10 years of Sustainability: Happy Birthday, Green Kids Crafts!
When I started Green Kids Crafts in 2010, I had a vision for how parents and educators could help children use their innate creativity to engage in learning and discovery. The past 10 years have been transformative for our business, our team, and our subscribers. We’ve shipped over 1,500,000 boxes to our community of parents, caregivers, and educators who value nature, the environment, and involving the whole child in the learning process.
Because of the support of our community, we’ve been successful in not only building a sustainable business but furthering our mission of taking action for a cleaner earth. Here are 10 ways we’ve built a green, sustainable business over the last 10 years.
1. Grounding boxes in environmental science
As an environmental scientist and advocate for conservation, sustainability, youth education, and activism, I use my background to give every box deep intention. Our goal is to inspire the next generation while having fun at the same time.
In addition to being CEO of Green Kid Crafts, I’m driving change at a policy level as a thought leader in environmental science. I’m passionate about environmental sustainability, education reform, art and creativity, and encouraging women in the fields of science and technology.
2. Improving the wasteful nature of crafts
When I was a new mom, I valued learning and creativity, but I found that some kid projects could be time consuming and wasteful. I didn’t want to have to run to the store to buy one special thing to complete a project.
Green Kid Crafts boxes are developed by teachers, crafty moms and STEAM experts (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) to support key developmental skills for kids ages 2-10+. We provide all the supplies needed for each box’s 4-8 projects, so there’s no more buying 100 pipe cleaners for a project that only needs 10.
3. Incorporating recycled materials
When I designed our boxes, I made sure they were made from 100% recycled materials. We minimize packaging and printing and use recycled materials. Our kits are bundled in special bags that are made of 100% recycled materials.
4. Creating sustainability-focused box themes
It’s important for kids to understand all the ways that we can live our values. We integrate sustainability into our product themes as much as possible: popular STEAM boxes include Alternative Energy, Climate Change, Save our Oceans, and more.
5. Using shipping materials in crafts
Most crafts use the box, which demonstrates to learners that a craft supply can come from anywhere. In our Green Energy box, the box is used to make a solar oven, Dinosaurs uses the box to make a Dino habitat, and Robot uses the box to make a robot with moving parts.
6. Sharing and the Sibling Box
As the youngest of three kids, I remember the challenge our parents faced mediating sharing everyday, and often that meant buying three of each toy to keep us appeased. That’s why I decided to create a sibling version for all our subscription boxes – each sibling box contains enough materials for two, while keeping shipping and packaging at a minimum.
7. Offsetting carbon dioxide
One of the ways we achieve carbon neutrality is via CarbonFund, an organization leading the fight against climate change. We offset 100% of the carbon dioxide generated through our business, helping Carbon Fund finance climate change education, carbon offsets (like ours!) and public outreach.
8. Giving back to the Planet
Thanks to our partnership with OneTreePlanted, we plant one tree for every box – so for a 12 month subscription, that’s 12 trees! Since the beginning of our partnership, we’ve planted 10,000 trees all around the world. We also wanted to find other ways to give back to the environment. That’s why we donate 1% of sales to environmental organizations through our membership in 1% for the Planet.
9. Creating sustainable growth
Our approach to growing our business is slow and steady. Instead of accepting outside investment, I decided to bootstrap Green Kid Crafts myself. We just transitioned fulfillment centers after reaching 1.5 million boxes sold, and are developing partnerships and affiliate opportunities so we can grow our company while supporting other organizations that share our values.
10. Building a Grassroots team
When we hire here at Green Kid Crafts, we try to find people who share our sustainable values. Karen Borkowski, our Customer Care Champion, was raised in a family that was green by necessity. After her grandparents survived the Great Depression, they made sure to recycle or reuse everything they could. Her approach to frugality took on new meaning after she took an Environmental Science class, where she realized many of the values she’d learned at home were contributing to a healthier planet and more sustainable society.
I’m grateful for everyone on our team and all of our customers for believing in us. Here’s to another decade of green living, sustainable values, and raising the next generation of creative leaders.