How Sustainable are we at Verdant?

Verdant Recycling Symbol

Being Sustainable at Verdant.

Recently we’ve been looking at certifications around Sustainability & Carbon neutrality. We do the best we can for the planet, however, we can always do more.  Janette did a questionnaire recently for a particular certification which showed up areas we need to work on.

We don’t want to be greenwashing, but there are always other boxes we could tick, to help move us towards a circular economy and circular products.

While we work on areas for improvement we thought we could shine a spotlight on some of the things we do.

composting

Composting:

In our wee shop we have a little container for our Bokashi compost. This all goes home into Janette's much larger Bokashi bin, which after a few weeks, gets placed into what Janette likes to call, their concrete bunker compost bins. These sturdy 60s-built compost bins combined with the Bokashi bran, seem to speed up the process of normal composting.

Curtain Rod Bags
Curtain Rod Bags

Recycling of soft plastics:

Any soft plastics are minimal. We always request non-plastic packaging from our suppliers when placing orders. That doesn't guarantee we will recieve no plastics! We recently got caught with a stationery supplier who sent their product in loads of unnecessary plastic. And bubble wrap is a big one we haven’t managed to eliminate completely from one of our suppliers. But the bubble wrap is always repurposed. We gave whole bunch to a frame maker and we re use it in the shop to wrap customers' pottery - when they request it.

Curtain rods are currently wrapped in plastic. We are working on eliminating this, and have trialled a reuseable fabric bag out of our curtain off-cuts. But until we find the time to make lots of these, the soft plastics are sent to a plastic bag making factory that then gets made into curtain bags (which of course, we avoid using).

We love our PVC Free Roller Blind supplier, who obliges our request with paper-wrapped blinds instead of plastic.

Paper wrapped blinds
Paper wrapped blinds

Polypropylene bags:

Often the large rolls of fabrics get wrapped in Polypropylene bags. Although it’s easy to recycle overseas, it isn’t here in NZ. However, we have managed to find someone in the lower north island making buckets from this!

Zero-Waste: Fabric into paper

Those tiny bits and fluff that come out of the overlocker, along with off cuts we can't use, get made into paper! That paper is made into our business cards, and greeting cards. We are also now now stocking the A4 paper that PaperMill  loving make for us out of our fabric off cuts. Perfect for art & craft projects.

Papermill Recycled Paper
Papermill Recycled Paper
Cutlery Purses
Cutlery Purses

Zero-Waste: Fabric into product

As much as try we to minimise waste, by not making curtains too full and making the best of a pattern repeat, we do get fabric wastage. We turn these off cuts into curtain tiebacks, cushions or pouffes.
The small bits we make up into all sorts of other homewares: zip purses, card holders, draught stops, door stops and journals.
These offcuts are often teamed together to create one-off creations.

Card Holders
Card Holders

Wishful recycling:

What’s wishful recycling you ask? When you think something should be able to be recycled but aren’t sure, and you throw it in the recycling bin anyway. Not a great thing to do, as it just creates problems for recycling companies. Sometimes it can even contaminate an entire batch, meaning the next phase of the material can't be made and it has to go into landfill.

At Verdant we stop short of putting what can't currently be recycled in New Zealand, into general recycling. Instead, we separate items such as our polypropylene sewing thread cores and fabrics that can’t be turned into paper, in the hope we’ll eventually find someone who can use it.

We have been collecting any wool off cuts and mixed fibres, in anticipation that one day, we will have enough to send to a furniture blanket manufacturer that can use it! Luckily we don't have a lot of this wishful recycling stockpile but we are determined to keep it out of landfill!