Monday, April 23, 2018

15 Earth Day Ideas for Eco Conscious Crafting + Creative Projects

I love to craft and create, but am also conscious of trying to reduce our household waste and footprint.  I'm not ready to give up on some of my not so eco-friendly supplies, but do try to experiment with all things in balance and with consideration. In celebration of Earth Day, here are 15 ideas for more eco-conscious crafting and creative projects.

  1. Green you crafting space by making the switch to energy efficient lighting and eliminating energy vampires such as like equipment on stand-by instead of powered off (ideally, unplugged or switched at the wall).  Set up readily accessible bin(s) for sorting and recycling scrap materials, packaging, paper, etc. and you'll be more likely to follow through on all your good green intentions.
  2. Create with purpose. Make things that can be enjoyed for a long time or used repeatedly.  If you are making single use items, consider whether you can make them recyclable or reuse materials in future projects.
  3. Use creativity to give new life to old items with upcycling projects.
  4. Get crafty with salvaged materials and craft from recycled or repurposed supplies.
  5. Deconstruct failures and old projects and sort materials for reuse, if possible, or proper disposal.  My favourite application of this is my dog toy hospital, where damaged toys are placed pending repair or deconstruction. It gets a lot of patient traffic!
  6. Buy with purpose. The best way to bust the stash is not to create a craft supply overload in the first place. So hard, I know, but if you buy with intent, you'll keep the stash under control, reduce the risk of materials drying out or becoming outdated, and save money. 
  7. On the subject of which, bust that stash!  Take inventory of what you have and make plans for stash-busting crafts and get rid of the things you'll probably never use through sales, swaps, gifing, or donation.  See more craft stashing busting and organisation tips here.
  8. Consider the full cycle of your supplies and their packaging. Look for products that are made using recycled and/or post-consumer materials, products that can be recycled or composted after use or when disposing of scraps, and/or products that come in minimal, reusable, or recyclable packaging
  9. Support ethical suppliers and/or companies that give back to communities or causes that matter to you.
  10. Unless a project needs special finishing characteristics, opt for water-based primers, paints, and coatings for lower volatility and easy soap and water clean up.  
  11. Be mindful of the hidden chemicals lurking in products from dyes, retardants, and other treatments lurking in fabrics.  Buy with care and, where possible, wash and air dry fabrics outdoors before crafting.
  12. Store materials properly to reduce unnecessary waste.  Keep products that can dry out well capped, packed, and sealed. For example, I sometimes craft with polymer clay (not the most eco conscious material by a long shot) but by storing it properly, at least I can ensure that it all gets used for crafting with minimal rubbish.   Be mindful of storage conditions for materials that are vulnerable to heat, humidity, etc and keep fabrics, papers, and other vulnerable materials sheltered from light fading.
  13. Care for your tools and equipment to extend their useful life.   
  14. Plan the cutting of shapes and patterns to minimise offcut waste.
  15. Dispose of any hazardous waste appropriately.  When there is no alternative but disposal, do it right.  Check with your local council  or waste disposal company for information on chemical waste disposal.  Many have free drop off points for safe disposal.

Looking for more green and crafty ideas?  Check out our Pinterest boards for tons of creative fun, including Recycled Crafts, Recycled Home DIY upcycled and salvaged decor projects, our Jean-ious board of recycled denim DIYs, Craft Stash Busting ideas, DIY projects to help you Waste Not... and much more!  We also have a board especially for eco-friendly and/or environmental day crafting ideas.

What are your favourite tips and ideas for greener crafting?  We'd love to hear from you!  You are also welcome to share a live link to your own related blog post or favourite blog/site in the comments. It is simple - just use the following format as a guide: <a href="">text you want shown for your link</a>

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