This month we’ve been looking at how to reduce packaging. Applying the “three Rs” in order of importance, we can’t really reduce the amount of packaging we send our harps out in, but we can make that packaging more sustainable by reusing it, and looking at alternatives to plastic. We won’t be buying any more plastic bubble wrap, and over the next few months we’ll use up what we have. When we include a harp case in what we’re sending out to a customer we can send the harp in that, which takes away the need for bubble wrap. Other than that we’ll be moving on to compostable bubble wrap. Likewise for our foam inserts, which are necessary to protect the corners of the harp, it looks like the best way to replace these is with mushroom packaging.
Unfortunately, many of the tools and parts we need come in jiffy bags or otherwise unsustainable packaging. We keep hold of this and use it as much as we can, also using boxes or other space filling materials when we pack our harps. Don’t be surprised if your harp has a box that some Danish oil, harp levers or screws were delivered in! And when we have a big stack of jiffy bags we’ll sell them on eBay so that someone else can use them.
This hoarding and reuse sees competing forces of minimalism vs environmentalism. Now that we’ve got our own space the temptation is to fill it, but I know that for us to be productive we need a well organised workshop. Luckily there are plenty of ways for us to pass on any unused items. Our old workshop was a community workshop who take unwanted tools, and most things can find someone who needs them through Facebook, Gumtree or eBay.
This month we’ve also been filling draughts around the workshop, setting the thermostat down a degree and putting on jumpers. This hasn’t always resulted in it being colder around here, as a worryingly unseasonable spell of warm weather saw 20o for the first time in a winter month in the UK. A reminder that action on climate change is needed now more than ever before.
Our pledge to being carbon neutral doesn’t only happen at work, but also in our homes. Ellie has 3 guinea pigs, Ethel, Frida and Gurdy who are all an essential part of our team. Recently Ellie has changed her guinea pig bedding from wood shavings to wood pellets + fleece. The shavings were a big financial drain and had to be thrown in the bin as it wasn’t possible for her to pay for her green garden waste recycling to be taken every week. The solution for this was to fork out on fleece blankets and mattress protectors which she’s sewn together to create fleece mats for the cage. Wood pellet cat litter goes underneath to catch all of the liquid that passes through the fleece. The wood pellets can simply be scooped up, put in a compostable bag and thrown into the compost. The fleece is washed weekly on an eco wash with eco-friendly detergents and white vinegar. The guinea pigs love it! It’s soft on their feet and perfect for snuggling on.