Jonah recently attended an Extinction Rebellion event for local businesses, looking at how we can become more aware of our negative effect on the environment. This has really made us think about the waste that we create and how we might address it.
Our biggest sin is packaging. We mostly use paper bags, but do have plastic bags for some items or because people ask for them when it is raining. Many customers have their own bags now anyway. However, we do use bubble wrap and haven’t come up with an alternative; we do reuse any that we receive from suppliers. We are noticing the way things are packed when we receive them. I labelled hundreds of Christmas decorations last week and every one was individually wrapped in plastic, which I removed. I kept all of these small plastic bags and they are at the shop if anyone has a use for them. We also receive many things that are boxed and re-boxed. I take all the empty boxes to our friend Zak, who has an eBay shop selling reclaimed architectural items (intrestingandcollectible-04).
As you will know, recycled furniture has been a large part of our business, but we also recycle lots of other materials to make smaller items. I use a great resource in Harrogate called The Cone Exchange (www.coneexchange.org). This is a scrap store of reusable materials which are donated by local businesses. All proceeds are given to local community projects and charities. They are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays in term time. I recently bought a large cardboard lidded bin from them, which I have decoupaged with cuttings from a 1990 Beano annual (this is where I am told that it was of great collectible value!). See photo. I have applied the cuttings to the bin with wallpaper paste and sealed it all with four coats of a clear, water based, varnish. The finished bin will be available in the shop soon.
I have also been busy making fabric Christmas gift bags, which can be re used year after year and they are now available to buy in the shop.
I thought that I might start to blog about things that I make from waste to encourage other people to have a go. Your comments and tips are welcome!