Clockwork Soldier as a company and a collective of people care deeply about environmental issues. In particular our focus on sustainability. We love what we do, it gives us great joy and hopefully brings joy to others. This is the main drive to find sustainable ways of doing things. We want our practice to continue but for this to happen we must find more sustainable ways of doing so. Ideally, we would like our products to be sustainable not unattainable.

Parrot on a perch

Since starting the company over ten years ago we have always been aware of the need for sustainability its built into our DNA. Nowadays our ideas on sustainability can be found in the small day to day design work we do. The big thinking ideas stretching from strategies and problem solving, to product development and packaging.

All the way through our design process we consider minimum waste usability and how we use materials and resources in the most sparing way possible. There should always be a synergy between good well thought out designs and sustainability. If we are truly honest sustainable processes make good business sense. Commercially cutting down costs and waste while adding extra value to the product for the customer. This way of thinking benefits the business creating the product, the end user buying or playing with the product, and the environmental impact is reduced.

In recent years we have developed a number of ways of working that we hope to make small but beneficial changes to our environmental impact minimal packaging.

We try to where possible to keep our packaging to a minimum. Most of our products come packed in a flat envelope pack made from one single piece of card.

Taking this idea further for a number of our products we try to cut out as much packaging waste as possible by combining product and packaging. In some cases, both product and packaging are made from one single piece of card. As designers we have looked upon this minimal packaging approach as an exciting challenge. How many different playful ideas can you get out of one piece of card?

As a member of a Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified group scheme (FSC-C004309), we are committed to sourcing paper and board used in the manufacture of our products from certified responsibly managed forests. 

Maximal Product

Thinking about card and paper as a resource in recent work we try to use every inch of the card and paper in our sets. Firstly, there is no wasted space on our instructions or activity kits. If we can we reduce paper usage and fit as much as we can onto one sheet. We add in as many fun interactive activities to make the most of any space we have. We hope this also enhances the product value enhancing the experience and prolonging the amount of time the product will be played with. Where possible now we try to make all our construction kits double sided, giving the user more choice. Enhancing our maximalist product principles and adding more appeal and fun to the product.

The subject matter and themes of our products can also lean heavily towards educating children about sustainability in nature. We focus a lot of our work on the animal kingdom and the habitats and environment the animals live in.

Big Sustainable Thinking

Sustainability has always been part of our business strategy. Thinking about the impact of waste should be an obligation to a company like ours who produce physical products. Natural Resources are not finite and should be treated with thought and respect. It has only been in recent years that we have married those principles up to the ways in which we live. A few years ago, Lily my daughter was at an age where she has started to go to a lot of parties and have birthday parties of her own. When planning these parties, we found it was very hard to find party bag fillers that were environmentally kind. So, we decided that we could do something about it! 

Problem Solving 

For a business like us this was the perfect project. A problem-solving exercise that fitted in to our strengths and ethos. With a commercial benefit to the business and our eco benefit to the wider world. Our paper pocket money range is a selection of small make and play paper toys. Each pocket-sized product is made from one piece of card reducing waste and need for any plastics.

The products were designed to be used as party favours, pocket money products, rainy day projects and quick low price till point pick-ups. For our wholesale customers the products can come packed in a cardboard point of sale unit that can be refilled. This reduces the use of extra cardboard inner cartons and reduces waste as most of the POS is reusable.

 Single Use

To go with the range, we designed a set of monster puppet party bags that when turned upside down can used as a puppet. The second use as a toy prolonging the use of the product, we hope will reduce the chances of it being thrown straight away. We also developed a special card hander for the set of bags to remove the need to use any single use plastics. 

In short, we think a lot about how we as people and our business interact with the world. We love what we do and want to keep doing it. We feel the only way forward is to make everything in power as sustainable as we can.

Rob Dakin, Founder