When I started ThruYorDoor Lealfet Delivery a couple of years ago it seemed like an ideal business proposition. A chance to use my business and management skills and at the same time provide a reliable delivery service for my family's independent community magazine. (Something that was sadly lacking in South East Northumberland - a gap in the market if you like). However, that was only part of it. One of the key drivers was the flexibility it would give me to fit work around bringing up my young son.
We had a really successful first year as a company, but I struggled to reconcile running a company which dealt with so much paper and the inherent potential for waste, with my desire - every mother's desire - for a sustainable environment for my family to grow up in.
So what to do? Can a leaflet distribution business really be environmentally friendly?
Well, I believe they can and there's some pretty good examples out there. Look no further than Royal Mail who have strong sustainable mail policies. Some of the bigger leaflet delivery companies have made a bit of an effort too. However, there's also room for smaller distribution firms like ThruYorDoor to show their green credentials.
Here's what I decided to do :
* Waste/Recycling - So my company spends all day every day posting leaflets (or using the vulgur vernacular - 'junk mail') a proportion of which inevitably end up in the bin. However, the good news is that most of this waste can and is recycled. Households are particularly good these days at using their 'green' bins and as such marketing material is generally recycled anyway. However, to help that bit more, at ThruYorDoor we have further strategies to minimise the impact. 1) We encourage our clients to use recycled paper and environmentally friendly inks in the design and production of their leaflets. 2) We display the recycling logo on our website and promotional material and use recycled paper in our operations. 3) Having a six year old son, its pretty easy to re-use the many cardboard leaflet boxes we receive. Recently they've created a rocket, boat, Buckingham Palace and even Stark Enterprises tower! If we can't re-use them we always recycle.
* Vehicle Emissions - As you'll see from our website, we believe in local people delivering on behalf of local companies through local doors. We certainly don't bus gangs of delivery staff in from other areas. That being the case our delivery associates don't have far to travel to work and therefore vehicle milegae and hence emmissions are kept to a minimum. That's only part of it too. We plan our delivery routes carefully so that driving is kept to a minimum and our team undertake their duties exclusively on foot. Again this all minimises the carbon emmissions that we create.
* Sustainable Operations - We aim to minimise the resources we consume in running our day to day business and minimise our energy and water consumption. As mentioned above we recycle any spare materials from our operations.
* Carbon Offsetting - Despite our best efforts, as recognised above, its inevitable that given the industry we are in, that the end to end leaflet delivery process will have some adverse impact on the environment. That's why I decided to work with an environmental partner to plant new trees proportionate to the number of leaflets ThruYorDoor deliver. Its a project I'm really proud of and excited about and one which hopefully demonstrates my commitment that ThruYorDoor should be a sustainable business.
* Community Engagement - Of course true sustainable development is about more than environmental factors. Its also about recognising your responsibilites the local community. I've therefore decided to sponsor a local sports club and am personally involved with supporting other local bodies.
Of course there's more that could be done. Finding the balance between this and growing the business is something I continue to grapple with. Hopefully though it gives a flavour of what can be achieved. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment opposite. For the record - all of the pixels used in this blog are 100% recycled!