Like many others on the South Coast of NSW, both my home and business were threatened during the recent bushfires over the Australian Summer of 2019/2020.
We have always been environmentally conscious and pro-active at Dowry (and at home). But Climate Change is real and the fires made me stop and think about my carbon footprint and what else I could do to reduce it - both at home and work.
So I pledged, at the end of January (which feels like a lot longer ago than a few months - thanks COVID-19) to totally eradicate any newly made plastics in the shop. We use stuffing or polyfill in many of our handmade products - toys, cushions, doorstops - mostly because its effective, cheap and convenient to buy locally. Of course, polyfill is made from polyester, which is plastic. We never use any textiles or sell any clothing made from polyester or acrylic. More than anything I really dislike the look and feel of polyester against my skin. Plus of course its heavy on resources to produce and doesn't break down anytime soon.
So, we did some easy research (ie. I googled "buy natural toy filling/cushion inserts in Australia") and up came a few alternatives. There are fantastic companies that are offering wonderful products in this area. We ordered samples from a couple and made choices of the fibre depending on the product we are filling. For example, mum requires a soft, fluffy but relatively dense fill for her toys, dolls and soft sculptures, so she chose Downs Wool and Organic Cotton from Eco Filling Australia. We also bought some Recycled PET fill and cushion inserts from Innergreen for doorstops and cushions. This fibre is made from recycled plastics, such as those used for plastic water and soft drink bottles. They are sterilised, shredded, heated and extruded back into a compressed fibre that is processed into a fluffy mixture ready for use. Its relatively cheap and effective.
I realise this seemingly insignificant change in our business isn't going to reverse Climate Change, but I do believe that every little bit does count and if we all made these small changes, they would mount up to a BIG change.