Sustainability Month: Recycling and Composting at Spoonflower

APR 15, 2016

Right now at Spoonflower Headquarters, spring has sprung.  Everywhere you look a new flower is blooming and trees are filling back up with leaves we’ll need for shade once our steamy North Carolina summer hits.  Everything is fresh and beautiful and it reminds us in the most magnanimous way why we have dedicated ourselves to protecting our environment and being a sustainable company.

Beautiful spring flowers fill the Spoonflower garden until it is time to plant vegetables!


As a company, we strive to find ways to use less and recreate more in every aspect of our work from the production on our operations floor, to the office, and even in our break room.  In our print room, for instance, we use an eco-friendly printing process that does not waste water, and we print with non-toxic, waster-based ink.  The World Bank estimates almost 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles, and we do not want to be a part of that legacy.  We want to operate in new and innovative ways that keep our water clean and abundant.

We also try to make sure we are only using as much fabric as is needed by printing to each customer’s specific order.  When we do find ourselves with excess fabric that would go to waste, we have recycled it to be shredded and used in car seat upholstery, and River Takada- Capel, an employee in our print room, has piloted a donation program for our reusable remnant fabric.  

Our remnant fabric goes on to be used all over the community from our own Blankets for Good to organizations like Marbles Kids Museum and Reality Ministries which serves adults with developmental disabilities.  When asked why she took on this project, River explained, “I would like to see our remnants being put to use in our community, by educational programs and artists; and offsetting the production of more fabric.”

Out on the operations floor and in our office, we have made a an effort to recycle as much as possible by placing recycling receptacles all over the office and posting recycling guidelines and fun facts with our peel-and-stick wallpaper.  As a result, we recycled over 65,000 lb. of material in the past year.  That weighs about as much as 65 manatees!

Spoonflower recycled enough material to outweigh a pile of 65  full grown manatees last year!

Jennifer Spanos, an employee in our Operations department and co-chair of our Sustainability Committee has put a lot of time and effort into reducing Spoonflower’s ecological footprint.  She explains, “I saw how sustainable Spoonflower was and wanted to bring that to the forefront. I love having the opportunity to educate and empower my coworkers.”

Jennifer also had a lot to do with starting the composting program in Spoonflower’s break room.  Starting last April, CompostNow put compost containers in our break room and they pick up once a week.  From April to December of last year, we created enough to compost to plant 102 tomato plants and avoided producing the methane equivalent of driving 5,806 miles!  Think of how many hundreds of BLTs that is at a picnic with clean fresh air!

 The compost produced by Spoonflower last year was enough to plant 102 tomato plants which could make hundreds more delicious BLTs!

So much has happened in the first year of our Sustainability Committee!  It is wonderful to see how much we can accomplish to protect our planet and to think of how much more we can do in the future.  As Jennifer says, “I love all the questions from my coworkers about doing more, whether it’s hosting a charitable sew-in with remnant fabric or asking if a certain item can be composted. It’s inspiring to see the engagement and enthusiasm throughout the company.”

We are always looking for new ways to reduce our waste and reuse what we already have, what are your tips and tricks?  Learn more information about Sustainability at Spoonflower here!


 

About Our Guest Author: 

Amy was born and raised in North Carolina and got her degree in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In addition to writing for our blog, she works on the operations floor at Spoonflower processing and shipping orders.  Outside of Spoonflower, Amy’s main loves are comedy and her dog Ralphie.  Amy performs and teaches improv comedy as often as she can.  When she gets the time, she also loves to cook, quilt, paint and dance.

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