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What does sustainability mean to us?

Recently we were thrilled to discover that we have been voted Best Sustainable Craft Company in the Craft Business Awards - for the second year in a row! In our next two blog posts, we’d like to share some of the steps that we’ve been taking over the past year to become more sustainable, and also to explain just what sustainability means to us.

In this post, we focus on the ways in which we have been improving the sustainability of our products and packaging, while next week we’ll be looking at ways in which we were able to give back in 2021.

What is ‘sustainability’?

In recent years we’ve all become more conscious of the ways that our choices, both large and small, can have an impact on the world around us, and many of us might have included becoming more sustainable in our New Year’s resolutions.

Knowing where to begin, and which elements of sustainability to prioritise, can sometimes feel a little daunting! If you're looking to define what exactly sustainability means, a good starting point is the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These cover environmental issues, such as climate action and life below water, but also social goals, such as gender equality, good health and wellbeing, and decent work and economic growth. We believe that while no one person or organisation can resolve every problem addressed by these goals, together we can all make positive changes, and help make a difference. 

At The Crafty Kit Company, our dedication to sustainability is also strongly entwined with our aim to become a 'Business for Good', and with our company’s five Core Values, which include our ‘Desire to do Better’, ‘Open-Mindedness’, ‘Kindness and Respect’, ‘Consistency and High Standards’, and finally, but by no means least, ‘Happiness’. We use these values to guide every part of how we conduct our business, from where and how we produce our kits, to the products that we create. 

Made in Scotland

Since we were founded in 2012, a key element in our desire to become a more sustainable business has been our decision to produce all of our craft kits in-house. Doing so enables us to provide employment opportunities here in the UK, and to have a ripple effect throughout our local economy and community. It also means that we, and our customers, can be absolutely certain that our staff receive a fair wage, and are working under safe and equitable conditions.

Our workshop in East Lothian, Scotland

Over the past year we're fortunate to have been able to expand our team, creating new opportunities in our local area. Many of those who work for us do so part-time, alongside their duties as care-givers, and we’re delighted to be able to support flexible working in this way!

Reducing plastic in our kits

When thinking of ways in which we can become more sustainable as a business, we’re strongly driven by our ‘Desire to do Better’, which leads us to continually ask if there are ways that we can make improvements to our products or working methods. Linked to this, we accept that becoming more sustainable is a continual journey, and, just like running a marathon, we view every improvement that we make, no matter how small, as a step in the right direction!

Having changed our packaging to recycled (and recyclable) cardboard boxes several years ago, one area in which we were keen to make improvements this year is in the plastic content of our kits. Although our cross stitch kits have always been fully plastic-free, until last spring we enclosed the felting needles in our needle felting kits inside clear plastic tubes. In April, we replaced these with recyclable paper envelopes in Crafty Kit Company red!

Unfortunately, we soon began to receive feedback from our customers that our felting needles were slipping out of their envelopes during transit, and so looked again for other, sustainable alternatives. In September, we began to use new glassine envelopes, which are not only produced in the UK, biodegradable, and recyclable, but could also be more securely closed with a sticker. 

If you have recently ordered one of our sewing kits, you might also have noticed that we now use glassine envelopes, rather than resealable plastic bags, to house our needles, threads, and other components, too. As an added bonus, glassine envelopes are also perfect for storing seeds, and we’d encourage any keen gardeners to reuse them for this!

Switching to recycled foam pads

Recycled foam felting pads

Last year we also replaced the white foam pads that we include in our needle felting kits with darker pads made from recycled materials, providing a new use for plastic which might otherwise have gone to landfill. If you love felting as much as we do, you will find that with repeated use your foam felting pads lose their ‘springiness’, and when they do, we’d encourage you to reuse them in other craft projects - see our blog for a few ideas!

Joining the Eco-Packaging Alliance

Recyclable tissue paper

In 2021, we became members of the Eco-Packaging Alliance, meaning that every time we place an order for packaging (such as our tissue paper, which is compostable, recyclable, and made from recyclable materials), our supplier noissue will plant trees in areas of need around the globe!

Looking ahead

In 2022, we’ll be continuing to seek ways to make our products more sustainable, and are always open to feedback and ideas! Recently, an increasing number of crafters have been looking to use non-animal-derived craft materials, and we’ll soon be launching our first range of vegan-friendly craft kits, designed by the talented fibre artist Stephanie Lester. Inspired by the natural world, the range will contain sustainable alternatives to traditional felting wool, made from recycled plastic bottles, biodegradable nylon fibre, and bamboo. To be the first to know when we release the new range, please join our mailing list by filling in your details in the box below!

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Jen Blunden:

Well done all of you. It’s really reassuring to read things like this and to know suppliers and manufacturers are trying hard to help the Planet. I for one am very grateful for that hope for the future although I may not have long left on it at my age. Very best wishes for the future.

Jan 17, 2022

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