Thursday, August 7, 2008


Oh, hi there. I'm back. I actually haven't left yet. I've been having an internal debate with myself over my pottery packaging materials and my greening desires. At my house we recycle all we can, use CFLs on all of our lamps and overheads (except those with dimmers, because I can't find CFLs that work with dimmers), eat organic and local as much as possible, and it's all going really well except with my packaging materials. Boxes I don't worry about- they're recycleable and I reuse the ones that come to the house or recycle them in our bins. I reuse bubblewrap- I've only had to buy a single roll of bubblewrap this year, so that's not SO terrible. But you know what I hate? The foam in the tops and bottoms of my boxes. My dad and stepmother shipped medical/surgical devices for years- very delicate stuff- and always used egg-crate mattress type foam. It's wonderful stuff except for how its made. And that it's not exactly biodegradable. I've reused all of it that they've sent me over the years and am nearing the end of the foam that I bought- a single twin-sized piece that was $10 at the biggest big-box store that I don't like to shop at. I'm wondering if shredded/crumpled newspaper would work as well as it does. I dislike packing peanuts, although the corn-based ones are okay- though corn-based anything is another issue entirely.

Pottery-making isn't exactly earth-friendly. Clay is mined, the glazes are toxic chemicals until firing, and the firing uses a LOT of energy. On the up side, all of my "throw aways" are recycled into mosaics or hung as garden art, I re-wet and re-use all of my clay scraps, slip, and pieces that crack or warp during drying, and most people don't just pitch a handmade pottery piece after a year or so, the way one might with a big-box dish. The production of my pottery doesn't bother my eco-consicence, but my shipping materials do.

Okay. Now I'm packing, and I'll be back next week!


Sarah-potterknitter said...

If you can find a restaurant that uses lots of real eggs, the large flats are great for the sides of boxes! They take up lots of space to reduce the peanut use. Or for smaller boxes regular egg cartons (closed) also take up lots of space.

Tiffany said...

It's great that you put so much thought into being eco-friendly.
I have been meaning to tell you for awhile now how beautiful your pottery is!

Leila said...

It is nice to see someone putting so much thought into this! I hate all of those packing materials as well. They are all just so wasteful / wasted. If it makes you feel a small bit better, at least, I have reused every bit of packing material that my fantastic pieces from you arrived with (and, as far as I know, the person that I sent them too will reuse them as well). And I did appreciate very much how safely they were packed.

amy h said...

Every time I get a package, we save the materials for repackaging. When I was actually mailing pottery (almost, um, a year ago?), I reused packing peanuts and still have more to spare. I also wrapped each piece in a sheet of bendable corrugated cardboard. If you use just one piece of tape, you can kind of fold the ends in on itself. It's hard to explain. It's recycled and recyclable. And I didn't have any breakage.