I've been thinking a lot about sustainability for the NovelTea Book Club this year.

For this little business, sustainability means two different things:

  • business sustainability: financially, and in terms of my time and energy, I want this business to last!

  • environmental: minimising my impact on the environment is super important to me, and it's a value I hold for the NovelTea Book Club too.

It's not always straight forward, and sustainability will always be an ongoing project here at NovelTea HQ.

Sometimes, these two areas conflict - improving my environmental sustainability might cost time or money, and I need to work through the balance of it all. But while the NovelTea Book Club is in no way perfect, I wanted to let you know about a few of the things we've implemented or are working to implement, particularly in the area of environmental sustainability.

Top of the list: have you had a look at the Minimalist parcel option? Purchasing a secondhand book is a great way of reducing environmental impact.

Packaging: I've received so much feedback over the past two years about how much subscribers enjoy receiving and opening hand-wrapped parcel items. Packaging is part of the fun of being a NovelTea Book Club subscriber - who doesn’t love receiving a gift in the mail every month?! However, it all adds up.

I'm working on a couple of ways to reduce the impact of the parcel packaging, without reducing the joy of unwrapping.

1. Where possible, I am now wrapping several items together. This does vary month to month, but every little bit counts

2. I've switched to using paper from The Wrapping Paper Company, which is 100% sustainably sourced and 100% recyclable.

3. I use high quality gold ribbon on each book, in the hopes that you may be able to reuse it (giving nicely wrapped gifts can be just as fun as receiving them!)

4. We’ve used ‘eco-friendly’ cardboard envelopes since we launched in 2017, which means no single-use plastic in our outer packaging.

Suppliers: Certainly still an ‘in progress’, but I have enjoyed working with suppliers to find ways to reduce our environmental impact, whether it’s reducing the packaging they send me, or finding a more sustainable option. I am also trying to source items for parcels locally, to avoid double shipping. This is one of the many reasons I am excited to be sourcing tea from The Art of Tea - their warehouse is just down the road from my house!

I have a few other sustainable ideas in the works, but I am definitely open to suggestions. Please do feel free to email me if you have any comments or ideas!