Whether you just made the leap recently into selling your crafts or have been a crafty pro for years, there are lots of easy little ways that you can make sure that your DIY business is as good for the planet as it is for your soul.
The key to successfully greening your business, in my opinion, is to go easy on yourself. If you try to do everything all at once, you’re just going to get overwhelmed and burn out. Try not to focus on what you aren’t doing, and give yourself a high five for each step that you take. Maybe this month you start collecting your recycling and next month you worry about sourcing sustainable marketing materials. It’s all about just starting. Do what you can, and before you know it you’ll be running the green crafty biz of your dreams!
I talked a little bit about greening your crafty business when I was on the April edition of the FaveCrafts podcast, and I thought I’d share a few tips with you guys here. Here are some ways that you can start making your business more eco-friendly today!
This one’s especially easy if your city offers curbside recycling. All you need to do to get started is get a few bins for your paper, plastic, and metal recyclables, and your’e ready to rock! It’s also a good time to check out your town’s waste management website to see what they do and don’t accept. If curbside isn’t an option, I recommend checking out Earth911 to find a drop off recycling center near you.
2. Promotional Materials
Whether we’re talking business cards, flyers, or any other physical marketing materials, there are some great ways that you can reduce your impact. Conventional paper products are bad news for forests, so choosing paper that’s recycled or FSC certified can make a big difference. There are two companies that I like to use for printed materials:
- Bluegrass Print – This isn’t a 100% green printer, but the price is right! You can choose from their green paper options to make your print job more eco-friendly.
- Greener Printer – These guys are top notch! They cost a bit more, but on top of eco-friendly paper, they use soy-based ink, and their whole operation is wind powered.
3. Reducing Paper
Using less paper not only makes your business greener, but it can save you money. Instead of printing and mailing newsletters, catalogs, and even craft show applications, start building your email list and send virtual versions instead. You’ll save trees and cash at the same time.
Even if a show asks you to print and mail your application, you might still be able to email it. Lots of crafty applications are online now, but when they aren’t, organizers are often open to receiving an emailed application and PayPal payment instead of mailed app and check. It doesn’t hurt to ask, just be polite!
Use a critical eye to see where you can reduce plastic or use reusable materials. Sure, it’s easy to grab the Uline catalog and order some packaging materials, but before you pick up the phone, take some time to think outside of the box. Ask yourself how you can make this more sustainable. Can you use minimal packaging? What about reusable packaging? One of my favorite green packaging solutions that I have run across was at a craft market in Asheville. A t-shirt vendor packaged her tees in a glass Mason jar. How smart!
Even if you can’t ditch the disposable packaging, can you do it more sustainably? Craft paper, for example, is a greener option than other paper and certainly better than plastic packaging, because it contains a high recycled content. It’s always better to choose metal, glass, and paper over plastic.
When it comes to making that crafty display greener, the thrift store is your friend! Choose thrifted linens to dress your tables instead of store-bought tablecloths. Suitcases, fun baskets, old shelves–a fresh coat of paint turns these thrifted items into awesome displays. The idea is to look at thrift store housewares from a new angle. Don’t think about things as what they are but what they could be with a little bit of crafty love.
The one part of the crafty display that I haven’t figured out how to green up is that big, white tent. If you can find a good tent second hand, that’s definitely a greener option, but those are tough to find!
When you can’t sort out a green alternative, my rule of thumb is to choose something that will last. It’s much greener to spring for a good quality tent that will last you years than skimp on a cheap one that you’ll have to replace over and over. This saves you money in the long run, too, since by the time you replace that cheapo tent a few times, you could have just bought an EZ Up.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to running a green crafty business. I’d love to hear from you, my green crafty pals! What are some ways that you make your crafty business as eco-friendly as possible?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Spec-ta-cles