How is Howell Illustration Zero Waste?

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog! I've been talking a lot recently about sustainability and zero waste living, but how does that relate to my business? Well, you're about to find out.

Howell Illustration has been slowly going Zero Waste since the middle of 2018. This means that I'm looking for ways constantly to not only reduce my waste, but reduce the waste I give to the customer too. I'm pretty happy with how it's been going so far, so I thought I'd share an update with everyone. Here are the ways in which I've made improvements to my small business:

1. My cards - I'm so proud of my cards! My cards and packaging are completely, 100% waste free for you, the customer, and they are recycled, so they close the loop from the source. What does this mean? It means that my cards require no new resources to make. The are recycled and recyclable, and since paper can be recycled infinitely, it means they can just stay in that loop forever, requiring no new resources, just providing little slices of joy to those who receive them. They are packaged entirely without plastic in recycled paper bags, and if you buy a set, they come in little recycled boxes with a red paper bow. Also, if you buy them on Etsy, Etsy now carbon offset their shipping. Awesome.

2. The 'plastic' that goes around my prints, is not, in fact, plastic. It's corn starch turned into little, biodegradable pockets. My prints are all backed on recycled mount board, and I recently found paper corners to hold them on to the backing, as opposed to plastic corners. Good times all round.

Howell Illustration gives 10% of all earnings to a woodland charity in the UK

3. I give 10% of my profits to two different charities. Depending on what you buy, I give my profits to a wildlife charity, or a charity working to conserve woodlands here in the UK. I'm currently looking into offsetting the driving I do for work - with any luck I'll be able to put that in place soon.

4. Every element is carefully considered: my table covers at my fairs are 100% organic cotton/linen, my stickers are non-shiny, my paper bags are recycled, my print holders are old metal toast racks, my signs are wooden, my organic cotton branded t-shirt is from Rapanui, an excellent sustainable fashion brand, my business cards are made from recycled T-shirts . . . I could go on, but that could also get very boring!

5. I source from the UK wherever possible, and request that things are posted to me without plastic

6. I recycle all of my ink cartridges through Recycle 4 Charity, which contributes to WWF by my choice

7. For framed artwork, I have started upcycling old frames found in charity stores, instead of buying new ones. I use paint from either Earthborn (a clay paint made without chemicals), or eco-friendly, National Trust brand Little Greene. I will probably upload a video on how I do that soon. Are you interested? Comment below!

8. Everything, and I mean everything is posted out without any sign of plastic packaging whatsoever, unless this has been reused from a parcel I received.

And that's all for now! I'm constantly finding new ways to be more sustainable, so if you have any tips for me, go ahead and post them below :)

Nicola x

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