We love wood.
It is a naturally warm and beautiful material.
We also love forests and are actively involved in trying to preserve them.
There are very few (if any) wax seal products on the market that are currently using FSC wood handles such as ours. We are very proud of this, but we also feel that there is more that can be done.
Our relationship with wood has caused an ongoing battle with our own moral judgement. Recent events such as the tragic bushfires in Australia and the current ongoing pandemic have shown us firsthand that there is an urgent need to reconsider our choice of materials and the impact that they have on our planet.
You could argue that we are only a small drop in the vast ocean of multinational corporations that pollute this earth, but it is not quite the right level of thinking. Just because our impact is not as substantial doesn’t mean that it is of less significance. That also doesn’t mean to say that what we are doing is inherently bad. There is a demand for our products and they bring joy to many people. Purchasing from us may be better than purchasing from others who are less environmentally conscious. However, we cannot shake the feeling that we are still a contributor to the global climate crisis.
Is there an alternative?
Natural materials can be substituted for synthetic ones, but in order to make a synthetic material you first need a natural material to begin with. It is impossible to make something from nothing. There has to be a source from which all materials are made.
As a species we rely on materials. It forms the basis of everything that we create. Therefore, we can never truly reduce the amount of materials that we extract or consume. We can however choose which materials we use the most.
Are there certain materials that are better for the planet than others?
After all, materials will eventually become waste. Even a recyclable material cannot be recycled an infinite number of times. Recycling also requires an input of energy, which carries with it a large carbon footprint.
There is a lot of information to unpack here and you may be feeling as overwhelmed as we are. But it is important to have a discussion and gain a deeper understanding.
We are not environmental experts, and there is a lot of conflicting information online which makes it difficult to make an informed decision. In seeking to expand our consciousness and venture further on our journey to sustainability, we invited a few of our friends and fellow business owners to open the discussion about sustainability and to contribute any thoughts that they may have.
Here is a response from one of the Co-Founders of Orbitkey:
As a company that has recently achieved Climate Neutral Certified status, you have inspired not only us but no doubt countless other business owners to think more responsibly. It would be interesting to hear your motivation behind the move to become more sustainable and which areas you think other aspiring brands should focus their immediate attention?
We always had the view that a lot of these companies are making things from recycled materials etc, only to sell even more products.
There's something insincere about it that made us feel a little bit uncomfortable.
Why not just produce less products? Wouldn't it be better?
But at the same time, Consumers will always buy products.
Product companies operate and sustain themselves by selling products.
After a little while though we realised that trying to find the perfect formula didn't help the cause in any way.
We decided to do something about it and @beclimateneutral relates to us a lot more than other initiatives.
At the end of the day, we're going into it knowing that it's not necessarily going to make that much impact right away.
Ultimately, we're not going to save the planet by taking this step. But it's a small step we're taking. And by making it, hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.
But ultimately as a company, we have been and will always pose the questions of :
1. Do we need to create this product?
2. How will this product impact someone's lives in a better way than all other existing products?
3. How can we make sure that the product we design will be used for the longest time possible?
It's interesting and delightful to see how much the entire team is onboard with us doing our bit to reduce our negative impact to the planet.
Hopefully our customers will be too.
Our second question was for Tom's Studio:
As a craftsman who makes a conscious effort to use locally sourced materials, do you think that recent events will prompt humankind to be more considerate about our purchases or are we destined to resume old habits?
Great question!! I think we should all be thinking about these kinds of things. I have no idea about the big picture to be honest but personally speaking I think we can step up as individuals and businesses to show others what is possible within sustainability. I hope that more and more designers start their process with sustainability at the front of their minds. This, I'm sure, will lead to far more innovative and sustainable solutions.
Education is key here and I think the more the industry talks about these solutions and makes them more open source the better.
A huge thanks to Orbitkey and Tom's Studio for taking the time to discuss these important issues with us.
As a small, family business we may not have the ability to change the world overnight, but we can at least inspire others to talk about their own approach to sustainability and to spark further debate in the community.