Zero Waste Studio
Earth Warrior makes everything in a zero waste studio
What does this mean?
This means we produce no garbage.
How is this possible you ask. Well let us share with you our process to make this a reality.
When it comes to making our items we start by collecting our textiles and raw goods. We receive a large amount of our textiles from our community. They donate any textiles that they no longer need or anything that has been stained or has a hole in them. (if you want to learn more about donating textiles please click here.) We also work with other textile up-cyclers and recyclers in our community so that if any of us receive textiles we can’t use it is shared amongst us so we can give life to these textiles. Many of the textiles we receive come in plastic garbage bags or blue bags, We use some for our own recycling and our River Valley Garbage Clean Up’s. When we get too many we share these bags with other members in our community that can also reuse them.
For textiles and other raw materials we order in from manufacturers we reuse as much of the packaging as we can and we share packaging that we cannot use with other makers so it can have a second life. Often our orders going out are in repurposed packaging. Our thread spools come wrapped in a small plastic wrap and those we have in a box that we will use for a future project as it cannot be recycled and is too small for repackaging. Though if we can find another maker who has a great idea and wants to use them we would be happy to share them!
Before we start making all of our items, the donated textiles are all cleaned and sorted. To make our laundry as low waste as possible we have teamed up with a local maker who makes all of our Laundry detergent. It is made sustainably with no harmful chemicals. We reuse large pales to store and refill so we can avoid all the packaging. We do use a dryer for most of our items as we live in a winterous climate for over half the year and we also like to make sure that items can handle a dryer. We do not use dryer sheets as our detergent offers anti static properties. During the summer months we do like to airdry when we can with items we know can handle the dryer. Once dried items are sorted into bins for what they will be used for.
The next step is cutting. We make our pattern pieces from old cardboard cereal boxes and other boxes to give it another life. Once they start to get too worn out we either recycle them or share them with members of the permaculture community to use for their gardening needs. The blades we use get sharpened as many times as we can before the blade becomes too thin and we have to send them off to be recycled. The scraps from cutting are then sorted. Large scraps are put aside for fiber artists and other makers who can use them. Smaller scraps and textiles that are too damaged are then sorted by the fibers they are made from. 100% natural fabrics go into one bin and the scraps with synthetic fibers go into another bin. The natural fibers will go to a mushroom farm to be used as a growing mulch, and synthetic fibers are shared with other makers to use as stuffing in dog beds or other projects.
Next we sew up our products. The typical waste from sewing comes from thread scraps and thread spools. To reduce waste here we have sourced 100% cotton thread to use instead of polyester thread. Cotton thread can compost down so it goes in the bin with our natural fabric scraps to be used as a growing mulch. As for the spools we reuse these as seedling starters. There are a number of us here at Earth Warrior who love to grow our own food and the spools work great for planting starter plants. Normal garden trays are so flimsy and we would only get 1 to 2 years out of them. By using old spools we have been getting many more years from them for replanting. We hope as we grow we can share the spools with other local gardeners in our community.
Last is packaging and shipping. We reuse as many preloved packages as possible if we have to purchase new we source 100% recycled packaging. We have also recently switched over to a paper shipping tape instead of plastic. Every little bit helps.
Businesses are the largest contributors to pollution and waste so reducing waste has to start with us. We strive everyday to reduce waste and be the change. From the items we make to reduce single use items in our customers' lives to all of our business practices, we strive to be the change we want to see in the world.