There are so many things wrong with the planet at the moment (climate change, overpopulation, plastic-filled oceans, disappearing species, palm oil, antibiotic resistance, dying bees, aaaaaah!) that I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed and powerless. So I decided to pick one issue to focus on, one that I've witnessed first hand, the easiest one to make an impact on, and also the one annoys me the most...Plastic in our oceans!
Here's a small fraction of the plastic I picked up on a beach in Greece two years ago. That's when it really hit home. Many of the things you see in the hat are completely unnecessary or replaceable.
The thing is, while human development is always at the root of the problem, I strongly believe human intelligence can also be the solution, and that is very positive and reassuring. All it takes is one particularly clever and motivated person to start a brilliant engineering project, and we may be on the right track. Enter The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organisation developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Their potential and what they have already achieved is truly amazing.
5% of all the online sales of the sea-themed Sunset collection will be donated to The Ocean Cleanup.
And before you say 5% of one collection's sales??! What's that gonna do really?! Well, it's gonna make me feel a bit better for starters. And you too hopefully. And I've got to start somewhere (aliquo is no big corporation). But obviously it doesn't stop there! It's one thing to try to remove the existing plastic from the ocean, but it's totally useless if we keep dumping more in.
So here's what I'm doing to make aliquo jewellery plastic-free and environmentally-friendly:
- All the outer packaging for your orders is now paper or cardboard, even the padded envelopes use paper-padding instead of bubblewrap, so they are 100% recyclable.
- Each piece of jewellery comes in a velvet pouch that I hope you will keep forever.
- The cotton buds I use to clean pieces before glueing stones/enamelling have a paper stem. No plastic cotton buds. And they come in a cardboard box too.
- Everything that can be recycled gets recycled (all paper and metal)
- No plastic bin bags for whatever needs to go out as waste (which is very little), I use small compostable bags.
- My gold platers adhere fully to all environmental regulations (important for the treatment of the waste water from the plating process)
I'm aware that it's not quite perfect yet, and there are areas I'm still working on:
- Wholesale packaging: when I send an order to a shop, each piece of jewellery is presented in a plastic pouch, because my clients need to see what's inside. There is an alternative type of pouches made from corn starch that I'm really excited about, but I need to test them first to make sure they don't tarnish the jewellery.
- The packages I receive from my suppliers (mostly the workshop that cuts my designs from the brass sheets) can contain a fair bit of plastic wrapping. I reuse ALL of it but the next step is to convince them to stop using it in the first place.
- The backing sheets for stickers...annoyingly, they're not actually recyclable! At least not here. So I don't know what to do about them. Any ideas?
Any bright advice on how to improve further would be more than welcome! You can comment on my Facebook or Instagram post. I could talk about this for hours :)