Green Company Spotlight | Paper Culture

During wedding planning, as I tackle each item on the (neverending) list, I begin by asking myself, "How can I make this eco-friendly?"

Truth bomb: In general, this usually makes things more complicated. Instead of just picking the first option you find, you spend time researching different companies, weigh their sustainability and product claims, and then make a decision.

When it came time to our save the date cards and invitations, this choice wasn't so complicated. As I was trying out one online vendor, I noticed that the option for printing on recycled paper was an additional cost. So I moved on and looked for other, less expensive options.

In this search, I discovered Paper Culture, a California-based company that uses 100% recycled paper in all of their stationery products. Recycled paper is not an upgrade-able option; it's the default stock. In addition, they offer a variety of customizable eco-friendly gifts, and they plant a tree for every order made.

I shall repeat: They plant a tree for every order made. How amazing is this!?

So I started with the Save the Dates. I spent many days perusing the options and playing around with the customization of about 10 different designs. You can tinker with your design, then save it for later.

The customization options may not be as robust as other services - you can't change fonts or the overall layout - but you can request free designer assistance, where you can request different colors or sizes. The designer response is pretty timely.

After I was happy with about 5 different Save the Date options, I reviewed them with my fiance and we both ended up choosing this adorable wood-grain photo style card. Very, very us.

The order process is simple - move the item to your cart, double check your quantities, then check out. All orders over $125 receive free shipping - and you still receive your order very quickly. When I ordered our Save the Date cards, they arrived in THREE DAYS.

Now that my order was in, I noticed the packaging right away. It's efficient and sized right, although it does use plastic air packs to keep the paper from getting banged up. You can read printed statistics on the benefits of trees, and I am just now realizing the box is designed to be reversible so you can use it again for gift-giving! Plus, the ink is water-based.

After our Save the Dates went out, it was time to look for invitations. The invitation design selection is much smaller (31 design options compared to 82 save the date options), but I discovered another wonderful feature of Paper Culture - the design-it-yourself option.

Armed with Photoshop and available sizes from Paper Culture, I designed our invitations and RSVP cards on my own and uploaded the entire design to the website. I enjoyed free shipping once again, and they arrived in four days.

All cards automatically come with envelopes, and I ordered matching address labels to go with each. (And I plan to order a large set with my future last name to go with thank you cards and general mail!) For many of the wedding designs the company offers, you can order your entire suite of stationery to coordinate.

In addition to wedding stationery, there are thank-you notes, holiday cards, party and other event invitations, birth and graduation announcements. But I mean, if you have a design program, you have the freedom of designing literally any card you want and having it printed on 100% recycled paper and getting a tree planted for it.

Although I went for a simpler look to both of my pieces with flat printing, Paper Culture does offer foil printing on some of their designs, allowing you to have an extra glamorous touch. The pieces themselves are printed on thick stock paper, giving each a nice, substantial feeling in your hand. If you want them even thicker, you can upgrade to double-thick or triple-thick paper.

Image from Paper Culture

Paper Culture is a California-certified Green Business, Small Business Award winner, and a member of Carbon Fund.

As a paper company, we have an even greater responsibility to promote sustainability. From day one, our pledge has been that no new trees will be cut down for our customer's cards because we use exclusively 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Furthermore, we will plant a tree with as a part of every order. As a company, we do our best to operate with the smallest environmental footprint we can, from the recycled paper in our printers, to the CFL light bulbs in our office, to the non-toxic cleaning products in our kitchen. What we can't eliminate, we offset as a CarbonFree® partner of

What I love about Paper Culture (and some of my other favorite green brands) is that the products don't necessarily scream ECO-FRIENDLY. The cards aren't made from elephant poop (although that paper does exist, no it doesn't stink, and yes it is pretty cool), and the envelopes aren't made of kraft paper. They have a streamlined, classic look while still using alternative materials.

I love that I can check wedding stationery off the list as being eco-friendly. Plus, those two trees I've planted through my orders will provide many benefits to people for years to come. :)

Working ahead for this year's Christmas cards? Get 20% off your holiday purchase through September 26!

Disclaimer: I received a discount on my wedding invitations in exchange for this post, but all opinions are mine and the praise is genuine!

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