The last article in our Eco series, we are talking about how you can be more eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable as a wedding supplier and in your business. Although the wedding industry is often filled with statistics that it causes tons of waste, there are ways that you as a supplier can help change this. By making simple changes and steps that help both the planet and your clients. So, if you do want to become a more eco-friendly wedding business then here’s our advice… and remember when it comes to helping the planet, every little helps! You don’t have to make all of these changes, even one of these points can have a great impact! These points are what we look for in all the suppliers we work with on our Ethical Wedding Shows and also what values we are striving to uphold as a business.
Supporting Local and Sourcing Local
It can be very tempting to find cheaply made and sourced items that come from another country to keep costs low and to buy in bulk. However, this has a huge impact on carbon footprint and the environment. Cheap items bought wholesale in this way can be made with unethical materials and manufacturing processes. Not to mention the fact they have to be shipped over and travel a distance to reach you.
One of the biggest changes you can make is to look at sourcing materials and items etc from closer to home. Is there anyone in your local area that you can contact and create connections with? If you need wholesale orders or bulk amounts of items, can you find a company that already has these items and this stock level closer to you? Many hire companies will already have items in large quantities so that saves another journey of these items being shipped over.
Networking and looking into your local area is the best way to have an eco ethos as a supplier. Research into who is around, put call-outs in Facebook groups and on social media to find people you can work with who are local to you. If you work in stationery – are there any local places that you can get recycled paper from? If you are catering, who can you source your produce from in your area? If you work with flowers, can you find a local grower who can offer you buckets of homegrown British flowers in the high seasons? Finding people close to you not only creates an incredible community of support and trust, it also means every one of you working together is saving so much travel time, postage costs and shipping, and that all adds up. Most local councils, towns and villages have Facebook groups and business listings as well so take a look on there to find people who you can work closely with within your area.
No Single-use Plastic
This is one of the easiest ways to make a difference and become a more eco-friendly wedding business. Can you take away any single-use plastics and other non-ethical materials and replace them with durable, longer-lasting or recyclable materials instead? This is anything from the actual materials you use for your products to the way in which products are made, stored and shipped.
There are a lot of materials available now on a wider scale that can eradicate the use of single-use plastics. If you work in catering can you use bamboo, wood materials or other biodegradable materials? If you do this then also consider how they are disposed of and can you add in any disposal system that helps with this. If you are a florist are you creating work that still uses floral foam? If you are then consider some other options to create your work that is foam-free. From chicken wire to other elements, there are options to create without the use of foam and often these can be utilised on more than one occasion rather than simply thrown away. It is all about considering options that can either be recycled easily, composted or that can be used again and again. Doing this helps with landfill waste, emissions and so much more.
Consider Recycling Practices
Recycling is so much more than simply placing things in the correct bin. It is about considering how things can be reused and made into other things once disposed of. If you work with food, consider how you manage your waste disposal. Can you have bins clearly labelled for events that allow for zero waste? You might even want to consider adding in a compost bin so the waste can really go to good use.
If you are a product-based business how do you deal with waste and leftover materials? There are a few ways that you can limit waste by thinking about your recycling methods. You could reuse any leftover or scrap materials by creating something else – maybe another product. If you make accessories and have leftover parts, can you use those parts to make another product to sell – even if it is something a little different but it stops it from becoming waste?
If you work with paper items can you recycle leftover pieces of paper into something else? Or maybe you can create a way of recycling that allows what you need to get rid of to become something else at some point? There are also places that will take scrap paper, metals etc and give you money for it as they will utilise this into something that works for them. Take a look into this and see if anywhere in your area is looking for things you might have to give.
Another option for a recycling practice is to consider what to do with things after the weddings. If you have brought items that you no longer need once the wedding day is over, what can you do with them? Can you donate any items that are still in good condition to somewhere that will really benefit from them? You can also sell things on to other people so the items are still being used again and are getting a new life.
Caring for Wildlife and the Environment
There are lots of ways you can make a difference and protect and care for the environment and wildlife. You can make a start by thinking about what you offer and whether there is room to improve the practices of creating and sourcing. Like all of the points above. One option you can adapt to is to offer Vegan options in your services. From food, drink, materials and processes. Offering vegan food options is highly eco and sustainable. So is creating products with materials that aren’t damaging to the environment and aren’t sourced from animals.
Manufacturing methods also have a big impact on the environment but can be easily adapted to be more eco. Consider replacing toxic and harmful chemicals with other options that are ethical and don’t harm animals or nature. This can even be the case if you are a hair or makeup artist. Working with products that don’t test on animals, use chemicals and are vegan and cruelty-free is an amazing thing to do and will also really please your clients. It’s all about being kind to the planet and considering where things you use are sourced from and how they are made. These changes can have a huge impact on both wildlife and the environment.
SEE MORE HERE ON OUR VEGAN WEDDING BLOG>> Eco Weddings – How To Create A Vegan Wedding
Supporting Other Eco Initiatives
Do you support any other eco-initiatives within your business? Have you thought about any ways you can support or help that can have a positive impact and allow you and your business to be more eco friendly? There are lots of ways you can do this. Supporting a wildlife or environmental charity is one of the ways you can help give back as a business. This can be anything from donating a percentage of your profits to a chosen charity or even agreeing to a scheme that plants a tree for any package or service you sell. Another option is to look at how you can donate items after a wedding. Anything from unused and opened food to food banks and shelters, to feeding the homeless. Donating flowers and decor items to a hospice or charity to allow them to have another life and also to make somebody really happy.
Creating or sourcing items that will last for a long time after a wedding is also another way of introducing an eco and sustainable option to your business. Incorporating vintage items if you are a stylist is a great option and avoids waste. If you do create then creating with materials that last and won’t be thrown away after one use is perfect for any product-based business.
Just implementing a few of these practices can really impact the future of the planet and make a big difference. Small steps in the right direction will allow the wedding industry to reduce waste. However you do it and whatever choices you make it is about considering impact, waste and methods. If you want to read more on our eco series then take a look at the other topics we’ve talked about.
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