I’ve had a few conversations recently about eco-friendly crafts and supplies that have made it really clear to me that green crafting is not a black and white thing. Like so many other things, there’s definitely a continuum with green crafting, and lately I’ve started to wonder how “green” a project needs to be for it to be an eco craft.
This is something I touched on on my personal site when I got into what upcycling really means, but upcycling and green crafting aren’t always the same. For me, I think green crafting includes projects that do one or more of these things:
- Uses organic or upcycled materials and low-impact alternatives, like zero-VOC paints and low-VOC adhesives.
- Diverts waste from the landfill.
- Replaces something disposable with something reusable.
But what about projects that do follow these rules, but also contain other components? Maybe you’re making a snack bag, but the cotton you use isn’t organic. Is that still a green craft? What about using reclaimed materials to create an art piece that also includes new paper?
What makes a craft green?
I have sort of a weird double-standard here. In my own craft room, I’m kind of a stickler most of the time, and I’ve been known to totally scrap an idea if I feel like it’s going to require using materials that aren’t eco-friendly, but when it comes to other folks’ crafts, I tend to see it differently. Let’s not get into what that probably says about me, but let’s talk about those two viewpoints instead.
What does green crafting mean to you? Do you have the same standards for your own crafts as for other green crafts you come across? I want to hear from you guys!
Julie made a comment recently, in response to a comment that making buttons out of shrunken, reclaimed plastic was not green, because of off-gassing:
Depends on your outlook. In my ethic, in which there’s room for everyone who tries to make a difference, re-using something instead of discarding it and purchasing something new that has been manufactured and shipped to my location is always a good choice, even if it may off-gas a take-out container’s worth of gases.
I think this is a great example of the continuum I’m talking about. For the original commenter, off gassing is an issue that outweighs diverting landfill waste, but for Julie the positives of this craft outweighed the impact from shrinking the plastic.
Pretty much every craft project is going to have an impact. If you’re using organic cotton fabric and thread to make reusable lunch bags, you’re still using electricity (probably from coal) when you run that sewing machine, right? Using reclaimed paper and eco glue to do a scrap-booking project? That glue still has an impact, and it comes in a single use plastic container.
I guess what I’m saying here is that it’s complicated, and I thought you guys might like to go down this rabbit hole with me and discuss! What does green crafting mean to you?