idea of planned obsolescence, then perhaps it could offer incentive plans to those who “trade in” their outdated product for new.

But let’s remember, a lot of what the industry does remains in the hands of consumers. If the industry sees sales of eco friendly products increase and other products decline and if it sees public concern high for going green, it will spend the money for changing manufacturing processes, sourcing new materials, recycling and maybe even incorporating ideas like those mentioned above. If not, it won’t. After all, investing in change requires a return on that investment.

So,we, the consumers share the burden too. What can we, as consumers, do? Seek out manufacturers that offer green products and buy those products. Use up our product stash before we buy new. Recycle our own scraps, make our own paper and embellishments. Want more ideas? Then go to the internet and look up green crafting or scrapbooking. You will be surprised at the amount of information out there.

So, we’re going green. Is the scrapbooking industry there yet? No, not really, but it is trying. Are we as consumers there yet? No, not really either. But we are trying and we need to keep trying. Our voices are heard with the money we spend. Investigate, reward those who are trying with your purchases and do your part. Together, we can all make a difference.

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