Happy Earth Day! Today I wanted to celebrate by providing you with some simple tips on how to support the environment through your creative business.
Did you know "Around 50% of plastic is used just once and thrown away*" and "the most commonly used plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics that never fully degrade in the ocean. Instead, they exist indefinitely**" Facts like these have been such an eye opener for me when it comes to using plastic. Being environmentally friendly has always been an important aspect of my life, having grown up on the beautiful North Devon coast, recycling was a natural thing to do there. Not only that it was also apparent how we were impacting our beaches with the noticeable plastic bottles and bags that would wash up onto our shores. It wasn't however until I watched A Plastic Ocean on Netflix did it open my eyes to the true impact we are having on the whole world when it comes to plastic. In 2018 I made a dedicated choice to start sharing my values around being environmentally friendly and I hope this blog post inspires you to make some positive changes and share these experiences with your audience.
1. LEARN ABOUT YOUR IMPACT
First thing is first, learning about both your personal and business impact on the environment will help you when it comes to devising ways to reduce this impact. On Earth Day's website you can use their plastic pollution calculator to really get you thinking about how much plastic you use both personally or in your business. I also really like their plastic pollution quiz, I learnt a lot about the use of plastic on the environment whilst taking this. The WWF also have a good carbon footprint calculator.
2. REDUCE YOUR IMPACT
Now you've spent some time learning about how you and your business might impact the environment, it's time to brainstorm how you can reduce this impact. The COTAP website has some great resources in learning how to reduce your carbon footprint.
Things to think about
- Are there any electrical items you leave on over night that you could instead turn off?
- How much 'one use' plastic are you using, what's an alternative you can use?
- What are your CO2 emissions as a business, are there ways you can offset these?
- What paper bills and statements are you receiving, can you get these emailed instead?
When it comes to reducing one-use plastic I was so excited when Chloe Hall Illustration shared on Instagram that she was making changes to her business by purchasing recycled envelopes, recycled paper and changing her plastic packaging to bio-degradable packaging.
"I bought 1000 units of the bio-degradable bags for my notebooks and greeting cards and 1000 recycled envelopes. The initial cost was quite high but when factored into the product cost and how much of a difference it will make it is worth it! I got them from Eco-Craft. I'm working on all my packaging being packaged in these bio-degradable bags too!"
- Chloe Hall Illustration
3. EDUCATE AND INSPIRE
Having the knowledge and the experience in making changes to your business you can now educate and inspire others to do the same. This is just as vital as making the changes yourself, not only this it can be the perfect way to create content for your business too.
One person I love to follow who does this so well is Mélanie Johnsson, a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and letterer. Through her hand lettering and illustration Mélanie promotes ways for you to become more environmentally friendly via artwork on her Instagram. Not only that, Mélanie publicly promotes that she chooses not to work with businesses who have a negative impact on our environment.
"In 2018, I made the conscious move to only working with companies that care about the planet and create products or services that are eco-friendly, sustainable and do good. It was important for me to have my values be reflected in who I work with. I started turning down a lot of work with companies doing things that are detrimental to the environment, such as plastic phone case companies or non-ethical fashion businesses. I think it’s really important that we, as designers, use our skills to make the world a better and safer place and do everything we can to preserve this beautiful blue planet"
- Mélanie Johnsson
4. JOIN FORCES
Lastly, you can amplify your voice by working with and supporting non-profits who are working hard to reduce our impact on the environment via films, community groups, education, etc.
Jennie Lewis, Creative Director of SunSide Studio, is from North Devon and knows all too well the impact on the environment. I was inspired by her kind donation of a free branding project to the local organisation Plastic Free North Devon as well as promoting to her clients helpful ways to make environmentally friendly changes.
"Living by the sea and seeing on a daily basis the amount of plastic washed up on our shores is enough for anybody to think about what they're putting out into the world. From day one of opening SunSide Studio environmental sustainability has been at the forefront of my decision making - which clients I work with, which materials we use, how we could reduce the amount of waste and single-use plastic.
As well as guiding clients in better directions, we've also donated a considerable amount of time and talent to working with organisations who are trying to make a difference - reducing the impacts we all have on the planet and especially our seas. So many of these awesome projects are grassroots, run by volunteers and so it's so important to help them communicate their message effectively - get it out there and tell the stories that need to be told! This year we've been working with Plastic Free North Devon - we donated a full branding project which was so fun to work with... and now they have the funding to produce loads of fantastic material to get the message even further. It doesn't hurt the business that we are now being paid for our talents too!"
Jennie Lewis - Sunside Studio
I wish you all a very happy Earth Day!