How to be a sustainable small business?

My whole life has been surrounded by nature. My parents were avid gardeners, bird watchers and fishermen. 

One of my favourite memories growing up was when we arrived at one of our favourite holiday spots on the NSW south coast. It’s a tiny village on a lake that few people (back then) knew about, but Dad said it had the best fishing. 

We arrived to discover a giant Lace Monitor (Goanna) in the tree by the front door, a microbat sleeping in the bedroom and every morning and evening the backyard would be descended upon by dozens of parrots, kookaburras and finches. At sunset we would hear the wild dingoes howling and if we left a blue feather out in the garden, a male satin bowerbird would sneak in and collect it for his bower of treasures.

A love of the natural world is a major facet of my identity, I even completed a PhD in ecology. It is only natural then that a core value of Blue Bower Art is environmental sustainability and conservation. 

I endeavour to produce my art in the most eco-conscious manner attainable. It is not perfect yet but I improve my operations at every opportunity. 

Some of the actions I take to operate sustainably and with minimal impact on the environment are;

  • Art that I create that I have messed up, I shred it and reuse it as protective packaging in my posted products.
  • Packing materials that my supplies arrive in, I keep to also use as protective packaging for posted products or to have on hand at markets for protective packaging. 
  • The cyanotype process does not damage specimens which means I can reuse them. This means that only the minimum amount of plant material is needed. 
  • All my specimens are collected under permit or with permission on private property. Did you know that you need a permit to take plant material from public property in Australia? Please consider that the next time you buy art that uses plant material. 
  • The cyanotype process can be achieved with zero electricity. The process needs UV light and in my artwork, my source of UV is the sun!
  • The cyanotype process needs water. Here on my property where my studio is, I am on 100% rainwater.  
  • I use paper tape instead of plastic.
  • I recycle or donate everything I cannot repurpose myself.
  • Cardboard boxes that I receive supplies in are reused as weed mat in my garden before mulching over the top.
  • Cellophane sleeves that art is packaged in are 100% home compostable.
  • Mailing satchels are from HeapsGood and are also 100% home compostable.
  • Some frames are purchased new but these are made from wood harvested from FSC certified forests. Many frames I use are actually second hand that I find in opportunity shops (thrift shops for my US readers). 
  • My business cards are made from recycled cotton T-shirts.
  • My product tags are made of handmade paper from @zwartko who uses scrap paper, AND they are embedded with delicious seeds of basil, oregano and thyme.
  • I do not send pre printed Thankyou cards and other cards with products because often they are just tossed out anyway. Instead I will use a scrap piece of paper that otherwise would be recycled and leave a hand written thank you note to send with my products. 
I’m by no means perfect but so far in my first year of selling, these are some of the actions I take to be a sustainable and eco-friendly small business. 
Tell me, what actions do you take to be kinder to our earth?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart