I worry about the earth, I learned it from my mother. Though I don’t remember her ever preaching to me about conservation, I was very much raised to be eco-conscious in small ways that add up to make a difference. Never enough, it feels, so being friendly to the earth is a huge personal value that I couldn’t not extend to my business.
Here are a few ways that I’ve found to be kind to the environment through Mammoth & Minnow.
Recycle everything that can be recycled. This is usually a no brainer for many people. In pottery, I apply it to my raw materials. Until it is bisque fired, clay can be rehydrated and re-wedged to be reused. I apply a critical eye to pieces throughout the making process and make the decision to recycle clay as soon as I feel in my gut that something is off about a piece. I love this phoenix-like characteristic in pottery, and it’s rewarding to see recycled clay reworked into something I can be proud of.
When cleaning up after wheel sessions, I avoid turning on the faucet as much as possible, washing excess clay from my hands, my tools, and my wheel with the same water which I then use to rehydrate the clay scraps collected in buckets around the studio.
The glazes my studio uses are non-toxic and I am really happy to belong to a studio that makes these glazes in a range of natural finishes.
I save boxes that we receive at the apartment to reuse in shipment. I save packing materials too, such as bubble wrap, tissue paper, and other package fillers. Know that if your order ever arrives with styrofoam packing peanuts, they were reused from a shipment I received rather than purchased by me directly.
I look for opportunities to repurpose household items all the time, such as creating tags and note cards out of old calendars and using yarn bits from my knitting projects in my packaging.
I prefer to DIY or use found tools for pottery to avoid packaging material that comes with store bought items which need to be tossed. I created a wire cutter from beading wire and crimp beads that I had on hand. I carve my own stamps using ceramic or polymer clay. I have used all of the wooden spoons in my kitchen at some point or other in handbuilding, as well as my rolling pin, cutting boards, and knives. I use all manner of household items to hold, weigh down and prop up my pieces as well.
I save crafty scraps. It’s one of my few hoarding tendencies. Elastic string, ribbon, pouches, safety pins, stickers, you name it. I’ve collected quite the inventory of random stuff to incorporate into my packaging.
The Seconds & Samples section in my Etsy shop is another effort at reducing waste. The pieces I list there are absolutely functional, but may have flaws in their sizing, finish, or some other characteristic that makes them fall just short of the standard retail category. In the beginning of my craft, these pieces would have been absorbed into circulation in my home, but my kitchen is only so big 😉
I'm always looking for ways to reduce waste and reuse materials around the home in my business. Please send any ideas my way!