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Sustainability

In a small company like ours, it is important to remember the impact running a business can have. Therefore we, as a company have a responsibility to be considerate with our waste and recourses, recycle where possible, re-use and reduce what we use.

Deliveries / Postage & packaging:

We re-use packaging as much as possible when sending out items that have been ordered through any of our selling platforms. We especially endeavour to do this when anyone orders an eco-conscious product online, so that the whole process is in line with the ethos of that particular product all the way through. We bulk bought plastic mailers years ago, and still have some left to use up, but as we come to an end of those, it is important to reflect our natural interest for eco conscious living in our packaging too. We will therefore endeavour to make a 100% switch to compostable packaging in the very near future.

At present, all packages are wrapped using repurposed packaging, recycled paper, or small paper bags, then sent in either a bioedegradable mailer, or a double layered paper mailer, to ensure the product completes it’s onward journey unscathed. All paper packaging is brown recycled paper, and not bleached. 

 

Our procedure for unwanted packaging in deliveries are to try and tackle the waste at the source, and we implement any of steps below:

Direct feedback: Communicating with the suppliers via email or platform messaging, to let them know that the level of packaging used was surplus to requirement and therefore wasteful. We also simultaneously urge the companies not to use plastic packaging in future deliveries – it’s simply not welcomed.

Re-use: When receiving any kind of packaging the first port of call is always to re-use or repurpose these materials like bags, bubble wrap, cardboard or boxes. Anything we can not re-use ourselves we will list for free collection on social media selling platforms. We strip any boxes of addresses or branding first. We are sometimes able to re-use packaging to re-package smaller items in-store that need to be presented in a protective layer. Bubble wrap and plastic foam we can use for stuffing products for display such as hats, bags or shoes. Any smaller pieces of soft plastic that can not be re-used we use to make eco-bricks and submit to ‘Bricking it Bristol’.

Waste & recycling:

We sort all our waste by hand before determining disposal. We share 2 domestic sized bins with 2 other businesses in the building. One for mixed recycling, and one for general waste. The businesses we share the building and bins with also sort their waste carefully and have a green ethos in place. We have a communal compost wormery hive where we dispose of all compostable waste, including roughage such as shredded cardboard and tissue paper.
Our recycling bin currently takes: Paper, Cardboard, hard plastics, tins and cans.

Non recyclables Policy:

Items that are not currently available to recycle through our current waste collector, will firstly be considered for repurposing, then other recycling facilities, then potential for eco bricking, and only as a last resort will such items be put into the ‘General waste’ bin. We recycle glass waste locally via designated glass collection points

Eco bricks:

Eco Brick is a world wide initiative to minimise the plastic waste that ends up in landfill and our wider environment and can be made and submitted by anyone. Local collection points and appointed people are engaged with local communities all over the UK and we are registered with the Bristol ‘Bricking it’ facility.

Soft plastics such as packaging material will firstly be considered for re-use. If such pieces are not fit for purpose, they will go into our soft plastics collection and used to make eco-bricks. Mixed material items, such as tetra packs or foil laminate packaging will be sent to Terracycling for repurposed recycling. Many items are made from such waste, including kids playground equipment and park benches.

We make our own eco bricks from any smaller plastic waste that we can’t repurpose. This includes soft plastics from packaging as well as personal waste in the workplace. See more about what makes it into our eco bricks in our ‘Deliveries’ section.

Energy suppliers:

We use renewable energy company Ecotricity for electrics and gas utilities. The company ploughs money back into developing new sources of green energy. No fossil fuels, and no animal by-products, just green energy and carbon neutral gas.

 

Cleaning products:

We do all our own cleaning, using environmentally friendly cleaning products. Non- corrosive to surfaces, not harmful to pets or humans, and not harmful to the environment on disposal. All the cleaning products used are derived from plant extracts and are based on biodegradable and non-hazardous ingredients, no artificial chemicals but are yet highly effective at cleaning. We also endeavour to use refills wherever possible, or more economical.

