The Eco-Friendly One Person Business

This post is inspired by the upcoming panel discussion How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs sponsored by Uncommon Goods and scheduled for February 5th. The panel will discuss means of making your designs and business practices more eco-friendly and how doing so might make your business more competitive. For those of you who can't make this free event or want to think about how to implement some greener practices in your business right now, here are some suggestions:

City Cats by Deborah Julian on recycled card stock

1. Paper 

This is always the first one that comes to mind and here is how you can become a greener paper consumer: 

  • Use the cloud, e.g. Google Docs, Dropbox etc., to collaborate on documents instead of printing them out
  • Try to edit most of your work online instead of on a hard copy
  • If you do need to print something, try to set the margins smaller to print more information per page, use the black print setting instead of the color setting and print in draft mode. These practices will result in using less paper and ink.
  • And as a reminder, here are the obvious ideas: buy recycled paper, print on both sides, reuse paper as scratch paper, use your recycling bin

Vintage Salt Sack iPad Case by Fritz and Fraulein

2. Energy

Turn it off! When you are done with your work, turn off your computer. For ease of use, plug in your computer and all it's peripherals into a power strip and once you power down your computer you can turn everything off with one push of the button. Set your monitor to turn off after a reasonable time of inactivity instead of using a screensaver. And finally, remember to unplug your chargers when you don't use them. Yes, it comes down to about $1/year/charger but every little bit counts.

3. Office Furniture and Supplies

Use Freecycle or Craigslist to reuse rather than buy new items. For example, right now there are 5 office desks available on Freecycle New York City and assorted three ring binders are looking for a new home on Craigslist.

Salvaged Slate Tray by SimplyNu

4. Price Tags and Displays

Be creative in finding recyclables for your shop supplies. My grandmother who owned an antique shop in Missouri cut out her own display signs out of cereal boxes. Recycle scarves and fabrics into wrappings and furoshiki shopping bags.

I'm sure you can think of many other ways to start off the year on a greener foot. We'd love for you to share them with us!


Earth Day Reflecting

Happy day-after-Earth Day!

Two weeks ago, I had promised photos and a recap of the Etsy craft event on making terrariums, but I didn't make it. I had to rush home to dog walk. Yep. I was dog sitting that week and had to make sure the rascal was okay.

Needless to say, I missed the event, but heard many, many great things about it. I've even seen a few of the terrariums made that evening and am full of envy that I don't have my own to share with you.

Alas, Etsy's events section of the website offers two video tutorials to make your own:
and, make sure to watch the "Hands On Dirt With Red Rose and Lavender" under the Etsy How To section.

Both videos are great and I intend to use them when I make my own terrarium, if I ever find the time!

Terrarium by Red Rose and Lavender

Earth Day for me has always been a day of reflection. I recently became environmentally aware- I'd say in the last 8 years. When I lived in Virginia, I used to frequent the farmers market and the artisanal cheese monger in my neighborhood. It was an amazing world and yet I didn't appreciate my then roommate trying to make me use non-chemical based detergents and soaps to wash our dishes. In fact, I had my own stash of chemical laden products to use when she wasn't looking.

Six years later, I've completely changed. Now, I'm the roommate that requests we use chemical-free dish washing liquid (I even pay for it) and I use vinegar, baking soda, and water as my main cleaning agents. I've become sensitive to chemical based smells. And my goal is to help educate as many people as possible on the ways in which they can also live greener lifestyles. Of course, it is up to the person to enact these changes, but if we share what we know with each other, we now have a choice and that's the key to most life style changes after all. 

Yesterday, I didn't do very much. I didn't volunteer and I did end up buying a pair of leggings from Sears. That one purchase threw me into a spiral of thought about packaging and products and my own company. It made me think about my responsibility as a crafter, maker, seller, and business owner to make responsible choices not just for myself, but for my customers.

My rational has always been that if I can't figure out how to recycle or reuse a piece of the item I purchased, than I shouldn't expect my customers. It is the main reason why I don't wrap cards in plastic. Do you know how to recycle the plastic sleeve most cards come in? 

A hint- Whole Foods recycles plastic bags, sleeves and cling wrap. Next time you visit one, check and see if they do. The one by me does and it has helped make my life a bit easier.

