Making strides to minimize impact on the environment
Let me say up front - much of what is needed to make pottery is not great for our environment - from the impact of shipping items like clay and glaze chemicals, to the water needed in the making process (not to mention the clean-up process) and the energy required to fire the kiln. And, finally, shipping the end product to future owners.
So how can I put up a page about "sustainability"? Well, I believe that small things make a difference. And so I have put thought into what are little things I can do to minimize the impact. I welcome any ideas you may have as well!
Materials I use
As much as possible, I purchase my materials from local suppliers. Unfortunately, there are no local producers of clay in Arizona, but I purchase from a local supplier so I can minimize the impact of shipping.
My making process
To minimize water consumption, my husband made me a recirculating sink - a drain from my sink goes to a trap where clay can settle out and I reuse the "clean" water at the top to wash my tools (and me). Like many other potters, I rinse my glaze brushes and tools in a large bucket and after the chemicals settle out, I can reuse the clean water on top. This process not only minimizes water use but also keeps the glaze chemicals out of the soil. Finally, I try to fire my kiln during off-peak hours for energy consumption (pretty much, at night). We are evaluating the possibility of installing solar power to further minimize the impact.
Shipping products to you
As much as possible, I re-use any packing materials and boxes I get. I can most certainly promise you that any bubble wrap or packing peanuts you see are re-used from many other sources. When I do use new materials, I choose recyclable paper / packing materials as much as possible. I know there is much more I can do on this front - and promise to keep working to minimize packaging impact while still ensuring your pots get to you in one piece.