makers for sustainable making
Happy Earth Day, friends! While everyday can and should be Earth Day, I'm so pleased that there is a specific day each year devoted to celebrating our beautiful world and the plants and creatures with which we share it, raise awareness about eco-friendly practices and resources, and call us to take an even more active part in its care through sustainable living.
As makers who produce goods and use materials, we have a responsibility to do so in environmentally-conscious ways.
When we create new things and share them out into the world, it's imperative for us to carefully consider how what we make impacts the earth with an accountable awareness of the space we are taking up through what we produce. In today's technological world, it's never been easier for us to research and learn new ways to reduce waste, repurpose resources, and implement green practices into our creative processes and everyday lives.
As consumers who utilize materials and supplies in order to make our products, we have an opportunity to vote with our dollars and support businesses making a conscious choice to operate in sustainable, earth-loving ways. When we purchase materials from eco-friendly suppliers, we are investing in and lifting up a value of accountability within the industry to help ensure that environmentally-responsible businesses can continue to lead as examples in their fields and become the golden standard.
Spreading the word about earth-friendly suppliers
Being a paper goods business, I take my responsibility to the earth's well-being and future seriously. I'm sharing a list of my favorite eco-friendly vendors and suppliers in the hopes that more artists and small businesses will take the step to reduce their footprint on our world:
EcoEnclose | 100% recycled, biodegradable, and recyclable packaging materials including padded and rigid mailers, shipping boxes, chipboard, packaging filler, packaging tape, labels and stickers, paper stock, shopping bags, clear bags, and hemp twine
French Paper Co. | Carries an assortment of recycled papers and envelopes. All paper stock is milled at a 100% green, hyrdro-powered paper mill, avoiding the release of over 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere since 1922 (equivalent to over 4,878,049 lbs. of coal), while producing surplus green energy for the local utility and supplying power to their community.
Etsy Carbon-Offset Shipping Program | Etsy is the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping. With each purchase that comes through their handmade marketplace, they balance out the carbon emissions by creating positive environmental impact through investments in projects that reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent amount spent. Etsy funds verified emissions reduction projects through their partner 3Degrees, which support environmental projects, forest protection, air quality, carbon absorption, wind and solar farms generating clean energy and replacing fossil fuels, and developing greener methods for producing auto parts.
5 practices for reducing waste
REFUSE | Avoid using single-use plastics and paper products at your local eateries, grocery stores, etc. Get in the habit of carrying reusables with you so you don't have to resort to single-use options that end up in the trash.
REDUCE | Downsize your purchases, opting to be more mindful of the quantity and materials you need and will actually use.
REUSE & REPURPOSE | Practice the habit of looking for ways to keep an item out of the landfill as long as possible. Keep your materials and supplies in good condition, repair them as needed, upcycle or recycle when it's no longer useable. Small businesses can easily repurpose any shipping boxes and filler they receive from their own purchases. If your goods include bottles, jars, or other reusable containers, establish a container return program for your buyers. While reducing waste, this will also save you on purchasing costs.
ROT | Learn about composting and set up a system for your food scraps or research a local food scrap drop-off center such as a farmer's market or community garden who can benefit.
RECYCLE | Learn about your country or state's recycling laws and any recycling programs offered by your city. Properly recycle plastic, paper, glass, or metal that crosses your path.
I'd love to hear if you have ideas or processes in place that reduce waste in your work or life. Leave a comment below, and we can all learn from each other to care for our world.
For monthly goodies in your inbox, join my Paper Trails e-newsletter.