This month, I already reached out to a printer who uses eco-friendly paper sources and inks for orders. I've been stuffing my boxes to ship with old magazine pages instead of using bubble wrap or any other non-recyclable stuffing product. I even found out that Uline sells biodegradable bags and burlap that biodegrades as well. Amazing!

We have so many more choices these days on how live green lives. A part of me thought, yesterday, that I do enough-I compost, recycle, volunteer with my local CSA and therefore could take an Earth Day off, but the reality is I can do more. I don't feel guilty about not celebrating Earth Day in the rain, in fact, I did a ton of things I needed to do, like finish knitting a blanket that's been on my to do list for some time now, but it means I can integrate more ways of greener living in my life and it's why I am writing this extremely personal blog post today.

If you've made it this far into my posting. Hooray! Thank you for reading.  If you didn't, I promise the next posting won't be so long and drawn out about my thoughts on Earth Day and green living.

In the mean time, I want to share another creative project off of the Etsy website. I'm completely excited about this. It is part of the How-Tuesday series on the website and it's a tutorial on how to make a cardboard chandelier. Talk about recycling packaging!

Cardboard Chandelier by Kayte Terry

I can't wait to be able to make this for my own home one day. This project is definitely going into the "Future To Do" folder.  Also something for YOU to add to your own to do folder is saving the date of May 7th, for a hands-on evening with Kayte, the woman who shared the cardboard chandelier and wrote the book that it is featured in Paper Made! More details will be shared soon on the Etsy website.    

On that note, I'm off to do some more green discovery. Stay inventive and creative!


Are You Ready For Some "Eco-Friendly" Football?

I have to admit, I'm not a football fan. Never have been. In high school, I only went to football games because it was "cool" to freeze off our butts and sit in the bleachers with friends and listen to the awesome band perform those hit hip-hop tunes that were popular in the 90s. In college, I went to Super Bowl parties to be around cute boys. I know, I sound shallow on a craft blog, but there is a point to this, I promise.

See all of those years ago, I was not an environmentally concerned person. Sure, I cared about animals, but I was not concerned with my consumption, over-consumption, or environmental impact. 

However, I am now.  As Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, I've decided to bring my eco-warrior hat out to share tips on how you can be the "eco-friendly hostess-with-the-mostess" for one of the biggest days of consumption and waste creation of the year. Better yet, you can take these tips and turn them into habits for future parties to come. Even better, your eco-friendly hosting might inspire your friends and family to also eco-host and well, you know, you've just started a life-style trend/change that will have a large impact years from now.

Before I give you the tips though, I want to share the initiatives that the NFL has taken this year to make sure that Super Bowl XLVI is the greenest event thus far!
  • It will be powered by 15 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy, provided by Green Mountain Energy Company, avoiding more than 29 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The green energy firm will also offset greenhouse gas emissions associated with both teams’ travel, install a residential solar array and plant 1,700 trees in urban Indianapolis – the home of this year’s big game.
  • Other green initiatives planned for Super Bowl Sunday include recycling, prepared food recovery, materials donations and Super Kids Super Sharing – a sports equipment and book donation project, the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee said.  (Data courtesy of

So what about us, mere mortal? What can we do?

  • Before guests arrive set up a corner that is for recycling. Grab a clear bag and let guests know that all glass and aluminum bottles and cans go there. No exceptions!;
  • Speaking of items in cans and bottles that require recycling...if you're hosting a lot of guests, consider getting a keg. Renting a keg is both economical and less wasteful as a full size keg holds the equivalent of 165 12-ounce containers of beer and can be refilled and used many, many times. For water, have a pitcher with water and ice for guests. They'll never notice the lack of water bottles;  
  • Avoid plastic! Serve food in your own sets of dishes, bowls, and platters and provide glasses and silverware. If you can't, then in aluminum trays (they can be recycled after being cleaned) and buy degradable cups (they sell them in most places), paper plates (uncoated are the best for the environment). Also don't offer plastic utensils-for a few extra dollars you can purchase wood, bamboo, or corn degradable utensils, or you can use the sturdy metal ones in your drawer;
  • Another way to avoid utensils is to offer finger food items so that guests can grab and nosh instead of needing utensils and sturdy plates;
  • Speaking of food, when buying for and planning your menu, consider purchasing local items- beer, cheeses, even meats. In NYC we have Farmers Markets all over the city. While slightly more expensive, you will limit packing waste and you're supporting local purveyors and industry;
  • One more thing about food-do not over cook! I know, you want to have food for every body, but think about all the food you'll throw away post-party. Food waste, while it does decompose, sits in bags for days, months, and years before completely doing so;
  • If guests are all in one room, there is no need for all the lights to be on. Make sure you turn off the lights in rooms that are empty. 
  • In the bathroom and around the kitchen sink, leave out towels so guests can dry their hands and never touch a paper towel or napkin until their eating;
  • Avoid using plastic table cloths. Use an old sheet and wash it afterward, or buy paper without the lining on the backside. You can't recycled the damaged paper cloth, but at least it will disintegrate faster than plastic. 
  • Oh and lastly, when shopping for all these goodies, grab your stash of reusable bags, it will make being green a bit easier when you start with this first step.
Again, all of these tips can be used for future parties, so bookmark this post (shameless plug) and refer to the {NewNew} when you're hosting an event. If any of you readers have tips to share or do something eco-friendly for your party and want to share, please do so! We all learn from each other.

