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8 Ways to Make Your Crafting More Eco-Friendly

8 Ways to Make Your Crafting More Eco-Friendly

The world can be a worrying place. Shockingly, 92% of the world’s population live in an area where air pollution exceeds safe quantities. Instead of destroying the planet, we should be protecting it. There are ways that we can live happily and to our fullest, all the while causing minimal damage to our ecosystem. It’s all about making small changes to improve our carbon footprint. We all know the usual changes we’re suggested to make – conserving water, walking or cycling more, composting and recycling – but how can we make our crafting more eco-friendly? It’s easier than you think; here are 8 simple ways to make a difference.

We learn about how to look after the environment from a young age, but it’s so easy to become complacent. The biggest question people have is “how will I make it change?”. It’s understandable to feel that you personally can’t make a difference because you’re just one person out of 7.5 billion. But if everyone had that mentality, and consequently no-one tried to make a difference, we’d be in a dangerous situation. You can make a difference. Crafters can help change things. We just need to be more aware of how we can make changes.

1. Turn off your cutting/sewing machines when they aren’t in use

This may seem a little obvious, yet it’s something that’s regularly missed. It’s easy to forget to do something, especially something so minor as switching off electricity at the mains, but electricity does have a negative effect on the environment. It’s all down to power stations emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The higher the demand for electricity, the more carbon dioxide produced. By switching off your lights and electrical goods in your craft room (and across the house) when you aren’t using them, you can help to make an impact.

2. Incorporate more Kraft materials into your crafting

Kraft card is the most environmentally-friendly cardstock out there because it’s made from recycled materials. Not only is it popular with crafters for this reason, but it also adds a rustic vibe to projects. Usually weighing around 280gsm, this sturdy crafting base performs just as well as non-recycled cardstock; the only difference is its natural brown colour. Recycled Kraft is available as cardstock, card blanks, paper, tags, and even paper fabric! “Paper fabric?!” Yep, you read it right! Kraft-Tex Kraft Paper Fabric looks and feels like leather, but cuts, sews and washes just like fabric. It’s strong, supple, and adds an exciting new texture to your projects.

3. Upcycle old glass bottles, packaging, clothing, etc.

Now it’s time to take a page from the Crafty Beggars book. Instead of throwing away old glass bottles, jars, packaging from recent online deliveries, old clothing, and any other materials you may have collected over the past few weeks, why not upcycle them? Breathing new life into an object is recycling; you’re giving it a new purpose and stopping it from going to landfill. So how can you upcycle old materials? It’s all up to your imagination. If you’re struggling to think of ideas, here’s some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.

Book Folding: transform battered old books into a piece of art

Glass Jars: fix them up and then store everyday items in them

Old Clothes & Sheets: cut old fabric up to create a patchwork quilt

Old Furniture: transform worn furniture into vintage home decor

Paper Scraps: cut into strips and create quilled wall art or cards

4. Reuse old projects instead of throwing them in the bin

Similarly to the previous the point, instead of binning old projects that you no longer want, you could reuse them in future projects. If something didn’t go the way you wanted, it isn’t the end of the world. The project can be deconstructed and reused elsewhere. If the design didn’t suit the creative path you were going for, it may come in useful in another project. Additionally, if you have 5-year-old projects sitting in a drawer in your craft room, why not reuse them? You could fill up a scrapbook album showcasing your crafting progression.

5. If you can’t reuse them, make sure you recycle them

If you really can’t reuse old projects or household waste, the best way to dispose of them is recycling. Make sure you check whether the materials are recyclable first, though. So, why is recycling so important? The biggest problems are landfill sites, which is why recycling is the best way for you to make an impact on the planet’s health. When rubbish is piled high in landfill sites, extremely harmful greenhouse gasses and chemicals are released into our cities and up into the atmosphere – known as air pollution.

If you recycle, it helps to decrease the amount of air pollution produced. In addition to this, recycling means that there’s less of a requirement for natural materials. Deforestation is another huge factor in global warming. Recycling transforms used materials into new products, meaning that there’s a lower demand for oxygen-releasing trees. Plus, recycling used materials requires far less energy than creating new products from raw materials.

6. On that note, recycle any scraps too!

Die-cutting produces lots of paper waste. You only need to use the positive part of a die-cut, so negative paper scraps can be discarded. No matter the size of paper scraps, it’s important to ensure they go into the recycling bin instead of the black bin. The same goes for fabric!

7. Consider the materials you put into your projects

Have you ever sat down and thought about the materials you’re putting into your craft projects? We’ve already discussed paper and cardstock Kraft alternatives, but what about if you’re a stitcher? For example, you’ll likely need to use stuffing every now and then. But the processes behind making manmade – synthetic – toy stuffing can have a harmful effect on the environment. We touched upon this a few points ago – the process uses a lot of energy.

Eco-Craft is a company that hopes to change this. Their Eco-Friendly Fiberfill uses Ingeo fibres that perform better than standard polyester. What’s so bad about polyester fibres? They’re made using coal, petroleum, air and water. Fiberfill is made of 100% PLA, which is a new synthetic fibre made from renewable resource corn, to create soft and durable filling.

8. Think about the craft products you use

Not only should you think about the materials you put into your craft projects, but you should also consider the craft products you use whilst working on projects. We understand that crafters want to use quality products in their crafting, but there are eco-friendly craft products that can still give you the results you need. An example of this comes from Finnish-Indian company, Blockwallah. Instead of selling rubber or polyester stamps, they wanted to make a difference to the world. Rubber and polyester are both synthetic materials, so they require chemical processes. Blockwallah stamps are different; the company works with rural Indian artisans to produce handcrafted, durable wooden printing blocks.

They are each hand carved, so require no chemical processes and emit no greenhouse gases during the production of them. These stamps are carved from Shamwood – a sustainable hardwood – which is also known as Indian Rosewood. Furthermore, Blockwallah believes in ethical work practices and ensure that the community can benefit from their work. As such, they help impoverished women in India by providing them with employment throughout the production process. This is eco-friendly crafting at its finest – a step in the right direction.

World Environment Day is on Monday 5th June 2017. What changes could you make?

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Alice at Create & Craft