As an artisan entrepreneur, you most likely work with single-use resources on a regular basis. Not only are single-use materials and tools unnecessarily clogging landfills, but they also are not cost-effective. Working sustainability into your craft doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Here are some tips for being an eco-friendly business.

Be Aware

A great first step to take as an entrepreneur who is environmentally conscious is to be aware of the consequences of human impact on the environment. 

Without change:

  • Acidification of the oceans will impact species’ habitats.
  • Sea levels will rise, affecting coasts everywhere and covering whole landmasses.
  • There will be an increase in extreme weather, including severe droughts and floods.

In order for sustainability to be effective, we need to focus on what we can do in the short-term to create better opportunities for the long-term. 

Brainstorm

Anybody can plant trees to help increase oxygen supplies, but what about the pollution we pump into the air every day? What are ways you can help to reverse that? 

Think about the future generations of entrepreneurs. What world do you want to leave your children or those you mentor with? Being a sustainable and environmentally-conscious entrepreneur means immersing yourself in the world outside of your workshop. Go for a walk or hike and find something that you want to focus your efforts on conserving or making better. 

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to look at the big picture of things. How can one person make an impact? Start small or with one goal in mind. It can be lowering the amount of product waste you produce or the amount of energy you use to create your product. Write your conservation goals down and remind yourself of them while creating. Members like Cody of Untitled_Co, Gordon of Salvaged Woodworks, and Ray of Ray’s Reusables have all made it an ethos of their brands to utilize reclaimed materials, such as fabric, wood, and metal to help reduce waste.

Be Mindful When Creating

As entrepreneurs in 2020, being mindful of the environment is as important as ever. Crafts should cause as minimal damage to the ecosystems as possible. It’s one thing to be conscious of the materials you are putting into your projects, but what about your end products? Is what you are producing environmentally friendly as a whole? Being mindful of your carbon footprint seems small, but can make a big change if it becomes a larger movement.

Everyone has probably hard of these conservation tactics we’re supposed to follow:

  • Recycling 
  • Turning off lights when not in use
  • Using energy-efficient lightbulbs
  • Carpooling

How can you go above and beyond these practices to make your creations even more eco-friendly? This might require switching out some of your materials with ones that are less harmful to the environment. Here are some more ideas you can try:

Save Energy

Saving electricity does in fact positively affect the environment, so turning off your machines and tools when they’re not in use is a big one. It sounds like common sense, but it’s an easy thing to forget when you’re busy crafting away. To help, leave notes on your work tables and equipment as reminders for yourself. 

Share Tools

NextFab is a collaborative makerspace community that allows members to network, gain valuable skills, and create their products. The best part? NextFab provides members access to shared tools and resources that they might not have been able to afford on their own. 

NextFab’s newest shared workspace location in North Philly is particularly focused on sustainability. The location works in conjunction with the Philadelphia nonprofit, The Resource Exchange, whose goal is to incentivize environmental consciousness. The Resource Exchange offers pre-used creative materials at a largely reduced price. This is a great opportunity for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to get their hands on valuable materials for upcycling without breaking the bank or adding to a landfill. Beaty American can also be found at NextFab North Philly, where local owner Bob Beaty salvaged and repurposed architectural parts, furniture, and materials, available for sale. 

Upcycle

Upcycling takes the pressure off of landfills. One way to upcycle is to give materials you would normally throw away a new purpose. You can also be innovative by deconstructing old projects and giving them new life. At NextFab, we advocate for avoiding non-reusable resources. All our locations help entrepreneurs by collecting sawdust, wood scraps, and recycling metal. We provide scrap bins for members to take, drop, or swap materials free of charge. These materials range from wood and metals to foam and acrylics, perfect for implementing in your original creations. 

Ready to Start?

In order to change how we impact the environment, we have to start with small changes in our everyday production. To learn more about joining NextFab and The Resource Exchange’s sustainability practices, head to our website.