Lastly, have fun! Whether you're cheering for the Patriots or the Giants, you'll be doing so in a less is more way and that is what matters. It can be easy being green (sorry Kermit)!


What does Earth Day mean to you?

...It comes only once a year, is celebrated by millions of people around the globe and creates environmental awareness.

You guessed it - today is Earth Day! ...and what makes this year even more special? - it's Earth Day's 40th anniversary!!

I think of Earth Day as a time to celebrate, a time to reflect and a time to take action - to be a part of the solution.

What does Earth Day mean to you? Does it strike a chord with your inner do-good self? Maybe you already know the ropes and are a whiz at recycling...or maybe you are a casual recycler and want to get more involved? Small acts of change add up...everyone can do something to help!!

{NewNew} member Groundsel uses up-cycled suits

to make her gorgeous earth-friendly bag

New York City and the 5 boroughs are home to hundreds of events, workshops and fairs for Earth Day fun.

Want to get involved? One of the best places to start is the official Earth Day website where you can find all sorts of fun things to do, from parties in Times Square to street festivals at Grand Central Station. Brooklyn is even throwing a few block parties and events at the local farmers markets.

{NewNew} member RueRenee up-cycled a flower calendar

to make her beautiful earth-friendly note cards

So then why not make it a whole week of celebrations? On Saturday April 30th, McCarren Park in Brooklyn is hosting the Go Green! Greenpoint Earth Day festival and market...featuring many talented members of The {NewNew}! (...go ahead, click on the link to find out more!)

So whether you will be out in the crowd celebrating in style, even if you're not one to march with the masses in Times a little good today, show your Earth Day spirit....

...make today count, make a pledge to do one more new thing this year and do the right thing for our know you want to let your inner do-good shine :)

make the earth happy today, and every day....

...because we all {heart} New York :)

by {NewNew} member virginiakraljevic


Earth Hour 2011

“Last year's Earth Hour made history as the world’s largest ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 128 countries across every continent coming together to celebrate a commitment to the one thing that unites us all – the planet”.
This year’s Earth Hour is expected to be even more successful! The World Wildlife Federation, who sponsors the event, are upping the ante this year by challenging everyone worldwide to not only get involved for Earth Hour, but to go above and beyond this single event by speaking out and taking action against climate change.
When is Earth Hour and what the heck do I do?
It begins at 8.30pm on 26 March (that's tomorrow!), when millions worldwide will turn off their lights for one full hour.

So take that first leap, go on - I promise it will be really easy! One quick flick of a switch and you'll join millions in creating more awareness on climate change.
...what better time is there to sport this cute light bulb t-shirt?

by NewNew member:

“From its inception in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change. "
Can you believe that last year 1,551 landmarks went dark? Included were some of the world’s most iconic and well known such as,
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • The Las Vegas Strip
  • Buckingham Palace and Big Ben
  • The Coliseum in Rome
…..and our city’s own Empire State Building!!

Photo courtesy of

So what are you going to do to go beyond the hour to fight for our planet and our environment? Get in on the action and let us know by leaving your ideas in the comments!

Visit to learn more lights off tomorrow night everyone! (I know I'll be in the dark....)

Spring into green!

