Edit: this post was written in April 2019, prior to the transition and launch of The Morose Bee becoming primarily a vendor of sustainable materials. It's exciting to see this goal come to fruition!
I've been thinking about posting something about sustainability within The Morose Bee for a while, but now that today is Earth Day it seems like the perfect time. Climate Change is real and happening faster than we can provide a solution and, as a maker, it's something I struggle with everyday. I love to make new with things which involves hoping someone else will want to acquire more stuff to have my products. Consumerism is one of the struggles we're up against to help slow our waste stream. I know a lot of people argue that one person doesn't make a difference, but I don't think apathy is going to get anyone anywhere. So I'm here to be one person trying to do something better.
I have always enjoyed upcycling as part of The Morose Bee products. Even in my earliest jewelry designs I sourced charms from flea markets and thrift stores, reused old jewelry and turned it into new items, and sold vintage items. But I know I can do better! Now that I'm making items with textiles, I have other ways of making them sustainably. So far in 2019 I have not purchased any new fabric for person projects and I plan to keep it that way. We all know how alluring fabric shopping can be and there are so many beautiful designs out there! But the textile waste is a real problem. The EPA website estimates that in 2015, landfills received 10.5 million tons of textiles source. My plan to reduce textile waste in my products is to:
1. Use the materials that I already have to create new products
2. When I need to new fabric, purchase it second hand
I made a quilt for a friend earlier this year and bought a bed sheet from the thrift store for the backside. It was honestly better and softer than quilting cotton. Oh, and cheaper too.
You can also get second-hand fabric from people getting rid of their stash. Sometimes people are just sick of their own fabric, sometimes they abandon the hobby, or sometimes family members are trying to purge. I've received a lot of fabric from people second-hand and honestly it's more exciting to work with. It feels like you're continuing a tradition or an idea started by someone else. When I'm finished with my fabric or end up acquiring some that I'm just not sure I'm going to use, I sell it in my destash shop The Hive Destash. Plus Etsy recently announced that they are purchasing carbon offsets for every sale! It's a not perfect solution to the impact of shipping, but I still think it's a great step in the right direction.
Sometimes finding everything you need can be difficult, but I've found a little preplanning can go along way. For example, I wanted to find a way to stop buying plastic zippers for my bags so now whenever I find zippers second-hand I buy every single one available. It means I always have more zippers than I need which can become a storage problem, but it's nice to know I have them when I need them. If you want to do something similar for your own projects, this blog post has a huge and awesome list of various Creative Reuse Centers click here. Shopping at reuse centers means sometimes you have to think outside the box because you find bits and pieces, but they're an incredible resource.
I'm not sure if this post should be reassuring for you as a potential customer or for me as a maker, but I hope to continue to stay transparent about my process and materials. If at any point there are questions about the integrity or sustainability of one of my products, please don't hesitate to contact me. It's Earth Day so get out there and do something kind for the planet today.
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