 

Sustainable toilet roll:

We hold a subscription with ‘Who Gives a Crap’ toilet roll providers. They make their products with environmentally friendly materials, the main bulk of which is Bamboo, and the company donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. Printing, ink & paper waste/use We re-fill our own printer ink cartridges to save on costly refills and new cartridges.

 

Travel:

We encourage our staff to use sustainable modes of transport, and our landlords have provided secure bike racks in our shared courtyard for free use. We also keep trips made on behalf of the shop as local and sustainable as possible, rarely incurring vehicle use.

Personal waste in the workplace:
We encourage our staff to think about personal waste – considering reusable elements instead of single-use, considering kinder packing elements where reusable is not possible to replace. An open dialogue and a competitive spirit instilled – as we are sure this has an impact which reached wider than our business.

Social & environmental impact:

As a commercial company, the impact on our environment near and far, is always of concern. Taking responsibility and communicating with suppliers is a great first step to minimise packaging, alert other companies to the potential incurrence of waste. Sustainability comes in many forms, and workers rights and conditions can often be forgotten in considering the environmental impact. We stock a wide range of designers, and by far most of what we stock is locally made in Bristol. It’s important not just for environmental impacts, but also for the sustainability of the local economy. We often promote sustainability and talk about eco/green issues on our social media. As an fashion business we have a responsibility to actively open up for discussion on the subjects. We have also established the hashtag #greenmissionmondays ~where we put green issues in focus on a Monday throughout out social platforms.
As a company director, That Thing owner Joh often takes part in podcast interviews and panel discussions, and is always keen to include topics of sustainability and impact.

Designers:

Many of the designers we stock at That Thing are based in Bristol, and most are even local to us in the vicinity of Stokes Croft. Selling local makers wares is proven to effectively ploughs money straight back into the local economy. A few of our designers are sourced from further afield, but this will only be justified by their uniqueness and creativity. One such a factor can be their sustainability and ingenuity by design. Many of our designers use second hand fabrics, upcycle or repurpose materials, use end of roll or second sort materials. This not only brings a unique selling point and limited number to their wares, but is also an important factor when looking at sustainability in fashion. We also carry this over into our festival traders marketplace ‘The Fashpack’, when we trade at festivals with select small brands during the summer. Sometimes we present designers within our tent we don’t normally stock in the store, but the sustainable element is especially important when trading in the wild. And it proves that imagination has no boundaries, as we always present an incredible array of designers with ingenious and creative ways to repurpose, upcycle, and make use of vintage and second rate materials.

Commendable designers include, (but not exclusively so): Collect Me · A fashion brand based in Frome. Each piece is handmade by the designer, using vintage/end of roll/repurposed fabrics. Butchi & Gosmos · An accessories brand headed up by our store owner Joh, with all pieces made right here in Bristol. Joh repurposes leather to make jewellery, upcycles discarded mis-printed clothing from t-shirt printers and customises vintage ackets, utilises vintage fabrics and second hand clothing to make new items from. Insane in the Rain · A Bristol based brand headed up by a team of siblings, specialising in rain wear. Their entire range of rain jackets are unisex, and are made from recycled plastic bottles. The manufacturing takes place in Portugal; from where the siblings often work to oversee procedures. Huskee Cups – ergonomic on-the-go mugs made in part using coffee husks – a coffee production bi-product. Mama Leopard – a Bristol based jewellery brand that is produced using off-cuts from bugger manufacturers raw materials from the sustainable cork industry. A Million & One (1.000.001) – A Bristol based brand where each piece is handmade by the designer, using vintage/end of roll/repurposed fabrics. Further and Future: There are always more we can do, learn and live by. It is our aim to keeping on incorporating new and better ways, always. We are very happy to be part of a generation of small businesses that actively supports, educate and part-takes in sustainable initiatives and leads as a way of life.

 

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

—Maya Angelou

 

 

This is an on-going document that will be updated on a regular basis when new additional information becomes relevant or part of the cycle.

 


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