In the jewellery workshop: Going green at your workbench part 1

Making jewellery is a fantastic pastime, whether you’re making it your career, to give to friends, or to wear yourself.

One way of making your jewellery even more special is to be as environmentally friendly as possible – it also makes a great sales story. But don’t worry, as London Jewellery School tutor Penny Akester tells us, going green doesn’t have to be hard work or involve making massive changes to your life, and ethical jewellery doesn’t just have to be hippy style beads, there are lots of small changes you can consider to lessen the impact of your jewellery on the planet.

Some of the easiest changes you can consider are general – it’s not only about the jewellery itself, you can think about all the other resources associated with creating and promoting your jewellery too…

Energy Supply

The energy you use can be straightforward to change and can make a big difference. A lot of suppliers offer a ‘green’ tariff and if you decide to go further and use a guaranteed 100% ethical energy supply, Good Energy and Ecotricity offer this in the UK and the difference in price from ‘standard’ supply is not usually much.

jewellery workshop

You can make your workshop greener through invisible means such as changing your electricity supplier

Print

If you get any printing done such as business cards or flyers, look for FSC Certified paper or card stock as a minimum guarantee of sustainability in the way the trees are sourced for paper – to go one step further, look for recycled post consumer waste papers. Standard printing inks can also be damaging to the environment so look for vegetable inks instead.

See www.lovelyasatree.com for more information about printing – why and how to find and use sustainable sources.

Packaging

If you are looking at jewellery boxes and packaging for your creations, look for card boxes made from recycled board, acid free tissue, and non acetate ribbon – all of these are available from the Tiny Box Company.

Website

If you have a website for your jewellery, your website will be hosted on a server which uses a lot of electricity – it is estimated that the IT industry has as large a carbon footprint as the aviation industry. Look for a ‘green’ hosting company that either offsets it’s carbon footprint or uses renewable energy.

Electronics

Whenever you next replace your printer, computer, mobile or any other equipment, make sure you choose an energy efficient replacement – this will save energy and therefore save you money too. Also think about how you dispose of your old item – there are many places you can swap, recycle or donate old electronics.

For more information about what you buy, www.ethicalconsumer.org provides comparative information on hundreds of different consumer products. You can also find information at http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/changing_the_way_we_live/ or get a free daily tip to your e-mail inbox from Friends of the Earth by clicking on the link.

Read part two of Penny’s advice on going green in the jewellery workshop.

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