Sustainability

What makes H&O Sustainable?

Utilizing sustainable materials that are backed with plenty of research is one of our core values. We are constantly investing in new material options, and push the limits of our budget to bring them to you! 

This includes:

- using materials with post-consumer waste and recycled content
- shipping without plastic and minimizing our plastic usage in our own office
- partnering with FSC certified, Ancient Forest Friendly mills that practice responsible forest management
- ensuring that our materials are renewable and recyclable wherever we can 
- staying local to minimize our carbon footprint, which a lot of production done in-house 
- partnering alongside others that care about the environment as well 

Our journals, planners, and notepads are crafted in Canada in small batches. Rather than being mass produced and moved

Why should I buy local?

In addition to supporting an entire local network of craftspeople, freight emissions involved in local production are significantly reduced. This is with respect to getting your order to your doorstep, as well as sourcing materials that are used to craft products. Your purchase supports small businesses and reinvestment in ethical and sustainable products.

What is ethical labour?

We believe that ethical labour is fair compensation in a country with:

- adequate vacation and sick leave

- safe working conditions 

- strong employment standards and employee rights

- equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, race, disability, sexuality, or religion 

For this reason, we choose to partner primarily with Canadian manufacturers due to the Canadian Human Rights Act, Employment Equity Act, and the Canada Labour Code.

What is PCW?

PCW (post-consumer waste) refers to goods that are manufactured, used by the consumer, and then diverted away from the landfill and into a new product. For instance, plastic water bottles or containers placed into a blue bin. These plastics are taken to a regional facility, where a manufacturer might purchase them to create something new. In our case, planner ribbons. All of our planner ribbons are created from plastic bottles. 

Unfortunately, so much plastic ends up in the ocean and/or in landfills. That is why post-consumer waste is a key to diverting pollution from landfills, and we that it will play a large role in positive environmental change for the future.

Why don’t you use stone paper?

Stone paper has become a popular alternative, and we have been asked several times about this material. We did test it personally, but encountered many issues with it. 

First, to our knowledge, this paper variant is only manufactured overseas. This would compromise our value of local production. What was worse, though, was that one of us developed a migraine due to sensitivity to the smell of the product. We are not sure if it was due to the binding glue used, the HDPE (a plastic used to make stone paper), or something else in the material. However, we do not think toxic smells should be part of a stationery experience.

Second, we find some of the environmental claims about materials like these dubious.

- Stone is not a renewable resource like paper. For stone to even begin regenerating, it takes millions of years. In comparison, some species of trees grow as fast as two feet a year. There is a reason why wood has been used by humans as a resource for millions of years!

Responsible forest management is at the core, and when done properly, wood is a very beneficial, eco-friendly resource. 

- Stone paper is not curbside recyclable. It must be taken to a special facility.

- Stone paper is combined with HDPE, a plastic, as mentioned above. 

In terms of stationery usage, our ink smudged a lotWe also felt that the paper would ruin some of our beloved pen nibs over time. Regardless, we encourage you to do your own research. For now, we source paper from FSC-certified mills that are local, incorporate post-consumer waste into their paper, and are at the forefront of responsible forest management. 

Why don’t you use 100% PCW for all your paper?

The main reason is that despite testing many 100% PCW papers, we haven’t found one that stands up to all the media used by the community. This includes highlighters, art markers, distress oxides, fountain pens, etc. However, wedosource papers that are untreated, made local, use responsible forest management, and have a high regenerative rate.

The best way to create more PCW products, however, is to keep supporting PCW. It is largely expensive to manufacture and budget is a limitation. This does not mean that all virgin fibre is bad for the environment. Trees can regenerate and grow as much as two feet in a single year! It's been an amazing resource for humans for millions of years, and we pride ourselves in partnering with mills that have some of the best practices in forest management in the world. 

What are your most sustainable products?

While all of our products are sustainable, our notepads are made from 100% post-consumer waste, are fully recyclable, and have the lowest carbon footprint. 

All of our planners use ribbons made from 100% PCW. Our planner covers and paper are also FSC-certified. Oxford and Matte Black contain 58% post-consumer waste in their covers and they are fully recyclable. 

Our brass pens are recyclable as well, our recycled aluminium ones being infinitely so. 

Last, our stickers are PVC-free and the liners are recyclable in your curbside recycling. Most sticker liners are not. 

Shipping

How long will it take for my order to arrive?

If you select our regular shipping, please note that we subsidize shipping via Chit Chats to help afford a more economical solution for Canadian and American customers. 

From the time your order is shipped and taken out of our hands, your parcel will usually arrive within 1-3 weeks.

We ship all orders as soon as possible. However, there are sometimes postal delays, especially around holidays and during world events. 

What is Chit Chats?

Chit Chats is a shipping service that hands parcels off to Canada Post and other carriers in larger batches. This can slow down shipping time compared to going through a carrier directly. However, it brings the cost of shipping down so that we can afford to send your parcels for much less, and even free over certain amounts.

Sometimes you will see tracking delays when your parcel is handed off from Chit Chats to your carrier. This happens because Canada Post sometimes doesn't scan your parcel right away when they receive it. 

Please note that if shipping speed matters to you, please select a Canada Post option at checkout such as "Expedited", "Xpresspost", or "Priority". 

What do I do if my parcel hasn't shown up?

Please ensure you follow up with Canada Post or other courier for any direct updates, as we do not have control over delivery once parcels ship. We cannot access more information than is available to you. If your shipment experiences an unusual delay, we can do our best to assist – please just pop us an email.

