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Paperless Catalog Conserves Resources and Lowers Prices

Jan 13, 2013

Paperless Catalog Conserves Resources and Lowers Prices

Don't expect a catalog in your mailbox from Flowers by the Sea, because we have never printed one and refuse to do so. In fact, we think print catalogs are tree-munching dinosaurs on their way to extinction due to the rapidly changing world of digital technology. Online catalogs with constantly updated information are becoming common and are easy to view not only on computers but also on computer pads and smartphones.

At FBTS, we want to be as environmentally friendly, approachable, informative and affordable as possible. We want to save the world and save you money. That's why our website is our catalog. Publishing online isn't just environmentally friendly, it's smart.

Check out our Pixels not Print graphic explanation here.

Saving Dollars, Saving Resources
Catalogs cost a lot to print and deliver. Plus, by the time you have printed them, they are already out of date. We think it makes no sense to print buzillion copies of a catalog that almost immediately becomes a dinosaur dying in the swamps of garbage cans where many recipients toss them.

We're betting that you're looking for pretty bushes at good prices instead of pretty catalogs. By avoiding printing and mailing, we save you 20 percent or more on plant prices. We want our colorful, fragrant, hardy sages to find their way to as many gardeners’ yards as possible and to do as much good as possible.

By only publishing online, we also can conserve natural resources and minimize negative impacts we might otherwise create for wildlife habitat in forests and streams. By making a wide variety of nectar-rich Salvias available at prices lower than our catalog-printing competition, we help you to create wildlife habitat in your yards for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Increased habitat for these pollinators benefits all of us by making home and commercial agriculture more productive.

Aside from being ecologically and economically sound, we think that a paperless catalog is beautiful because it doesn’t wilt. The digital medium and our daily upkeep make it vigorous. We update it frequently with useful blog articles and information about changes in plant offerings.

Speeding and Spreading Communication
Another beauty of an online catalog is the way that it speeds communication between customer and retailer and between friends. For example, our catalog is designed so that each plant description page contains tabs to click on if you want to send us a question or share with a friend.

However, if you want to share a print catalog with a friend, it may become furry with dust and far out of date before you can pass it on.

Whereas a single copy of a digital catalog can reach countless readers, each copy of a print catalog arrives in a single mailbox. Its readership is limited although you may share the catalog by leaving it on the table in the staff lounge or in a doctor’s office.

Considering Wildlife Habitat
FBTS customers can afford more of our wildlife-friendly plants if we keep our costs and prices down. That means more habitat is created for the pollinators that are attracted to Salvias.

Like us, you may be aware that clear-cutting of forest still exists and can be difficult for wildlife even if the land is replanted. Naturally occurring forests generally offer greater biodiversity of plant species, which supports a wider range of animals than are attracted to reseeded forests and tree plantations. Although we find reforestation commendable, we don’t want to contribute to its necessity.

Preserving Natural Resources
Don’t get us wrong: We aren’t opposed to the printed word. In fact, we recently renovated one whole room in our house to create a library for all the books we have read and loved. But printed catalogs don’t provide the same enduring value.

We don’t want to cut down trees to get the word out about Flowers by the Sea. In America alone, 19 billion printed catalogs are produced annually. The National Wildlife Federation says that this consumes 53 million trees and energy sufficient to power 1.2 million homes a year.

The NWF reports that in creating all the paper for these catalogs, wood pulping factories create 5.2 million tons of auto emissions and discharge 53 billion gallons of wastewater.

According to a 2009 article in The Wall Street Journal, by 2007 the amount of paper used for printing catalogs far exceeded the quantity used in publishing books and magazines. The article further noted that most catalogs require a glossy look that can’t be achieved with recycled paper.

FBTS doesn’t want to set its shoes in these gigantic carbon and water footprints.

Clearing Your Mailbox and Conscience
If you want to limit the amount of catalogs and advertising mail that comes to your mailbox, the NWF suggests signing up online for Catalog Choice. This free online service helps you to opt out of mailings from a wide variety of retailers and other organizations.

Another way to opt out of catalog waste is to frequent digital website catalogs, such as ours, that offer secure transactions.

Aside from being environmentally considerate, we think our decision to forgo a printed catalog is a well-educated choice. It pleases us to note that many colleges and universities offer prospective students the option of downloading school catalogs online. Seems blooming brilliant to us.


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Plants mentioned in this article
Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
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