HAPPY EARTH DAY EARTHLINGS! As another Earth Day goes by it always leaves me both happy and sad...happy because my older relatives have finally taken to recycling, sad because couldn't we be doing more?!?
Behind the Thrifting Doors
I did get to work on the production lines at a large chain of thrift stores for awhile, and man, it sure made me realize that as I don't have an issue with hand-me-downs, I'm just fine to never shop at a big box store again!
I know some people who would never buy a kettle or shoes or underwear from a thrift store, but my time behind the front lines did teach me so much about the quality of items kept, what times of years the things I want to find come in and what I should spend my hard earned cash on in other stores or make myself.
I bet you're still thinking about the underwear remark...here's the deal, they would get donations of boxes of NEW undies in packaging from supermarkets, but they were not allowed to resell the packaged undies as such, so they had to be unpackaged and tagged and hung, so it was NEW undies out on those racks. Hope that satisfies the curiosity...lol
Here's how I make my crafting a bit greener and geekier!
Recycle: Saving Superheroes
I still stalk the aisles of thrift stores for vintage superhero sheets to incorporate into my line of tote bags. These are like spotting rare animals in the wild, and one can get very excited once one finds them!
Because of their rarity, I usually have them available at in-person sales so someone is able to take them home that day! If any remain, they do make it to my website, but once they are gone, they are usually gone for good!
I am also open to making items from your sheets that fans have saved, should they like pillows, totes, messenger bags or other items created from them, that are more usable and practical than a twin bedsheet! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have a project in mind!
Clever Recycling of Clips
While sorting on the production lines, we would come across hundreds of lanyards from conferences that folks probably had to attend for business, and then promptly got rid of those "fun, novelty" giveaways. Most of the time the large thrift stores did not find them valuable at all or they just sit unpurchased, because, well, what will someone do with them?!
Well, I thought this was super sad, and also realized that the clip on the end of most of them is the same as I was using on my coin purses and wristlets!
So off I went to the local MCC's to collect these lanyards that just sit unpurchased and asked them to collect them for me, rather than garbage them.
I also find that keychains and rings can be plentiful and are generally unused yet made of strong materials. So I collect them up as well!
Reuse: Move to Reusing Straps on Bags & Purses
I used to sew all my bags with the same cloth straps as the fabric the bag was made from, but was noticing that it does tend to waste quite a lot of fabric, and that fans were asking for adjustable strap bags time and time again.
From my time on the line, I knew that many solo, high-quality laptop and briefcase straps came in as well as purse handles that could still carry your goods many more miles! And the feedback has been all good!
Reduce: Waste Reduction in the Fabric Department
Lastly, not only are most of my handmade geekery is created from fabric made with eco-friendly printing practices, water-based inks, they are custom print on-demand to reduce waste!
This way I only print what I need, when I need it and reduce the amount of waste as well. This is why you will see that many items in my shop have a "CREATION TIME" which is to account for the printing process and sewing!
As I continue to create I will continue to look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle to keep things as friendly to our planet as possible!
Now get out there and keep our only planet clean while enjoying the sun, air, water and cool breeze that promises to bring us spring!
Do you have any tips or tricks? Feel free to share them in the comments below, I'd love to hear them!