At Northern Fire, we are keen to do as much as we can to minimise our impact on the environment. It is something we feel passionately about so I wanted to share with you a few things that we are doing within our collective. This blog is not about virtue shaming but is intended to educate about some of the issues we are all facing and to encourage you, the reader, that there are ways to contribute to improving our environment and maybe to give you some information you weren’t previously aware of!
The majority of our products are produced in the UK and we try to work with local suppliers as much as possible.
As we aren’t realistically able to obtain all products directly from source (sadly, we haven’t quite reached the stage of shearing our own sheep for wool...yet), we have to work with manufacturers and are reliant on the products that are available. We actively try to research the companies we work with to make sure we offer the best products both in terms of quality and environmental standards.
You may have noticed on our product descriptions that all of our T-Shirts are made using 100% organic cotton. It sounds great to say but what does it actually mean? Here are a couple of key facts below:
Organic cotton is 80% rain fed which will reduce the pressure on the water table in production areas, which are often susceptible to drought.
No chemicals or pesticides are used in the production of organic cotton. As well as the obvious reduction of bad stuff in the atmosphere, this also means that water in the surrounding areas does not get contaminated.
The production of organic cotton is required to meet certain agricultural standards. Farmers are also able to grow more than one crop as pesticides aren’t used which can supplement their income / reduce the financial impact of a bad growing season.
One of the best reported environmental issues at the moment is the impact caused by single use plastics. We are trying to do our bit to cut down in a couple of ways:
We have tried to cut out a lot of unnecessary plastic involved in any orders from suppliers. Originally, when we first set up, all t shirts were individually bagged in plastic when they arrived which seemed incredibly wasteful to us. We have since requested that future orders are plastic free. Also, our friends at Sacred Knot Tattoo have chosen a tattoo supplier that uses no plastic in their shipping. Read more about Killer Ink here
As we cannot control how other businesses/individuals send out their package, we store any packaging materials such as bubble wrap and boxes so that it is reused. If you receive any reused bubble wrap in one of our packages, we would encourage you to do the same!
All of our packages are now sent out in a fully recyclable “plastic” made from the waste products of sugar cane manufacture and instructions are printed on the bag as to how to this can be recycled. For those who are interested, you can read more on an informative blog here
In short, the polymer created to make this “plastic” is bio-based rather than oil-based from the leftovers of sugar cane extraction. It is true that all manufacturing on a mass scale will emit large amounts of carbon and the sugar cane industry is no exception. However, by making processes more efficient and by making use of waste products, a large company can reduce its carbon footprint.
The main downside of this packaging would be the freight miles required for the bags to reach us, however, even with this factored in, the bags have been classified as carbon neutral. We are committed to helping reduce this waste and unless a more local alternative becomes available, we will continue to use this type of packaging.
We are currently researching the best options for recycled parcel tape so hopefully that is another improvement we can make!
As we are based in Llandudno, North Wales, we are surrounded by a lot of natural beauty... but unfortunately also a lot of tourists and the litter they leave behind.
It is something we all felt strongly about so we decided to meet each week and clean up different areas of town. It is amazing how much rubbish can be picked up by just giving an hour a week with a group of friends!
Some of the artists within our collective are also designing signs to discourage littering... in their own unique styles of course... and we are speaking with the council about this at the moment.
We are hoping to get more involved in local groups in the future and if any of you are visiting the store, we will have spare equipment for if you want to join us in the future!
As I am based up in Manchester, I also contribute in my local area of Failsworth by helping to maintain a section of the Rochdale Canal with a local community group
I al not going to go into too much detail as It is a horrible word that everyone is sick of and there will be a more detailed blog is available on the Sacred Knot website
soon. However, we have already started to stockpile some of our products so that in the event of any problems with supply, there will be less impact.
Even so, it is possible that we will have to find alternate suppliers in case things do start to run out. This will be with the caveat that there will be no reduction in quality and the new products meet our minimum environmental requirements.
We need you!
Of course, there are plenty of ideas floating around that we not be aware of. If you have any ideas on how we can improve environmentally, please get in touch on our contact form
If you come up with any ideas we haven’t thought of, we would be happy to give you a discount on your next order with us!
Written by Duncan Reed