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recycling: saving waste: packing

updated sun 3 oct 99


Janet Kaiser on sat 2 oct 99

I managed to keep my mouth closed about the luxury packaging someone was
enthusing about not long ago... Especially the Japanese style with gold =
etc. Like any gallery, we use cartons, bubble-wrap, polystyrene, newspaper,
tissue paper and paper bags for wrapping everything from paintings to pots. =
priority is not to look good, but to travel well and safely. We are in a =
area after all.

But, this would produce an awful lot of =2Anew waste=2A if we were doing the
high-class =22promotion=22 thing and not using what others have used and/or =
out. It takes a bit of organisation, but thanks to a rural society where
everyone knows everyone else it sure works for us. Let me also say, we only =
clean materials which look nearly new.

CARTONS: we get from local stores especially booze boxes for size and =
Little boxes are hard to come by, so we have =22standing orders=22 at shops =
get stuff in small to tiny boxes. They are very happy to reduce their =
costs this way. Businesses pay extra for garbage collection in the UK (a =
point when we pay high =22council taxes=22 already). We use carton cardboard=
to make
corners for paintings too.

BUBBLE WRAP: Although this must be bought on rolls for larger work, every =
that comes TO us is recycled to wrap customers purchases, fill boxes, etc. =
also ask regular customers to return it if they do not need it... Quite
surprising how many do.

FILLER: We get paper straw from our lawyer's office. He has a document =
which produces wonderful =22paper straw=22. Because it is a large shredder, =
it also
comes in large sacks. They are also re-used for large paintings. Polystyrene
seems to just accumulate on its own=21 Once people know you can re-use the =
they just bring it along=21 With 200 Friends of the gallery... Well, you may
imagine what that can bring=21 Especially after Christmas=21 (They also get =
newsletters in recycled C5 envelopes each quarter, so they are well =

NEWSPAPERS: We do not buy a daily newspaper (as a conscious environmental
choice) but the one weekly paper we buy is saved to wrap pots. What is not =
for that, is to use on worktops in art classes, or taken home to light the =
wrap up waste, etc. And if we run short, the newsagent only sends the front
page back for a refund and we can get stacks of newsprint off them.

TISSUE PAPER: So far (five years now) we have been able to get it cheaply =
shops that close down. This is a sad reflection on a rural society being
impoverished even more by the =22super stores=22 which are opening even =

PAPER BAGS: Although we have to buy some, we also have a =22standing =
order=22 at
branches of shops which change there =22image=22 every so often. You would =
be amazed
at what the stores throw away=21 Change of season: change of colour and =
style. At
the moment we are using =22Contessa=22 (ladies underwear) and still have =
hundred to go. That was just the change of colour from spring to summer for
them... it should keep us going for a couple of years.

PLASTIC BAGS: Same goes for =22change of image=22 at shops, but I also ask =
charity shops to save the clean, classy bags they are given. Harrods, Dior,
Gucci, etc. Customers are always delighted=21

STRING: Several miles of cotton twine bought on wooden bobbins from the =
shop of a closed Lancashire weaving factory. BROWN PAPER: Water damaged =
that had been stood up in about an inch of water. Had to saw off the bottom
where it had all pulped. That was HARD WORK=21 Like sawing teak or ebony=21

So when I pack a pot, it first gets wrapped in tissue, then newspaper, then =
bag, then a box stuffed with filler and/or plastic bag. Total cost of this =
thorough and safe packaging? In hard =24 minimal to zero. AND we feel good =
reducing landfill a little and saving a couple of trees each year.

And what do people think? Well as long as it is a clean, neatly wrapped =
which they appreciate will carry home safely and you explain that you are =
it this way for =22environmental=22 reasons, 99 out of a 100 think it is a =
idea and say they wish more businesses would do the same. The one out of =
hundred who does not like the idea of using =22dirty=22 materials like =
newspapers is
given a =22new=22 wrapping. They usually look shame-faced going out and the =
customer who objected actually brought the bubble wrap back for =
=22recycling=22=21 A
convert? We certainly hope so=21

Janet Kaiser... just =22recycling=22 a bit of grain in the form of a =
whisky=21 Cheers=21

The Chapel of Art: Home of The International Potters' Path
Criccieth LL52 0EA, GB-Wales, UK
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