Ahh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year (again!). There are gifts and cards and tags to be made and things to wrap and give to the ones we love. But before you go nuts buying ribbon, gift bows, and sparkly things, read our top tips to ensure you’re a conscious crafter this holiday season.
Don’t get us wrong, we love crafting as much as the next person. But all of that extra stuff (that typically gets thrown away faster than you can say ho ho ho), is eye-wateringly wasteful and unnecessary. Which is why we’ve created a quick guide filled with handy tips and upcycling ideas that will help you have a more conscious, crafty Christmas. Because gifting and crafting doesn’t have to be planet-killing!
1. Be creative with your gift wrapping
In Britain alone, 108 million rolls of wrapping paper will be used and thrown away this year.
And most of that paper isn’t even recyclable. Wrapping paper is typically used just once before being thrown away. Talk about being incredibly wasteful! Additionally, fibres found in cheaper types of paper are not strong enough to recycle. Wrapping paper is also often dyed and laminated and can also contain non-paper additives such as gold and silver colouring, glitter and plastics. And to compound all of this, it usually has sticky tape still attached which makes it unrecyclable to boot. The solution is so simple: avoid using paper entirely by using reusable decorative tins, baskets or boxes! Or use DIY decorative fabric wraps that can be reused multiple times.
Lefthandesign creates unique, and sustainable product ranges for gifting. It celebrates collections inspired by the simple joys of travel, art, nature, and food with its roots in paper goods. All of its products are ethically produced using the highest quality eco-friendly, organic, recycled materials. It has a fantastic array of reusable gifting pouches and bags, making it easy to beautifully present gifts for your friend and family.
Or you can always upcycle material instead!
For every tonne of discarded textiles used again, 20 tons of CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere.
Behind every upcycled product, there is a maker who strongly believes in a level of craftsmanship. After decades of consuming mass-produced items straight off a production line and duplicated in their thousands, there’s nothing more special than receiving something genuinely unique. Upcycled products celebrate people who love making things with their bare hands and encourage creativity that benefits both the environment and society. And not only will upcycling save materials from going into the landfills, but it’ll also save you serious cash and gain you mad skills, too. Anything you make will be well and truly one-of-a-kind, which we’re sure your recipients will cherish. Indeed, there is no limit to what you can upcycle; from old cards and tins to crayons, glass bottles, socks (which you can turn into heating bags!), and even old t-shirts, the sky’s the limit. Put your pedal to the metal and see what that mushy pink clump of smart-cells up in your head can do.`
Rummage through your houses, your wardrobe, your bin or even look to your friends’ bins (!) for inspiration. Declutter your home and see what you can turn into your next beautiful Christmas decoration or upcycled present for Uncle Joe. Here are over 200 upcycling ideas to get you started. Get creative!
3. Use FSC-Certified, 100% PCP Recycled Paper or Stone Paper
Recycling reduces CO2 emissions by 20% in comparison to incinerating the paper.
Paper fibres can be recycled 4 to 5 times.
No surprises that recycled paper is the greenest option: it uses less energy, water, and produces lower carbon emissions than the manufacturing of non-recycled paper and reduces the amount of waste in landfills. On average, the production of virgin fibre paper, followed by incineration uses twice as much energy than it takes to produce recycled paper. With advances in technology and processes, recycled paper is now as white and has the same print performance as non-recycled paper.
Stone paper is future-friendly, made from one of the most abundant substances on earth: calcium carbonate. Karst Stone Paper repurposes waste stone produced by the mining industry and construction industry, crushes it into a powder, and combines it with a non-toxic, recyclable binding agent to make stone paper. Not one drop of water nor any trees are harmed in the making of these notebooks. Its products are a fantastic alternative to traditional pulp paper that use no trees, water, waste, acids or bleaches to produce. Not only are they a better alternative, but it’s also waterproof and tear-resistant. Its manufacturing process is powered in part by solar energy and leaves a 60% smaller carbon footprint than traditional paper.
4. Use non-toxic paints and inks, environmentally friendly solvents and thinners
11 ink cartridges per second and 1 million cartridges per day are thrown away.
