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Recent ATG letters on packaging.

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1. Eco-packaging

I have a few green packaging tips we’ve been using at our business, Worboys Antiques, which we find are no more expensive than non-eco alternatives.

• Use green bubble-style wrap. This is biodegradable, just like the outer bag on UK print copies of ATG. We don’t use packing tape on the bubble, so that it can be reused, and biodegradable pallet cling wrap is now available.

• When posting, a good filler inside boxes is stiff recycled brown paper, available in large rolls of different widths. Alternatives include green filler chips.

• When you are transporting goods to customers or from an auction, look for greener carriers. DPD, for example, makes carbon offsets (which is where carbon emissions may be counterbalanced by, for example, planting trees).

2. Greener businesses

Which brings me to the bigger picture. We may sell a green product, but as businesses we need to be green through to the core. This will give our customers additional ethical comfort when buying from us and is something more and more people will be looking for when choosing which companies to do business with.

Here are other steps we use to help reduce our carbon footprint as a business. Making the switch is minimal effort and very worthwhile.

• Use a green energy supplier. There are plenty to choose from. We have always used Ecotricity but recently signed up to Bulb whose rates we found to be attractive.

• If you are changing your vehicle try to select an eco model. I now drive a hybrid car and am looking to upgrade our van to a Euro 6 model (Euro 6 is the latest EU directive on reducing harmful pollutants produced by new vehicles, setting standards for these exhaust emissions).

Once you’ve done that then make sure you tell your customers and potential customers what your business does to be green. Update your website, put it in your newsletter, make a display in your premises and so on.

3. What’s next

Nearly 10 years ago I started the website antiquesaregreen.org, which among other things undertook a survey demonstrating that an antique chest of drawers had a much lower carbon footprint than its modern equivalent, which generates a carbon footprint up to 16 times greater.

In hindsight this project may have been a bit premature at the time, but it now feels very relevant.

I plan to relaunch the site with kind help from our newly appointed software provider Antiquity and, as well as promoting the green credentials of antiques, provide an information resource platform for the trade to become more sustainable.

I am a full-time dealer and so for this project, I need help from other antiques businesses – be they dealers, auction houses, suppliers – with any relevant articles, promotion ideas, green products and ideas, sponsoring or voluntary assistance. Please contact me on nigel@antiquesaregreen.org - all contributions gratefully received.

Nigel Worboys

Worboys Antiques, Beaconsfield; Antiques are Green