Our planet is very precious and it is up to all of us to do whatever we can to protect it.

Small Business Britain offer a Green Skills For Business course.
I jumped at the chance to sign up to discover how I could make changes to Denalis with the environment and sustainability in mind. 
In life I avoid plastic, reduce waste, recycle and reuse what I can and that is carried through to my business but I appreciate there is always room for improvement and it's important not be complacent. Even a small step is a step in the right direction. 

'If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with mosquito.'                                                                                                      African proverb                 
Circular economy
Sustainability and a circular business model is at the very core of Denalis as I primarily work with a material made using what would otherwise be a waste product.

Silver precious clay is a very versatile, non-toxic, zero waste material. It's made from extremely fine particles of silver, a by-product of manufacturing processes, mixed with an organic plant-based binder (often rice flour) and water.

Nothing is wasted during my making process - unused clay can be saved for other pieces, if a design goes wrong or breaks it can be reconstituted and even the dust from sanding can be reused. As the final fired product is assay quality silver it can be melted down and used to make something new.

I offer my customers repairs to their Denalis jewellery for example replacing clasps, jump rings, restringing bracelets to minimise waste. Any broken silver pieces that are replaced are melted down and reused in new jewellery.

Silver reclaim process  Denalis making process

• I changed my energy supplier to Octopus Energy - 100% green, renewable energy. 
• All our light bulbs have been changed to LEDs and I have an LED lamp on my desk if I need it. Any lighting used for events has LEDs and is rechargeable.
• We had a smart meter installed to monitor our energy use and cut back where we can.
• I work during daylight hours. My desk is in front of a window so I use natural light as much as possible.
• I currently use a butane gas hand torch to fire my pieces, not a kiln. Butane does not affect the ozone layer.
• My tiny workroom/office is not centrally heated. The radiator was removed as the room is kept warm enough by the hot water pipes running through it. 
• I dry my pieces on top of the boiler - no need to buy and run a dehumidifier. 

• I work mainly from home but do use our car to travel to events which is on average twice a month.
• I offer local delivery on foot, by public transport or while I am en-route to/from events in the car, so no special journeys are needed.
• We currently own one petrol, ULEZ compliant car shared between our family of three.

• I use zero waste, non toxic silver precious metal clay. This is made using recycled silver, a by-product of manufacturing processes. Jewellery made with precious clay is of assay quality and so can be melted down for reuse. 
• I also use sterling silver chains and beads, buying recycled as a preference.
• I prioritise choosing suppliers with published environmental, sustainability and ethical policies.
• Where I can I order materials in refillable glass containers rather than plastic ones.
• I save and reuse any plastic containers or bags that we occasionally receive orders/materials in.
• My greetings cards are printed on recycled card and their envelopes are made from recycled paper. 

• I use recycled/recyclable/biodegradable packaging.
• I use compostable and biodegradable non plastic metallic stickers for my gift boxes. I won't pretend that they were easy to find.
• Supplier packaging is constantly improving and thankfully biodegradable and compostable materials are becoming standard. I save and reuse everything I can. 
• I only use biodegradable, non plastic laminating sheets. 
• My greetings cards are packaged in compostable and biodegradable vegetable starch bags. I use smaller ones to store individual pieces of jewellery and for transportation to and from events and stockists.
• I use Zero plastic Sellotape and/or biodegradable plastic free paper tape to secure parcels and labels.
• I don't automatically package goods sold on my stand - I always ask if a bag or box is required. Some customers return gift boxes if they don't need or use them. A drawstring cotton bag alternative is offered on the website. These conform to the Global Organic Textile Standard. Find out more about GOTS here

Promotional materials
• Our leaflets, business cards, stickers etc are all printed on recycled paper and card. 
• We recycle ink cartridges.
• QR codes are available on my stand to link to my website, social media, Google review page etc to minimise paper use. 

• Your orders can be collected from me at my events.
• I use Royal Mail - collections can be made from me on foot while our postie is already out delivering and labels are provided. No extra journeys are necessary. 

Giving back
I plant a tree every month through Trees For Cities. They are the only UK charity working at a national and international level to improve lives by planting trees in cities and have been involved in planting areas in my local community. 

'We get stuck in with local communities to cultivate lasting change in their neighbourhoods – whether it’s revitalising forgotten spaces, creating healthier environments or getting people excited about growing, foraging, and eating healthy food'.

Read more about Trees For Cities here

What's next? 
• Calculate my carbon footprint and work out where I can make changes.
• Source and use plant based inks for printing.
• Looking at my display to cut down on what I take to events which could enable me to travel using public transport. I can hire tables and seating from the organisers.
• Our next car will be either hybrid or electric.