Balnacra Arts & Pottery by Vicky Stonebridge

Towards Zero Waste at the Pottery

I’ve always been a bit of an obsessive reuse, purpose, recycle and upcycler, so it makes sense to try just a little bit harder and get towards Zero waste in the studio- especially now disposable plastic is having such a devastating effect on the planet and we’re moving closer and closer to a tipping point with human made global changes. The changes that a small business like mine can make are tiny compared to the impact that global corporations and politically policies are having, however I’d rather be part of the solution than the problem.

The main change this year is that I am using newspaper and scrap paper to wrap customers pots this year instead of buying in nice tissue paper, everybody has been very supportive of this move. Here is a list of some of the ways in the studio that we try to manage and minimise waste.
Packaging-bought in paper carrier bags, can be reused or will biodegrade.
wrapping pots in donated newspapers and peoples donated bubblewrap.
Use Cardboard boxes that are recycled and donated.
use recycled packaging chips that people donate.

Clay comes in heavy plastic bags, I reuse these around the studio and house to carry and store items as well as to protect pottery while it dries.
all the scraps of clay are collected and reclaimed, it gets slaked down with water, mixed up again and kneaded for using.

I use old sheets torn into squares to work and roll the clay on.
I use scraps of plaster board to dry tiles on.

Jamjars, buckets and plastic tubs are donated to store glazes and materials in.
plastic tubs and food packaging containers are used as formers to shape pottery on.

broken bits of pottery are left outside for people to take away for their plant pots, mosaic projects or -often- fairy gardens !

glass jars and bottles are smashed up and melted in the pottery for lovely crackled effects.

used address label sheets are cut up and made into price labels.

Aprons are washable, second hand, home made or donated.
Hand towels are washable and made from old towels.
Rags are used to cleanup, these are washed and reused.
Sponge packaging has been cut up to use as washing sponges.

old kitchen utensils are used as tools.
old sieves and colanders are used to sieve raw materials.
cardboard tubes are used to shape the clay.
old lace and textured wallpaper or household items are used to make patterns.

Polystyrene pizza bases are used as circle templates, and also to draw patterns on to print into the clay.
scraps of wood are used to store the pottery on while it dries.
scraps of paper are used for name labels on pottery.
Old toothbrushes are used as tools, and to stir glazes.

latex/ vinyl gloves when needed are washed and reused.
cotton cloths are used instead of cellophane.
when cellophane is needed it is reused again & again.

Sawdust from the community wood or local woodturner, as well as shredded paper from the site office is used to smoke fire & Raku pottery.
Food cans have been cut up and soldered to make original shape cutters.
Glaze scraps are collected from the bottom of tubs after use and mixed together & fired to render them safe for the environment, or even turned into new glazes.
Wood ash is used as an ingredient to make a Glaze.

Teabags are collected for composting.
‘Weeds’ from the path outside are composted.

Pottery Raw materials have come from pottery studios that have closed down, I am inventing new recipes to use these materials instead of buying in new ones.
Clay is collected from a supplier in Scotland to try and keep down the transport miles.

This is work in progress. Many thanks to everyone for their donations and support.


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This entry was posted on April 20, 2019 by in Blog, The Pottery Studio and tagged , .

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