Sustainability is at the core of our environmental policy. It is one of the things which matters most to our business.
Putting that into practice happens all across the business.
All of the wool in our yarns comes from UK flocks. It’s processed and spun in the UK too. This helps us keep our carbon footprint down – raw fleece is both heavy and bulky so the less travelling it has to do the better. The UK has tight regulations about how wool is processed and these protect both those doing the processing and the environment.
Buying British wool helps maintain the value of wool which supports UK farming.
We work with acid dyes as these are easily set with heat and citric acid (that’s the stuff you get on sour fizzy sweets). Working with these dyes leaves the dye water completely clear so it can be reused again and again. The only time we empty dye water away is when we’re shutting up the workshop for holidays. That water is neutralised with bicarbonate of soda so its PH neutral before it enters the waste water system.
A second benefit to reusing dye water is that we don’t have to heat every dye bath from cold. That saves time and electricity.
We use paper packaging for the majority of our orders, and once our last few large plastic mail bags are used they won’t be replaced. While biodegradable plastic is becoming more available much of it still breaks down into microplastics, so the problem is less visible rather than solved. Many of the compostable plastics need industrial composting. Paper packing isn’t perfect as it still uses energy to make. However it’s easy to reuse and recycle, so it’s the best choice for us until something better is available.
More recently we’ve been trialling bags made from sugar cane, and they’ve been a great success. They look and feel like plastic but are plastic free.
We’ve stopped using tissue paper to wrap yarn – it’s pretty but unnecessary. If you’re buying a present and would like it wrapped in tissue pop a note on your order and we’ll do that with pleasure. Have a look at our sending a gift page for more information
As well as yarn dyeing we also screen print. We work with Permaset water based inks. Very little of the ink is wasted – if we’re printing with a single colour any ink left on the screen is returned to the tub. If we’ve mixed colours on a screen the excess ink is saved and used as a base for black. Clean up is done with washing up liquid and a little water.
We’re very picky about the cotton we use for bags, using only Fairtrade and organic cotton. Cotton is a resource intensive crop and although organic cotton doesn’t use pesticides all cotton uses large amounts of water. We’ll work with linen or wool fabric instead where this is possible (so where we make bags ourselves rather than buying them ready to print on). The one exception to this is the cotton duck canvas fabric which is used for showerproof bags. We’re about to switch to organic duck canvas, and we’ll keep looking for an alternative fabric base with the same properties.