Earth Day is coming up and I wanted to share with you some of the things I do in my studio to help reduce my environmental and human harm. It’s important to me to be a good citizen of the earth and as a person who’s invested in my business it makes sense for me to be transparent with you in my practices so you can know how you’re helping the environment by choosing to shop small with me.
Here are some of the practices that I have in my studio and home to help our mama earth! Be sure to read to the end for my recipes for natural cleaning products.
EARTH-FRIENDLY STUDIO HABITS:
- conflict-free & recycled metals + stones
- collect my scraps to be refined
- use refined metals in my castings
- minimize unnecessary packaging including packing tape
- minimize unnecessary printing products + use recycled papers
- reuse packing supplies
- specifically choose partners who are doing their part to protect the environment
- Use biodegradable bags when shipping orders
- use all-natural cleaners (see my recipe above) for the studio, home, and jewelry
CONFLICT-FREE & RECYCLED METALS - I have chosen my partners in this business carefully and the company that creates my metal parts is an integral partner. My caster sources their casting grain from United Precious Metal refining which takes bench sweeps and scraps from jewelers (like me!) refines them and melts them down into casting grain which they use to create our parts. I love that I can be a part of this circle of protecting our natural resources.
SCRAPS & SWEEPS - I collect all the metal scraps and sweep up all the metal dust that occurs from making and store them until I have enough volume to send them to a refinery!
MINIMIZING USE - I used to include business cards with every order but after watching my own habits of unpacking packages from other businesses I realized I was just trashing them when I received them. I no longer give unnecessary paper products with my orders to curb my consumption of paper products. I do love to include a handwritten thank you note which has all the same info you’d find on a business card. I’ll soon be including a QR code to navigate directly to our jewelry care information so I don’t have to include a care card.
PACKING BOXES - I use a local company called Washington Packaging Supply for my shipping boxes. I love that they are local! The boxes are made from 80% recycled materials and I can spare the shipping costs by taking a quick trip downtown to get them!
I save most of the packing supplies from my own purchases and re-use them for shipping my wholesale orders. This includes boxes, plastic baggies and packing filler.
I also use boxes that do not require tape to close which makes them easier for you to recycle!
TISSUE PAPER - I use tissue paper that is printed on paper from forests that are managed responsibly and sustainably, it’s acid-free, and soy-based inks are used for printing. Soy is a renewable resource, and it also has a low VOC level which reduces air pollution during the creation process.
PLASTIC - The jewelry world uses TONS of plastic due to all of the small parts we order from our suppliers. I take care to remove their labels and reuse them when I can, mostly with my wholesale orders but when I can’t I use biodegradable baggies when shipping my wholesale orders!
MINIMIZING - No more business cards! I used to include business cards with every order and after watching my own habits of unpacking packages I realized I was discarding them from other makers' businesses when I received them. I no longer give unnecessary paper products with my orders to curb my consumption of paper products. Currently, we offer very small care cards with our packages, but we will soon be shifting to a QR code included on our thank you note to the care info available on our website.
CHEMICALS - The studio can be a place where lots of chemicals are used. I make every effort to use all-natural cleaning products. In fact, we use vinegar and essential oils to clean our whole house! Naturally, that applies to the studio as well! (see what I did there! 😜)
Products to clean metals can often be hazardous not only to human health but are terrible for the environment. The term “Pickling” in the metalsmith studio, refers to using chemicals to “eat off” the crud that develops from heating the parts when soldering on earring posts etc. Commercial pickle is pretty nasty, but I use natural household ingredients to do the same thing! Citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar. Even this natural pickle is harmful however once it’s spent. Pickling deposits metals into the solution which makes it pretty nasty to pour down the drain. I use baking soda to neutralize it, and then store it in a giant bucket which allows for water evaporation. Once the bucket is full I’ll take it to a hazardous materials waste disposal and they take care of the nasty stuff. That way the fishies can live their best life!
HOW CAN YOU HELP DO YOUR PART?
- go out of your way to buy from artists and businesses who care and are making an effort
- save containers and refill your products instead of buying new! I get my shampoo, conditioner and hand soap refilled at Public Goods & Services and put them in glass containers I bought with hand soap initially.
- Make your own cleaners! It’s SO easy! See below.
MY CLEANING RECIPES:
- ALL PURPOSE CLEANER: mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle to make a perfect all-purpose household cleaner. I use essential oils to make it smell nice
- GLASS CLEANER: 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tbsp vinegar
- JEWELRY CLEANER: You may have read my blog post on cleaning your jewelry with Barkeeper's Friend before, and it’s amazing. While BKF is not very expensive you can make your own! Keep some in a small jar for when you need it. You only use a small amount to clean jewelry but you can also use this to clean toilets, pans, and your sink, so make a big batch and store it in an old jar! It’s amazing.
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