Hello and happy Monday my friends. Did you know it is Zero waste week? At a time when our planet really needs us to all take a stand and do our part I’m having a hard look at myself and my business!
So what does zero waste actually mean?
Well it’s the idea that ultimately we have zero waste (it’s in the name lol) however, for most of us this is unrealistic so I think it is more about identifying the areas in your life/business in which you can cut back.
You may find that you will have areas of zero waste. For example jewellery is zero waste. Once you have a piece of jewellery it will last a life time and can be passed down through the generations. But what if you grow tired of the design I hear you ask? Well you take it to a jewellers that specialises in melting down precious metals (precious metals can be melted down an infinite number of times) and get them to design and make a new piece for you, it's life is extended and it doesn't end up in landfill...this is an example of circular economy (the product you buy can be reused and has zero waste -this is the way forward for all products).
Once you start tackling zero waste in one area you will find your mind starts to move on to other areas too!
How to go about achieving zero waste....
You look at the five R’s…..
Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.
KL jewellery designs already sells the zero waste product but for that's not enough, I need to make the process as zero waste as possible. From day one I've been environmentally conscious, as I started using as much recycled silver as possible and why shouldn’t I? The recycling of silver does not diminish it’s properties in any way and it is more environmentally friendly with the main advantage for me personally is the removing of mines from the process, which can be harmful to humans and also the surrounding environment. I’m sure you will agree that this was a great start but there was room for continuing this throughout my business even more. Here are some of the areas in which I have already taken a stand and why…….
At a time where we are bombarded with marketing it can make it hard to say no to buying. I will put my hand up and say yes I’ve been guilty of this, after all I’m a jeweller and I love sparkle, a new gemstone maybe? Or how about a new tool, a girl can never have enough tools, right? But now I ask myself questions before I buy like can I refuse this? Will it make my business less efficient or will it hold me back from producing great jewellery if I don’t have it? If the answer is no then I just don’t buy it. However if the answer is yes then I ask if I can get it in a more eco-conscious way for example second hand and if this isn’t an option I check out the companies environmental ethos before I choose who to buy it from. A good example of this is in my jewellery packaging. It can be hard to find packaging to fit with your brand that is made from recycled material (my boxes are made from eco friendly materials however the insert where you put the jewellery is not as ecofriendly this is a dilemma I am currently working on. I want to make sure my jewellery when posted out arrives to you safe…I just need to find the right product can do this, if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below.
When I’m tidying my studio (this needs done more than you may think….it’s organized chaos really lol) I try to be ruthless and clear out. On my more recent tidying sessions I have been surprised at my collection of sterling silver - non recycled sterling silver, in my quest to continually buy better (there are more options available now to buy recycled sterling silver than before) I have forgotten about supplies that I have (this really did make me feel very disappointed in myself) so now my aim is to use up all the pieces I have including scrap silver. This will help reduce my current supplies and hopefully help encourage better stock take in my business.
Rot sounds like a weird consideration as no one likes to think their purchases will rot lol. But it has been a mantra in my house (can I buy this in a compostable version?) since the school declared once the kids went back to school after the first Covid lockdown that children had to use lunch packaging that could go straight in the bin…which meant they had to use plastic bottles (yes the school said this)! I know I wasn’t the only parent to be outraged by this and the principle was inundated with complaints however it didn’t change the rules. I didn’t want to upset my kids by making them the children that rebelled so we reached an agreement. They agreed that plastic bottles was a compromise too far so they wanted to use their reusable beakers but as for the packaging of their lunch I bought all compostable bags etc and if the teacher didn’t supply a compostable bin they were to bring it home. Initially it was brought home but then some teachers did take a stand. By the end of first term they were back to their reusable boxes. Ok so this was information you may not have needed but I’m telling you this because as I was doing my research and it really opened my eyes into how many compostable items there are out there, you do have to search for some but others you will find easily enough. I guess my most proud compostable products are in my packaging. The envelope in which I post out your jewellery in can go straight in the compost bin and the bag that holds your jewellery box and cleaner is made of a cotton/linen mix and can be buried in the garden and should decompose within 6 months….I have tried it and it worked! The padding I use inside the envelope comes from items I have received in the post and it can be either composted or recycled.
So my product is zero waste but is my business zero waste …. Not 100% but I am continually improving. The jewellery products which I sell have recycled silver in them some are 100% recycled others may have a little that isn’t but as I move forward I hope that I will come to the day in which I can say yes all pieces are 100% recycled. The sea glass pieces which I use are all found locally and you get the added benefit of knowing that it is helping to clean the beaches by removing this. I know that there is still a way to go before our planet reaches a sustainable point and there is only so much I can do which is why KL jewellery designs has partnered with Ecologi (you can check my account here) to help build forests, mangroves and also helps to improve the living conditions in areas of need, - every little helps, right?
Here is my promise to you…..with every new step or decision I need to make in my business going forward I will be asking myself the 5 R’s and I hope that next year when we hit zero waste week again, I will have new and more improved zero waste systems to report.
Tell me, will you be applying the 5 R’s for Zero waste week?
Well that’s all for this week folks, I hope you got a better understanding into KL jewellery designs principles and if you have any suggestions for me on how I can further make improvements I would love to hear from you.
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Until next week, stay safe, keep communicating and always sparkle!