The last few years have seen a huge change in how I operate my little shop. Especially in how I stock it.
I’m strongly of the belief that every decision we make to purchase a yarn has an environmental impact and we can’t make the ‘perfect’ choice. No choice is free of an environmental or ethical impact.
Whether you choose man made or natural fibres there is a cost greater than financial.
Acrylic yarns are adding more micro plastics to our environments
The chemicals used to fertilise soils and worm animals ends up in our oceans and are partly to blame for the damage done to the Great Barrier Reef .
Then there is the methane produced by animals which contributes to planet warming.
Then there is the welfare of animals that are breed for human needs.
Silk production involves boiling alive the worms. Possum yarns involves killing the possums.
Cotton production involves a lot of water and chemicals. Insecticides which are leading to insect extinction .
My point being no matter what yarn. There is an environmental price.
The more I contemplate the environmental impact of yarn and textiles the more confused and (guilty) I feel.
The changes I have made in my store:
1. I try to buy as local as possible, to reduce the environmental transportation cost. I no longer direct import from overseas. I only buy from Australian Wholesalers. Even though some of the yarn is made overseas. The wholesalers import in large containers. Reducing packaging. Plus as bigger businesses than mine I rely on Australian wholesale businesses to do due diligence when sourcing their products to ensure that they are produced in ethical ways. Particularly in the use of slave labor.
2. When posting I recycle as much as I can. Re using packaging.
3. I try to buy stock that is made here in Australia and New Zealand.
4. I look for recycled yarn. They too have ‘costs’ but I feel this at least reduces landfill.
5. I no longer follow social media seeing all the latest trendy yarns and needle choices. So I no longer have that, ‘I must update my needles and buy that latest must have marketed yarn.’ feeling. I’m learning to make do with what I already have. Rather than lusting after that next must have ‘tool’.
6. My little shop is a ‘small’ business and I focus on my small local community and making meaningful connections within my town. Now I’m no longer on the socials, I sit outside the shop and chat to people as I craft. Offering much needed connection to others and myself.
Small is beautiful.