11 December 2011

Step Down Sunday: Eco-Felt

Step Down Sunday When looking at your carbon-footprint real Christmas trees are obviously the best option. When growing they reduce the carbon in the air and at the end of the season they can be composted or replanted.  Unfortunately we bought a new artificial tree in the sales last year. It would be wasteful to throw it away now (and I’ll admit I actually prefer artificial trees).

Since I can’t reduce my carbon-footprint with my choice of tree, I've decided to pick my new decorations carefully. One general premise suggests that we’re better making things rather than buying them. In theory we reduce things like packaging, transport costs and we also know how they have been made.

I thought I’d start with some simple felt ornaments, but it’s no good making things ourselves if our materials aren’t eco-friendly. So for the last few weeks I’ve been searching for eco-friendly felt. There appear to be two types: Wool and Recycled Polyester. 100% wool felt is quite eco, but very expensive. There is apparently a Wool/Rayon blend which is cheaper, but this may be misleading. Though Rayon is made from natural fibres, the intense process required to make Rayon is not always considered eco-friendly. Finally there is EcoFi felt which is made from recycled bottles. The bad thing is that you are still using plastic so your scraps won’t bio-degrade, but it also provides a market for recycled plastic. There’s no point in recycling our bottles if we can’t sell the resulting material to make something new.

I eventually concluded that while wool is the ideal choice, eco-felt is an acceptable alternative. After much searching I finally found a store that stocked EcoFi which is manufactured in the United States by Kunin.   Simply Sequins sells single 9x12in sheets in a wonderful range of colours for 45p each, which is quite competitive when compared to places like Hobbycraft. I've not had chance to make anything yet, but with all these colours there's so many possibilities!

Do you know of any more eco-friendly craft supplies?

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