Does reducing waste really make a difference, if you are a small business?

Does reducing waste really make a difference, if you are a small business?

After working on my business policies recently,  and really having to think about what environmental standards I have and want to pursue as a business, I got thinking about the sneaky way big business has passed the buck onto small business and individuals to clean up the earth.

More specifically, I had been thinking about the use of the term "carbon footprint", and where it came from. I read that this phrase was invented for an oil company by an advertising agency specifically to make individuals feel guilty and focus on what small things they can do to make a difference. Really, its sole purpose is to distract the public from the real problem the fossil fuel industry causes to the environment. I also read that 100 companies are responsible for 70% of the world's pollution- yes, the WORLD'S. Large companies create much much more of a carbon footprint than any individual or small company ever could. 

From the beginning I have always planned to used as much textile "waste" as possible. Any textile project is going to produce remnants. Because so much time goes into weaving my own upholstery fabric, it has always been much more difficult to part with it. Making products from the remnants was the best option for me to stay in line with my beliefs about contributing to waste. I am constantly exploring what I can create with smaller and smaller pieces of textiles. Most recently, I have produced bundles of patches of woven fabrics in 3 sizes.

As a solopreneur, am I actually making an impact on the environment by using all my scraps? How does little ol' me using my leftovers to create bundles of patches make a difference? In reality, it doesn't. In my lifetime I can never produce as much pollution as a large textile company does in a year. As an artist creating things because I am passionate about them, caused me some heartache a few years back. I asked myself: why am I producing more unneeded items for the world? I am not creating food or water. It's not anything we need to survive, so why am I doing it? I quickly realized that reupholstering furniture, giving it new life, and keeping pieces from ending up in the landfill is actually a good thing. Reupholstering furniture produces way less waste than throwing revivable furniture away, and buying new, less durable items that will end up in the landfill in a few years anyway. 

Even though I know as a small business, being as close to net zero as possible does not make any real impact on the state of the environment, it makes me feel better, and because of that I will continue to strive to use every little bit of what I have. Just like the old saying states "Waste not, want not". 

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