How much waste do you create when working on your projects?
Think about it...
Fabric scraps, thread bits, webbing ends, tabs, paper, etc. There's a lot there! Also, imagine what we create in an entire warehouse.
Now I’m going to be very honest with you - we are not sustainability and waste management experts (you’re shocked I know).
However, we have seen a thing or two that might inspire you to start your own sustainability practices at home. Let's explore...
I know I’m not alone in saying that my single best way to mitigate waste is just to be careful with how I use the materials I have. I like to think about where I can cut the fabric to have the largest area to use on a future project.
Once I have the area thought out, I ALWAYS measure three times. Making sure my cuts are spot on is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to mitigate waste.
There comes a point when your cut yardage looks more like lingerie than full material. For many people, this is the point when they throw that fabric away.
But we've discovered that you can actually use some of those scraps for other projects.
In fact, in the past week I've made Christmas gifts for friends and family using mostly scraps. So far this includes tie out reinforcements, zipper pulls, and zipper tags - all from scraps I’ve had lying around.
What other ways do you employ your scraps?
Making high quality items is one of the best ways to eliminate waste.
A backpack that only lasts two seasons means that over the next 30 years, you’re going to have 15 backpacks. If you’re able to make a backpack that lasts 5-7 years, then you cut the amount of waste down significantly.
We recommend that you do extra work to research the best materials, stitches, techniques, and methods to ensure that whatever you make stays around for a while.
You know that backpack that only lasted two years? Well, if you still have it, get it out!
Look and see how you can repair that pack. Patagonia’s Worn Wear has brought popularity to resurrecting equipment from the gear graveyard.
By repairing things like pant buttons, jacket tears, pack holes, and handle rip-offs, you can create perfectly usable gear from the trash pile (and save it from the landfill).
Some scraps are so small that they simply can’t be used.
When those scraps reach the end of the road there is still hope. Some thrift stores, including Goodwill, recycle textile scraps. They sell them to large textile manufacturers who recycle scraps and reuse them for their products.
Collect a bag and bring it to a donation center when the bag is full. We recommend calling your local Goodwill or local waste and recycling management authority to make sure they accept these types of donations.
We hope these ideas help inspire you to implement your own sustainability practices.
And you're not alone...
As a company, we're also putting ourselves under the microscope over the coming months in an effort to mitigate our own waste.
Have other ideas for reducing your DIY waste? We'd love to hear them. Tell us in the comments below!
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