craft, plastic, upcycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Create and Sustain was born from the idea that makers can live creatively and sustainably. Our seeds were planted in September 2019 and our long term vision continues to grow. While there are many ways to live creatively and sustainably, one really important aspect to always remember is: IT STARTS WITH YOU.

Over time, little changes you make to your habits make a huge impact and as more and more individuals recognize the need to make changes, even greater impacts can be made. Start small and once a habit is fully incorporated, introduce another. It’s easier to make small changes and over time those changes are more likely to stay with you and become lifelong habits.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. It’s a great mantra, and we should all aim to live by them. We all know the words and what they mean but did you know that there’s actual method to the phrase? There is. I know, right?! Mind. Blown.

These three words tell us that in order to live more sustainably we need to:
1. Reduce what we are using. Use less. Don’t be wasteful. That’s pretty simple, right?

For makers that can mean buying deadstock or found pieces of fabric at a thrift market or garage sale, repurposing clothing or making cloth sacks to take to the market when you buy food – and especially fruit and vegetable bags. It can also mean look to your stash before buying a new piece of material to finish a quilt. Maybe make a t-shirt using a higher quality knit instead of buying an inexpensive fast fashion shirt. Garments that we make are far more sustainable because we use higher quality materials; they are custom fit for our unique bodies and since there was love and time put into making a garment, studies show we wear hand made garments more often and keep them in our closets longer.

2. Reuse what we have.

Makers have long recognized that lots of things we use can be repurposed. It’s as simple as looking to history to see how bed ticking became the middle layer of quilts, garments were cut up to make quilt tops, flour sacks became garments (and actually the basis for sizing dresses) and all manner of not sacrificing anything.

For makers in 2020 we can adjust how we look at what we have and consider how we can reuse items. Maybe take a zipper out of a garment you are no longer wearing and put it into a new garment, tote, or craft project. Reuse any packaging or ribbons or twill that come wrapped around goodies when you buy something – there is always a fun way to incorporate custom items from other makers into your projects. Outside the box creative uses work, too; like using an old wool sweater to make wool dryer balls or unraveling it to make “new” yarn for another project (be sure to clean it first!).

3. Recycle. Recycling is always last. It is the. last. step. In an ideal world we reduce, then we reuse.

As makers, we have the ability to look at how we reduce what we use and reuse what we have to avoid recycling. Only 9% of what is collected in municipal solid waste is actually recycled so there is a lot of room for our community to make significant impacts. Remember: it only takes one person to make changes and create impact for good.

We can’t wait to hear your stories and see your projects. Have you made something using recycled or up-cycled item? Send us a email and photo at contactus@createandsustain.or or tag us on social media so we can see your project!

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