As I've tried harder and harder to incorporate "green" into my artwork and art business (prints, packaging, etc.), I'm starting to realize that archival and environmentally friendly are damn near mutually exclusive. It seems that I am walking a fine line between them. When you can find environmentally friendly art supplies, the sizes or colors offered are extremely limited.
After a few customers asked me about making ACEOs, I recently decided to create some. Last year these little cards were immensely popular in the art community, and with the economy being in the toilet/people not wanting to spend a lot of money on things, I would wager they will remain popular for at least another year or two as they are small and artists can make them quickly and cheaply. Plus, it's tiny collectible art cards... Tiny is FUN!
So to package and sell ACEO prints, you can put them into a clear sleeve with backing board just like you would do with any other print. But getting a bunch of new plastic sleeves just to encase these tiny prints seems a bit wasteful. And, I can't find bags in the proper size that are environmentally friendly at all.
Some artists are using baseball card holders/sleeves to display their ACEO prints. These are a little thicker and more sturdy than your standard plastic sleeves for prints, and are almost always archival quality as collectors don't want their cards to deteriorate in quality. After an exhaustive search, I came up with no recycled content or biodegradable baseball card holders.
Some people on Etsy are incredibly creative with their packaging! Etsy sellers are using everything from cereal boxes (cut to size then taped together to make a sleeve), to fabrics, to recycled mailers and other recycled packaging.
I love the idea of the recycled cereal/snack boxes for shipping, but I still need a nice way to display the cards for art shows, galleries, etc. Hmmmm.....