Being a responsible consumer by reducing, reusing and recycling is very important to me (both as a consumer and a designer) because it's so important to our environment. Every little bit we can do to help our planet goes a long way. There are infinite easy and creative ways to work towards being green, so if you haven't already - go ahead and take the first step!

Springtime....perhaps the most appropriate time of year to overhaul your cleaning supplies and begin cleaning the eco way! It will promote a healthier surrounding in your home and is less detrimental to the can you say no to that?

* * * Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips & Tricks * * *

Use only household cleaners that do not contain toxic or harsh chemicals:
Sorry bleach, but you've got to go! Choose earth friendly cleaning products such as those that are plant-based, have naturally derived ingredients and do not contain harsh chemicals. Avoid products that contain chlorine, phosphates, artificial fragrance and dyes.
Choose laundry detergents that are phosphate-free, non-toxic and biodegradable:
If the ingredient list reads like a science experiment, or alternately lists vague names like 'stabilizers' or 'cleaning agents', chances are it's not eco-friendly. Harsh detergents not only irritate sensitive skin and leave toxic residues, they affect the natural balance of our eco-systems as they don't biodegrade easily.

You won't go wrong if you use handmade cleaning supplies like might even be happy to do your laundry next time!!

Switch to re-usable natural fiber towels and cleaning cloths instead of using paper products:
Score an eco-friendly double hitter when you switch from using paper towels to using natural fiber cloths and towels. Just think of the impact you can make by replacing paper towels with even only 2 hand towels and 2 cleaning cloths in your home!

Can't you see these beautiful handmade eco-friendly items in your home?

So you see, even with just a couple new eco-friendly habits to try you'll already be on your way to a happy, healthy home and do some extra good for the environment.

Reduce, reuse and recycle and shop handmade. Have an eco tip you'd like to share? We'd love to know just shoot us a comment.
And remember you can find {NewNew} eco products on Etsy using the keywords: newnewteam eco - you may be surprised by what you discover!

Eco-Conscious Wedding Paper Product Alternative Ideas (that's a mouthful!)

My husband + I wanted a beautifully and thoughtfully decorated wedding - but we also wanted it to be ecologically responsible, economically reasonable and also represent 'us' [tall glass to fill!] The first of many decisions began with our save-the-date. Yes, there are tons of adorable and clever options out there (magnets, cookies, candles, etc); but rather than create excessive waste, we determined that every single person on our invite list (save for 5 people over the age of 80) had an e-mail address. We therefore sent out an electronic fyi (which was a huge hit) also serving double duty requesting mailing addresses for the formal invitation.

Easy steps to e-mail save-the-date:
(1) Craft a message that is personal - reflecting you as a team.
Include the necessary information:
- date
- location
- hotel information (if you have it)
- website (if you are doing that)
- address information (if you need it)
(2) Attach a photo - everyone loves to see the couple in a funny state [fortunately for me, i've known my guy since we were 12] If anyone on your list is insistent on prehistoric methods, they can print out the attachment + affix to their refrigerator. Here is a blank version for you to use if you'd like :
Also, you are welcome to use this MARRIAGE header + footer I created to frame the text of the e-mail:
Next, invitations! If you do not feel comfortable with complete DIY invitations, waisze and fubabee both offer options in customization (color, font + wording choices among others) in their ETSY shops.

We wanted to explain the customs and traditions of our wedding, as well as highlight those participating. A very simple DIY solution (that doesn't involve bows, glue or much more than a paper cutter) is following this format:
(1) Chose 11x17 paper or card stock. Each sheet will yield 2 programs.
(2) Design your monogram or emblem, which will be placed on the far right. Make sure it is no wider than 1 inch. For example: Wedding of _____ & _____ with optional date and place - or just initials is also lovely.
(3) Design the text keeping in mind that you will be folding the paper 8 inches in from the left (therefore leave a gutter)
*Keep all of the above no taller than 5 inches from the top.
(4) Duplicate all of your top content directly below.
(5) Print / Copy just over half of the amount you anticipate needing.
(6) Cut every sheet in half lengthwise (hot dog - not hamburger) so that you are left with 2 pieces of 5.5 x 17
(7) Fold - not in half - but so that your names are visible on the right hand side.
This may seem simple, but really these are generally a throw-away (except for maybe your paternal grandmother) and super easy!

Cheers + Great Wishes!

- lisa