What do I do if my parcel hasn't shown up?

Please ensure you follow up with Canada Post or other courier for any direct updates, as we do not have control over delivery once parcels ship. We cannot access more information than is available to you. If your shipment experiences an unusual delay, we can do our best to assist – please just pop us an email.

Can I pick up my H&O planner from a local store?

We are not currently stocked in any retail locations. However, we have partnered with ChitChats to offer free local-pick-up! See below.

Do you offer local pick-up?

Yes - in BC and Ontario! We are piloting a new local pick-up option with Chit Chats. This is currently available at Chit Chats branches in BC and Ontario (excluding Ottawa). 

During the pilot, H&O will cover the cost of your item getting to the closest Chit Chats location to your address (see below for locations). The location will be chosen automatically by the system based on distance.

Your order will be fully tracked. Once it arrives, please collect your order within 7 days.

To find your closest branch: 

- BC locations (8 branches) can be found here.

- ON locations (19 branches) can be found here.

*Please note that Ottawa is currently excluded from the pilot.

How is my order packaged?

Mailers: Our standard mailers are made of kraft and can be recycled in your cardboard bin (sometimes paper – check with your recycler)

Tape: We use water-activated paper tape with a gummed adhesive that is eco-friendly and recyclable.

Protection: We pad your planners with kraft, compostable tissue paper. Please put your tissue paper in the compost — while tissue paper is recyclable, the are very few buyers that will recycle it due to the weaker fibers.

Labels: While most shipping label liners (often called release liners) are treated with a silicone coating, our shipping label liners are fully recyclable. Better yet, our labels are zero waste and made out of 100% recycled materials. We encourage everyone to make the switch so release liners stop going to the landfill! 

Stickers: Stickers are packaged in a glassine envelope and sealed with one of our zero waste stickers. Glassine is fully recyclable in your curbside paper recycling. It looks a little like wax paper or parchment paper!

Additional packaging: Any paper included in your parcel, such as cards, band wraps, etc. are printed on FSC-certified 100% post-consumer waste paper made in Canada.

In 2021, each planner was wrapped by hand using sheets of kraft paper. These sheets and mailers were each individually screen printed by hand. As we grown, we have moved to locally-made boxes that are pre-printed to make fulfilment more efficient and prevent tendinitis. 

However, our new boxes are made in Canada from kraft paper and we ensured that they could be fully recycled. Many boxes are sadly covered with a plastic coating and are often removed from paper recycling due to this. 

Can I change my order once I've placed it?

Parcels are sent out fairly quickly to Chit Chats and/or Canada Post, so please contact us immediately at hello@hemlockandoak.com if you need to change something!

Returns and Delivery

What is your return policy?

You have 30 days from the date of purchase to contact us at hello@hemlockandoak.com regarding any order problems. 

Unfortunately, change-of-mind returns are not accepted at this time. We are a tiny team of two and it requires a lot of resources (as well as additional carbon footprint) to arrange for you to send back your order.

However, we provide free downloads of all our planners so you can try them at home first! We want you to be happy with your purchase, so please take your time to download the layouts and find what works for you. 

If you are unsure of a colour and need more examples, feel free to email us at hello@hemlockandoak.com. 
Once an order is placed, we encourage you to review your order confirmation to make sure that everything is correct. 

What if I have a time sensitive parcel and need it for (birthday, engagement, event)?

Time sensitive orders should select Xpresspost or Priority at checkout. This will be mailed via Canada Post as soon as possible, and these options are prioritized at CP for faster delivery.

Otherwise, parcels are sent out ASAP via Chit Chats and/or Canada Post expedited. Once your parcel is in the hands of another carrier, delivery times are out of our control. This is especially true during holidays or in extreme weather emergencies, such as floods and fires.  

Unfortunately, we cannot take responsibility if your local post office does not get it to you in time for a certain event. Please make sure you plan ahead if you want gifts to arrive on time, or send us an email asking if we can send the gift for you! We would be happy to accommodate you in this. 

Can I order a gift and send it direct to the recipient?

Absolutely! Specify that your order is a gift in the note area and make sure that your details are in the billing area, but the gift recipient's address is in the shipping area.  

Oops, I put in the wrong address!

If you accidentally input the wrong address, please note you will have to take care of an additional shipping and return fee for us to re-send the parcel to the correct address (often around $10 CAD + shipping fee). This is because we already subsidize shipping and we cannot afford to continuously cover mistakes. Please review your information carefully at checkout, and also check your order confirmation in your inbox. 

Delivery issues

Planner arrived damaged:
Your order is packaged carefully in locally made packaging, and we take great care to make sure orders travel safely. If your item is damaged upon arrival, please immediately take pictures and/or a video, and send it to hello@hemlockandoak.com along with your name, order number, and a brief summary of the issue. We will get back to you as soon as possible to coordinate next steps. Please ensure the planner is packaged carefully to protect it from damage during any returns. Thank you! 

Delivered but not received: Depending on the carrier, this error can occur. Please immediately phone the carrier (i.e, Canada Post or USPS) with your tracking number. If there is no resolution within a week, please email us at hello@hemlockandoak.com. If you have concerns about parcel theft, please write in your order notes 'signature upon delivery' at checkout, or email us at hello@hemlockandoak.com with this request. Please note we cannot be held responsible for parcel theft. Your insurance (credit card or apartment) should cover it in these instances. 

Ask us anything!

We're a tiny team of two, but we'll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible!

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