Green Tulip in 2017: Our Highlights

by Deborah McCaughan

Green Tulip in 2017

2017 was a great year for us here at Green Tulip and before we throw ourselves fully into 2018 we thought it would be nice to look back at some of the highlights. First up - of course - was the fact we celebrated our 10th Birthday in July! That makes us quite an old lady in website terms, and positively ancient in ethical website terms! So many new websites have started up in the last year as the interest in ethical shopping has grown, and I think we're rightly proud to have been one of the very first. Customers' interest in ethical and sustainable shopping has definitely increased throughout the year. We've seen this in many way - with more mentions on Social Media channels generally, and for us at Green Tulip. We've also seen customers buying a lot more products from us, and have seen a wider range of gifts being chosen (with some customers buying for all the family including the cat!) which is lovely to see and suggests that our customers not only love our products, but like to share their love of them too.

Environmental news stories have been extremely high profile this year. The main ones that spring to mind are worrying reports about the amount of plastics in the oceans, the ban on micro-beads and the fabulous Blue Planet II series highlighted the need for sustainable alternatives to single use plastics and sustainability in general.  We've also seen a huge growth in the zero waste movement - something that is a real focus for me personally - and it's exciting to see how much further this will develop in 2018. The fact that these issues, many of which we've been aware of for years, are making the mainstream media is a real highlight of 2018.

July saw a trial of plastic-free living for one of our team members, Kate, and her family. You can see how they faired in this great blog post she wrote - Plastic Free July- The Roundup. I'm pleased to say cutting out the top four plastic polluters was easier than she had expected and remains a goal for her into 2018.

Plastic Free July

As an online business we've always been very conscious of the way we package our orders and have always used only second hand/reused or biodegradable packaging. This has included reusing products like plastic air bags and bubble wrap that we receive in our incoming deliveries. However in 2017 we saw a real shift in how our customers would like their orders packaged, and found that many customers would prefer not to have any plastic at all in their delivery. In response we have added an option at checkout so that our customers can choose to receive their orders with no plastic packaging. We ask at checkout: "The majority of our orders are packed in reused materials - boxes and packaging received from our suppliers and friends/family/employees! This can include plastic bubble wrap, air bags and loose fill, as well as paper and card. If you would prefer for us to use NO plastic packaging (even if it is recycled) when packing your order then please check this box". So far we're probably finding about 50% of our buyers are asking for no plastic packaging, but those that don't check the box now know that what they are receiving is reused or donated. A win win for everyone!

So all in all 2017 has been a great year for Green Tulip, and the wider world of fair and sustainable living.  We're very much looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that 2018 will bring and will be sharing some of our predictions and news for 2018 soon. Happy New Year from all of us!

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