5 Things we do to reduce waste

April 25, 2014 11:29 am This post was written by Didi Aben.

Sustainability is a massive driving force behind all that we do at Sublow. One of the key factors behind this the reduction of the amount waste we create as a business. We are constantly reviewing our operations and coming up with clever and mostly simple ways of reusing, reducing and recycling all of our materials in the hope to become as sustainable as possible. Here we share some of waste reduction methods with you….

1. Embrace Second Hand

For starters our studio is housed in a very old Cornish barn, which we have lovingly revamped and restored whilst staying sympathetic to its original features.  Almost all of our screen printing equipment was purchased second hand from a friend and any other equipment we needed has been made by hand by us using found materials. This means we have a super unique and special place to work in that has been created on the tiniest of budgets! Second hand is cool!


2. Test the limits of “disposable”

Screen-printing is a messy trade by nature. When we really get our groove on its incredibly tricky to keep ink free hands and surfaces! When we first started we bought a few different types of cloth/duster/wipes to clean up our mess. Over time we have tested each of these for their maximum capabilities by washing them and reusing them until they really do fall apart.  We still have many of the cloths we began with and hope to have them for a long time! It’s incredible how long the life span of a “disposable” cloth is if you treat them with love and care!


3. See the beauty in “rubbish”

All of our water based inks are mixed by hand, this way we can get the perfect colour by using classic colour mixing rules and a bit of experimentation! We quickly realised we would need containers to mix and store inks in. We now see beauty in containers of all shapes and sizes. We have stacks of  empty butter tubs, takeaway containers, yogurt pots, plastic spoons, lolly sticks and a whole other array of  “rubbish” solely used to mix and house many wonderfully coloured water based inks!


4. Everything is an artwork, we don’t discard our tests!

Printing by hand requires lots of practice and lots of test runs to get to the      perfect print. We do all of our test printing onto paper and cardboard that then has other uses for us. For example we post our products in recycled cardboard boxes, these boxes become beautifully adorned in our test prints so when you receive your purchase from us you also receive a 100% unique printed box. We also test print onto sheets of recycled paper, which are then cut up to form our product labels as well as our business cards.  All these things mean we keep our costs down by producing all of our packaging in house whilst also reducing on paper waste to the highest level!


5. Being fantastic with fabrics

We have equipped ourselves with fantastic textiles knowledge, which we use on a daily basis to make the important decisions about our products.  We print onto Earth Positive 100% organic garments and increasingly onto Salvage garments. Salvage is a new range of blank products that are created by mixing 60% organic cotton waste from our supplier’s factories with 40% recycled polyester, which is created, by recycling plastic bottles. We are committed to researching and keeping up to date with fabric innovations to bring you the best possible products. We are also about to launch our very own recycled range called “Good for something” More on that later…!