My commitment to Sustainability
My background includes a decade working as a gardener with both private clients and volunteering on community permaculture projects. During this time I practised using eco-friendly, chemical-free gardening techniques in order to protect the flora and fauna around me. Eco systems are very delicate and I have a deep respect for them.
Now I am an artist and producing my own wallcoverings range I feel duty-bound to continue this commitment to my immediate surroundings, and therefore our planet itself, and produce my work as sustainably as I can. This includes who I work with and who I am associated with.
Permaculture follows 3 main principles; Earth care, People care and Fair shares. In a nutshell, respect the planet and preserve eco systems; help and support people (that includes sharing information/swapping skills, ensuring you look after yourself and family as well as others and recognise fair-trade and the living wage etc) and recognise that the earth does not have infinite resources and lifestyles need to be sustainable – that we only use enough for all we need, not for all our greed. I feel that these principles can be incorporated into my business and I will continue to try and improve my sustainability model by practising this every day. I will also endeavour to review and record my progress on an annual basis.
So how does this work in practise?
At the very core is my product offering. ‘Spring Tonic’, is a biophilic mural design wallcovering, hand-painted by myself at home, printed on pioneering new Eco non-woven paper.
This paper contains no PET plastic fibres – like many wallpapers or wallcoverings. It is FSC certified and made from 99% renewable raw materials (Renewable cellulose (wood pulp) fibres, Renewable Binder, Renewable PLA fibres (a plant derived thermoplastic).
It uses approximately 30% less Greenhouse Gases in manufacturing PLA fibres compared to PET fibres.
My paper uses water-based, low VOC non toxic inks. Any offcuts following installation can by recycled in the normal paper collection – which is something you cannot do with wallcoverings containing PET fibres.
My wallcovering also scores A+, the highest achievable grade for 'Émissions dans l'air intérieur', which measures VOC regulation for construction and furnishing products.
I hand deliver my original design to a local repro company for scanning and repro work and then personally deliver the design to Surface Print who are also local to me.
Surface Print are a well-established printer of fine wallcoverings and have been printing for over 150 years. They even have some of the original machines used over a 100 years ago. Surface Print employ locally and work with local colleges regarding employment schemes. They are FSC certified and choose to work only with ethical and accredited suppliers and make business decisions based on the impact on the wider, global environment. They source all of their electricity from renewable resources, which makes them exempt to The Climate Change Levy and shows that they support the generation of renewable energy.
Surface Print ensure all inks are classed as water-based, which means they are non-toxic and very low in VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). All paper and non-woven substrates are sourced from FSC® certified forests. Surface Print continues this chain of custody dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests as they are also FSC certified. FSC certification number is SGSCH-COC-020053.
Surface Print also go to great lengths to clean water released back into the system and even collect used paints and dyes that are then sent on to the building industry to be recycled in breeze blocks for building materials.
Any printing factory samples are donated by Beautiful by George to surrounding community groups as are finished mural wallcoverings in an attempt to support local groups and reduce waste. The nature of the Biophillic design is particularly useful in therapy rooms or spaces for example.
I occasionally paint murals locally for community groups / charities free of charge. My most recent is at St Augustines Refugee Community Centre in Halifax. I have also donated a mural wallcovering here for their hair salon project, a little salon run by refugees offering haircuts for free to the local community.
I have also donated 2 murals to Todmorden College, a local college that runs academic sustainability courses. This is also the home of ‘Incredible Edible’ the world famous volunteer gardening group (the model is repeated in major cities and towns worldwide now) – where edible planting around towns are made available for all the community to eat.
Within my own immediate environment I use energy suppliers that use 100% renewable energy. I now own a hybrid electric vehicle. I recycle and compost wherever possible. I try to buy as locally as possible and ensure that I use our local no waste shops. I am consciously reducing my on-line shopping in order to support local shops.
My product is prepared and boxed up by me as I am a small operation. My cardboard packaging is made from recyclable materials, the tape used is recyclable.
Each purchase of Spring Tonic buys 3 trees with 'Just One Tree'. All proceeds of this go towards not only reforestation programmes where it is needed but also marine reforestation like kelp regeneration initiatives and community education programmes.
I will soon have an office in my town to work from and this will need to be a sustainable operation that is very local.
I deliver my packages to a local post office personally, using the electric mode in my car. I do this once or twice a week to save on delivery impact. I personally deliver for free locally.
I only work with local professionals; admin support, repro, printers, photographers, florists, mural installers etc.
I will make every effort to be an ambassador of Eco non-woven wallcoverings as I feel so passionately about it and commit to producing them continuously in the future.