Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've Got the Going Green Blues I'm a late bloomer in the recycling, ecologically friendly, planet protecting realm. Although the 'back to the earth' movement was an important concept to my family;( my husband and I took our newborn and four year old to a solar energy camp out in 1975), I think we did those things because they were cool to do and the participants had really good grass. We even added a geodesic dome onto our farmhouse in Michigan, heated our house with downed trees, grew our own food and raised animals for consumption. I had long braids, my husband had a beard and a ponytail , and there were two looms in our dining room back then, too. Unfortunately, when he graduated from college in 1979 and we moved to Philadelphia, all of that ended.

It takes me longer than most people to get on the ball. My friend, Hinda, recycled before you had to recycle. On trash day, she has the smallest trash pile in town because everything finds a place in the recycling bins. She encouraged me to try harder. Sabra, our employee and teacher extraordinaire, once took a pile of papers to her car to take home and recycle rather than see me throw them in the trash. Last week, I caught myself throwing empty water bottles and a glass ice tea bottle into my knitting bag to take home and put in the recyclables. My husband is becoming, though a little late, a fanatic about recycling. He asked me if I thought that the whole green thing is fleeting. I really don't think so.

We are striving to go green at Woolbearers. We use paper towels, but they are made of recycled paper. We don't use styrofoam cups, and we try to recycle plastic in the store by reusing plastic bags, bubble wrap, and styrofoam peanuts when we are unlucky enough to get them in a shipment. We use environmentally low impact dyes and only vinegar on our wool yarns. My sheep are on their way to being declared organic and I will like the day I can sell their wool as organic.

When we went to TNNA, we sought out organic products. Myra searches for interesting, beautiful yarns for our customers and found Vermont Organic Farms. Spun from luxurious 100% Certified Organic wool and processed in accordance with the Organic Trade Association's Fiber Processing standards O-Wool uses no harsh chemicals in processing making it durable, long lasting and a well-wearing fiber. O-Wool Classic, in the picture above, comes in gorgeous colors, is from long stapled wool so it resists pilling, and gets softer with washing. We should have it in stock, along with their two ply yarn, next week.

On the other hand, I'm not going to get ridiculous about this. Several years ago, I bought a large amount of weaving yarns, and part of the deal was that I had to take some acrylic yarns in the lot. I hate acrylic, but the truth is, the yarn is here, it's high quality (sounds like a contradiction), and to destroy it would cause a bigger impact on the earth than using it for something like blankets for the homeless, baby blankets, hats or scarves, whatever. So we continue to look for groups who need a yarn donation. I think part of the green movement is also using what we have and not being wasteful.

I keep hoping someone will come up with a use for another recycled product; 100 lbs of pink tricot strips, waste from a lingerie factory in PA that at one time I thought would make great rugs.

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