As a small family owned retail business we are acutely aware of our responsibility to the environment and have always been conscious of the impact of our waste. Right form the outset, when Tom and Megan took over Livingstone Textiles, recycling strategies were extremely important as part of the company ethic. It’s a way of life for the team not to throw anything away that might be re-used in some way, or re-cycled. So much so that when we stopped and thought about it, we realised that most of our customers are completely unaware of the little things we all do so we thought we’d share some of the ways that we tackle our waste output as a business. As you all know, we stock a terrific range of fabrics in our two shops. All of these fabrics have to be couriered to us so wherever we possibly can, we will combine orders for both shops to minimise transport but, of course all of the fabric needs to arrive clean and dry after its been slung around the distribution centres so it is always wrapped in plastic. Some of our suppliers have now started to wrap fabric in much thinner plastic than they did previously therby using fewer resources. This is great……but it’s still plastic and it still needs to be reconciled. All of our cardbard and paper gets re-used as scrap paper or recycled at the recycling centre in Bridport. We compost all of our staff food waste ( except biscuits of course because we eat all of those) and we take home and recycle all cans, bottles and cartons in our own household recycling systems as well as the plastic ribbon reels. Our cardboard tubes get recycled too and we are always happy to give them away to anyone who needs them for a project or local group. Some suppliers are now going back to old fashioned cardboard bobbins for there bias bindings and trims which makes us happy.
All of our plastic gets sorted and graded for recycling. Anything that we can’t yet recycle gets cut up and used in our packing area for sending out the fabric that you order from our online shop. We save all of the little scraps of fabric and bits of ribbon that are too small to sell, along with donated boxes of old buttons and threads from various old local stashes of ancient aunts and use them to make up little packs of co-ordinating things for art, craft and textile projects. At only £2 for a bag they are an absolute bargain and you can be confident that you’re doing your bit in the up-cycling chain.
We are also beginning to travel the long road of sustainable fabrics and recycled textiles that we aim to make a prominent feature of our business moving forward. We already stock a few things as they are becoming available and you can buy fabric made from textile industry waste on our webshop, as well as recycled felt in a selection of rainbow colours.