15 Earth Day Ideas for Eco-Conscious Crafting

Pressed flower removed from flower press

In celebration of Earth Day, here are 15 ideas for more eco-conscious crafting and creative projects. Small changes all add up. Little adjustments in you crafting routine or changes in how you choose and use materials can make a big different to the footprint of your creativity. More fun, less waste, and potentially save some money, too? Sounds great to me!  

Balancing Creative Fun with Environmental Impacts

I love to craft and create, but am also conscious of trying to reduce our household waste and footprint.  I’m not ready to give up on some of my not-so-eco-friendly crafting supplies, but I do try to experiment with all things in balance and with consideration. Here are some ideas for those of you trying to do the same. 

15 Earth Day Ideas for Greener Crafts and Creativity

Go Greener in the Craft Room

  • Green you crafting space. Are there opportunities (big or small) that you can take to reduce waste in your crafting space? Check the energy efficiency of your lighting and equipment use.  Set up readily accessible bin(s) for sorting and recycling scrap materials, packaging, paper, etc. and you’ll be more likely to follow through on all your good green intentions.

Create Consciously

  • Consider the full cycle. What happens to your project materials after the craft has been used, becomes outdated, or gets worn out? Can it be deconstructed into salvaged materials for other uses? Recycled or composted? Where does the rubbish go and what is the impact?
  • Create with purpose. Make things that can be enjoyed for a long time or used repeatedly. If you are making single use items, consider whether you can make them recyclable or reuse materials in future projects.
  • Plan the cutting of shapes and patterns to minimise offcut waste.

Organise the Craft Stash for More Fun and Less Waste

  • Organise and destash your supplies. Overflowing with craft supplies? It’s craft destash time. Take inventory of what you have, make plans for stash-busting crafts, and get rid of the excess.
  • Sell, swap, or donate materials and equipment that you no longer use or are upgrading to give them a second lease on life instead of becoming waste.
  • Buy with purpose. The best way to bust the stash is not to create a craft supply overload in the first place. So hard, I know, but if you buy with intent, you’ll keep the stash under control, reduce the risk of materials drying out or becoming outdated, and save money. 
  • Store materials properly to reduce unnecessary waste.  Keep products that can dry out well capped, packed, and sealed. For example, I sometimes craft with polymer clay. It’s not the most eco-conscious material by a long shot, but by storing it properly, at least I can ensure that it all gets used for crafting with minimal rubbish.   Be mindful of storage conditions for materials that are vulnerable to heat, humidity, etc and keep fabrics, papers, and other vulnerable materials sheltered from light fading.
  • Care for your tools and equipment to extend their useful life.   

Shop Consciously for Craft Supplies and Equipment

  • Support ethical suppliers and/or companies that give back to communities or causes that matter to you. Are there changes that you could make to improve the sustainability of your sources?
  • Consider the full cycle of your supplies, their packaging, and their future once you’ve finished with them. Look for products that are made using recycled and/or post-consumer materials, products that can be recycled or composted after use or when disposing of scraps, and/or products that come in minimal, reusable, or recyclable packaging. 
  • Keep it low chemical, where possible. Unless a project needs special finishing characteristics, opt for water-based primers, paints, and coatings for lower volatility and easy soap and water clean-up.  Be mindful of the hidden chemicals lurking in products from dyes, retardants, and other treatments lurking in fabrics.  Buy with care and, where possible, wash and then air dry fabrics outdoors before crafting.
  • Dispose of any hazardous waste appropriately.  When there is no alternative but disposal, do it right.  Check with your local council or waste disposal company for information on chemical waste disposal.  Many have free drop off points for safe disposal.

Get Creative (and Greener) with Supplies

  • Reuse, recycle, and upcycle. Get crafty with salvaged materials. Use creativity to give new life to old items with upcycling projects. 
  • Deconstruct failures and old projects and sort materials for reuse, if possible, or proper disposal.  One of my favourite applications of this is my dog toy hospital, where damaged toys are placed pending repair or deconstruction. It gets a lot of well-nibbled patients!
Bonus Ideas: If sewing (and other fabric crafts) is one of your favourite hobbies, check out our post on sustainable sewing and home textile waste for a detailed look at making your sewing projects more environmentally conscious. I’ve found it a great spark for being more creative with materials, too!
 
Balls of homemade t-shirt yarn

Eco-Conscious Craft Projects

Looking for more green and crafty ideas? You can explore all of our DIY and craft related posts under the related categories and tags here on the blog, including:

We also have several eco-conscious crafting boards on our Pinterest, including:

You’ll also find greener creative ideas scattered through a number of our other boards, such as Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Upcycle, which has a number of DIY ideas for things that can reduce your single use items. 

Earth Day Ideas for Eco-Conscious Crafting
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Bonus Ideas for Creative Seller and Small Businesses

The tips above are for home and hobby crafters, but many creatives also sell online, in markets, or in other ways. You might be surprised at how much you can achieve without investing a lot of time, money or effort into greening your small business practices. There are many ways (including adaptations on the home tips above) to make more eco-conscious choices for your creative or small business.  Here are just a few to spark your green imagination:

  • Consider the footprint of your raw materials and supply sources.  Are there small changes that you could make to improve the sustainability of your sources or reduce waste during your manufacture?
  • Reuse or recycle, where possible, the shipping materials and packaging that comes with your raw materials and other business supplies.
  • Use reusable, recyclable, recycled and/or biodegradable wrapping, packing, and shipping materials when sending out or packaging your products. You can even make this a feature of your business for greater appeal to a conscious customer base.
  • Similarly, select eco-conscious promotional materials, such as post-consumer recycled paper in your business cards and paper product bags.
  • Make eco-conscious choices in your workshop, office or studio, such as switching to energy efficient lighting, managing appliance power use, and using environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • Run a low-paper or paperless office behind your business, with electronic communications and records where possible. 
  • Set up a waste sorting system to streamline your reuse, recycling, and rubbish processes. Composting too, if feasible. Ensure that any waste from your creative process or office activities is properly disposed.  If you have e-waste or hazardous materials, check with your local council on disposal options – many accept small quantities for drop-off free of charge.
  • Sell, swap, or donate materials and equipment that you no longer use or are upgrading to give them a second lease on life instead of becoming waste.


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