If there has ever been an eye opening experience in my life as to how bad our plastic and waste disposal problem is, it's been working in retail. I've worked in clothes shops that bin plastic hangers after a single use in the shop as the clothes get shipped with new hangers. Millions of plastic bags being turfed into the rubbish and perfectly good cardboard boxes being dumped instead of recycled. When I opened my shop I knew I'd have to deal with some of these problems myself and I have always made sure that any usable, but non recyclable packaging gets used again!
I only have paper carrier bags in my shop, so some of you may have had an old plastic stock bag to protect your purchases from rain. I've hoarded them for ages to give them a second life at least! I recycle everything I can to make the waste from my business as minimal as possible.
This year I managed to source nice strong paper mailing bags to send out orders. If I need to bubble wrap something fragile you can bet it's bubble wrap I've stashed from deliveries I get! All orders are first packed in a paper bag to keep it safe inside the paper mailer too!
I use a yarn base supplier that ship their yarn in recyclable and biodegradable plastic bags. I want to support ethical companies with my business as much as possible! Working with companies that can trace their products is also important. To me it shows they care, and it means I can pass on the provenance of products to you. It's nice to know where things come from! I also know that their Merino is non-mulesed and you will see that stated on my yarn labels too.
If you don't know for muelsing means, it's a pretty horrific procedure in which Merino sheep have the skin around their bums cut off to prevent fly strike. In a lot of cases this is done without anesthetic and after care is not given so the sheep die from infection or get fly strike anyway as the flies are attracted to the infection. Merino sheep have been bred by humans to have more skin so they produce more fleece per sheep and this is what creates the extra skin around their bums. It's human greed and it's disgusting that some see fit to do that to animals. All our Merino comes from farms that do not practice mulesing.
To dye the yarn I use acid dyes. Sounds a bit extreme, but the acid used is vinegar or citric acid! I fill up my pots with water and exhaust all dye baths fully so I'm not constantly having to re-fill my pots with fresh water for each new colour I dye. I top up if I need to, but generally I use a single fill of water per pot for the whole dye day. I'll even keep the water in the pots overnight to use again the next day... and the next! I do the best I can to conserve water and make sure the water I eventually dispose of is as free from dye residue as possible.
These are some of the things I do in my business to try and keep it as ethical and environmentally friendly as possible!