As someone who cares deeply about the environment, I believe it’s important for me to do my bit to minimise the waste of my business and to use bio-degradable and recyclable products where possible. It’s not always easy to be zero-waste, especially when making high-end archival quality products but I’m making it my goal in 2018 to be as zero waste as possible, both at home and in my business.
Even the smallest of steps makes a considerable difference and so I am making a promise to switch to environmentally friendly packaging and equipment in 2018 where possible.
Please read below the details of the products I use for the business and details on their eco footprint and sustainability.
Electricity From Renewable Sources
Working from my own home studio means I can choose an energy supplier that fits my environmental policy rather than choosing from the big corporate ones. Here, we’re using Bulb – a UK based energy provider. 100% of the electric they supply comes from renewable sources and a minimum of 10% of the gas is from green sources. I think that’s pretty darn super! We’ve switched to them and saved money while helping the environment. For more info, see: www.bulb.co.uk.
Special offer: Save £50 off your first bill with Bulb if you switch using my affiliate Link:
Fine Art Prints – Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl
I use Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl for all my prints. Not only is it of an exceptionally archival quality and stunning finish, the company also makes a strong effort to be sustainable where possible. They also regularly donate to environmental charities. For more information on their commitment to the environment, please see their Sustainability Policy.
Recyclable Protective Print Sleeves
This is the most difficult part of my production process to improve as the protective sleeves I package my fine art prints in MUST be of archival quality. Having enquired with many providers, there does not seem to be any option for a bio-degradable archival quality wrap (for obvious reasons – it can’t be archival if it will degrade). For now, I am using protective sleeves from a supplier here in the UK. These sleeves are made of polypropylene which is a kind of plastic but thankfully a recyclable one. I would love to move away from plastic in the future, but for now this is the best option I can find. If anyone has any leads on where I can find a more environmentally friendly option, please contact me.
Full details on the sleeves from the supplier are as below:
RECYCLABILITY: TI S.p.A. films are suitable for recycling and can be effectively disposed of through
incineration. Full combustion of polypropylene yields almost entirely carbon dioxide and water. Waste reduction by
energy recovery yields 24 MJ/Kg polypropylene.
Please note that the reason for using the sleeves is to protect them, particularly when on sale at events/galleries/stores. If you would like me to ship a print to you without the sleeve and only using archival paper to gently wrap it, please do let me know at the time of ordering. Please be aware that this increases the risk of damage during shipping (due to temperature/humidity changes and creasing).
Postage and Packaging
On January 10th 2018, I decided to no longer use bubble wrap or plastic (other than the essential protective sleeves) when shipping prints to clients. Having ordered a full set of recyclable products, all prints after this date will be shipped using the following:
Large (A2) Limited Edition Prints
100% recyclable brown cardboard box, made from recycled materials where possible.
100% recyclable brown paper to pad the box & protect the prints, made from recycled materials.
100% recyclable brown paper tape to seal the box. This self-adhesive paper tape is 100% recyclable, no need to separate from the carton.
Small (A4) Prints
100% recyclable cardboard backed envelope.
For larger orders of A4 prints too large for an envelope, a small recycled box and packing as per the A2 prints will be used.
Why Am I Doing This?
Moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle is not easy. Everything around us is geared towards consumption and waste. However, having recently discovered just how bad plastics and our wasteful lifestyle is for the planet, I’ve decided to make a change.
At home, I’m doing my best to cut out single-use plastics. This is not easy, but given plastic that’s thrown away never goes away (it just slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces), it’s worth trying to avoid them. I still have plastic at home, but my aim is to try and bring less and less into my home so I’m decreasing my contribution to the plastic crisis where I can. We recycle everything we can, and aim to put as little into the landfill bin as possible.
Our earth has very limited resources and we’ve abused these for a long time now. Our oceans are a mess, wildlife is suffering, and I personally can’t face the guilt without trying to lessen my impact on the environment.
Want To Know More?
There are many many great resources for learning about our impact on the world and what we can do to help. The first thing I’d recommend you do is watch a documentary called A Plastic Ocean. After I watched that, I joined a Facebook group called Journey To Zero Waste. There is a global group as well as smaller local ones. We have a zero waste group just for the UK, which is great for finding local suppliers. These groups are great for inspiration on cutting waste and for asking questions. I asked them for help with deciding on how to reduce my business waste and it was incredibly helpful.
Want To Talk About It?
I’m always open to feedback, discussion, and suggestions on how I can improve things. If you’d like to get in touch, please feel free to do so via the Contact page.