It takes 1000 years for a print cartridge to decompose in a landfill site fully.
Manufacturing just one single toner cartridge emits around 4.8kg CO2 Greenhouse Gases per cartridge. And that’s only for the cartridge. The toner inside has a much harsher effect on the environment. Petroleum-based inks also tend to contain a high amount of volatile organic compounds such as toluene, benzene and xylene. These compounds can be very harmful to the environment, wildlife and people: benzene is a common carcinogen!
In contrast, soy-based ink is an excellent alternative to petroleum or oil-based inks. Not only is it great for the environment and your eco-friendly crafting needs, but it can be used to produce brighter, more vibrant colours. The result is an eco-friendly and visually appealing product every time (especially when combined with recycled paper!).
Carda & Co are about more than just paper. It’s about the effect, the experiences and the impressions that our paper products bring to your life. Be it a social greeting card, a postcard, a piece of wall art, a business card, a branded parcel or a brand new artistic creation. And it makes beautiful things that matter. It’s also mindful of the environment and does its part by minimising wastage, using partial or fully recycled materials, and printing only on FSC Certified or recycled materials using soy-based inks.
5. Go digital!
In the UK alone, 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bin every year. That’s a lot of cards which could easily be recycled!
The best way to reduce your impact on the planet is to start at the source and stop creating waste altogether. One way you can go zero-waste with your Christmas Crafts is to go digital. Send out e-cards and emails instead of letters, and try your hand at digital painting on an iPad or a drawing tablet. Digital art also has numerous benefits: You can quickly fix mistakes, your artwork is much less likely to get damaged, you can’t “run out” of materials and your art won’t take up lots of precious space.
Wherever you want. Go try out a bunch of different tablets and websites and see which works the best for you. We enjoy iPad Pros paired with the Apple pencil, and using apps such as Canva, Adobe Sketch and Procreate.
5. Limit or plan out your waste (and what you’re going to do with it)
In 2017, Singapore generated over 7.70 million tonnes of solid waste. Yes, really.
Planning out your waste is one of the easiest ways to reduce it. Thinking about what you’re going to buy (and use) allows you to choose products that are recycled, recyclable, repairable, reusable or refillable. And to find (and purchase) quality products that will last, rather than short-life or disposable products. Planning for your waste also allows you to purchase items in bulk, thus minimising packaging. It also means you’ll have fewer waste materials left-over after all your crafting is done. And don’t forget to download the Gravo app. It’s super easy to use and gamifies and rewards your recycling efforts. Before you know it, recycling everything possible will become strangely addictive.
LESS! Plan out what you’ll need and shop judiciously. Avoid making impulse purchases that you know are only going to end up in the bin. And use recycled materials wherever you can.
7. Dispose of your waste materials correctly
Proper waste disposal is super crucial because certain types of wastes (such as commonly used paint thinners) can be hazardous and can contaminate the environment if not handled properly. These types of waste also have the potential to cause disease or get into water supplies. There are rules and regulations in place for how specific types of waste should be disposed of, and following them allows for toxic waste to be safely discarded without the risk of environmental contamination. Here’s everything you need to know about dealing with hazardous waste in Singapore.
8. Buy locally
Air transport produces nearly 60 times more carbon dioxide equivalent emissions than ocean transport.
Buying local increases your community’s health, promotes local wealth, reduces the use of fossil fuels, utilises less plastic packaging, uses land more productively and creates greater connections between people and the planet. You can also save a ton of money (think of all those shipping fees you won’t be paying!), and you’re more likely to get better service and find products that work better for you.
A quick browse through our Conscious Directory will help you find some of the best local conscious brands. Alternatively, walk through your neighbourhood and find hidden gems of art stores such as Straits Art and Overjoyed.
That’s enough of how you can make an artistic difference – have you checked out all the little ways to have a greener Christmas this year yet? Have a read of how you can have a zero-waste Christmas, where to find the best conscious stocking fillers and sustainable corporate gifts that will surprise and delight!
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