In honour of Earth Day, I am happy to announce that Strings & Things is official a zero waste business! It’s something I have been working towards for a few months now, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to fully reach my goal. In my personal life I have made a lot of changes to move towards a more zero-waste lifestyle. I wanted to incorporate it into my business as well, but I was stumped.
You wouldn’t think knitting toques produces a lot of waste. And it doesn’t. But I normally always have at least one foot of scrap yarn and some bits of string per toque left over as “waste yarn”. This is produced in the finishing process. I could weave in ends for hours, but sometimes it’s easier to just knot the ends, weave them in a bit, and trim the excess. I didn’t know what to do with the excess. I also usually have yarn labels and cardboard but those items are all recyclable so I don’t consider that to be “waste”. I also try to reuse as many poly mailers as possible and shipped boxes from my own online orders to ship out products to my customers.
I started collecting all of my excess in January 2020. Whenever I would finish a toque or project I would tuck the waste yarn into a jar. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the waste, but I still needed to figure out a few logistics.
Another goal of mine was to figure out how to make faux fur pom poms on toques removable. This is a request a few customers have made over the years, but I couldn’t figure out a good way to still fasten the poms without them being overly floppy.
I saw a picture shared by Warehouse 2020, a new Canadian supplier of faux fur, yarn, and all sorts of other cool things, and it was exactly what I needed to see. Using a larger button on the inside of the toque as a stability support for a faux fur pom pom is the perfect way to make them removable! I made a few changes to how I was making the poms, dug through my button collection, tried a few samples, and I was shocked at how well it worked.
So now that I solved the issue of the removable poms, that meant I could be more free with what I was stuffing them with. I was worried that if someone washed their toque with the faux fur pom attached, if there were little yarn bits inside they might wiggle their way free over time and make the pom become less full. Now that they won’t get washed (unless absolutely necessary), I was able to finally utilize the waste yarn I was collected to help stuff my faux fur poms!
So that’s my exciting Earth Day announcement. It might not be very exciting for everyone, but I am thrilled! Let me know if you have any questions about the process or are wanting to know more about my waste-saving measures.
Happy Earth Day!