Wrap Yourself in Eco-Friendly Goodness with our Maker of the Month
By Stephanie Bowen
We are pleased to share the first in a new monthly series where What’s Good will highlight one of our beloved makers. After two years of getting to know so many incredible people who put as much of their hearts and souls into the products they make that we do to get them to you, we wanted to share the inspiration that keeps us going. And What’s Good wants to recognize the creativity, hard work and passion that has brought so many of our trusted products to market. As we head into the festive season, we couldn’t be happier to tell you all about Sara Smith, Founder & CEO of Wrappily, and her eco-friendly wrapping paper.
But let’s start with a few fast facts about wrapping paper. Did you know that every year, 4 million pounds of trash comes from wrapping paper and shopping bags alone? Just during the holidays, you could circle the world nine times with all the wrapping paper that gets thrown away. And even if you put it in the recycle bin, most wrapping paper can’t be recycled because of the dyes, laminates and additives used. It’s enough to make you want to rethink what you put under your Christmas tree. Which is exactly what Sara Smith did when she created Wrappily.
Like What’s Good, Wrappily believes in beautifully wrapped gifts but not at the expense of the environment. Their new take on wrapping paper brings great patterns on 100% recycled, recyclable and compostable newsprint, all using neighborhood printing presses. Their fun and festive paper is also reversible, offering two complementary patterns per sheet. Think pink flamingos and candy canes, birch trunks and reindeer stags, textile-inspired Hanukkah patterns and llamas in scarves. We know you’ll love their offerings as much as we do.
But Sara is about more than a pretty wrapping on the outside. We asked Sara to answer a few questions we were curious about. Her answers inspired us, and we hope they inspire you too.
What’s Good: What started you on your eco-journey? Sarah Smith:Growing up on an island, we live face-to-face with limited resources. Our main landfill is right in the center of the island, I’ve driven by daily my whole life and have watched how it swells. It's so disheartening. We’ve all heard the adage “there is no away” when it comes to throwing out the trash, but on Maui we literally have to haul stuff to the dump and practically put it is the ground ourselves. It’s the worst feeling, and I hate having to contribute to the catastrophe we are creating for future generations. (Sorry—that got pretty heavy, but the guilt* is real!)
*What’s Good works hard not to guilt or should anyone, understanding we are all on our own journeys, and we applaud small and large actions to protect the planet. We also recognize that guilt can be a powerful motivator and are happy that it spurred Sara to create Wrappily.
What’s Good: What does being eco-friendly mean to you? Smith: It means always questioning everything… before you buy something (do I really need this? Is there a better eco alternative?), when you are tossing something (can this item be mended/ reused/ up-cycled/ composted/ or recycled?), when you throw a party (how can I minimize wastefulness?)... it’s work! Luckily, it's become second nature.
What’s Good: What’s your biggest climate change fear/concern? Sarah Smith:I live on an island that is the most isolated land mass in the world… rising seas are a real threat, as is food insecurity due to drought, natural disasters, and supply chain disruptions.
What’s Good: If our readers could only do one green thing, what would it be and why? Sarah Smith:VOTE, all our personal acts alone cannot amount to the massive systemic changes that are influenced and decided by local, state, and national leaders.
What’s Good: What’s the biggest “bad habit” you have as it relates to eco/sustainable lifestyle that is a challenge for you? Sarah Smith:Flying is a big one for me, but to be honest the pandemic has really changed so much. I used to have to do a lot of business travel, but now video calls have become so seamless and preferred. I hope these practices are here to stay, the wastefulness of flying for hours for a 20-minute meeting are not sustainable—no matter what the stakes.
What’s Good: What is your favorite product you sell/make/distribute? Sarah Smith:Our double-sided newsprint wrapping paper, hands down! It’s such a clever concept (I’ll never get sick of telling the story of how—and why—we run pretty patterns on neighborhood newspaper presses!)
Many thanks to Sara Smith and everyone at Wrappily. We hope you accept her invitation and ours to “Gift happily with Wrappily!”
About Stephanie Bowen: After two successful careers —one in broadcast journalism, another as a communications and PR pro working in global health, development and rights — Stephanie is harnessing her love of story and strategic communications for positive impact with the consultancy practice, SHARE: Stories that Buzz. She is a contributor, sounding board, friend, and customer of What's Good.
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