As you become more eco-conscious, you become more and more aware of just how many products are bad for the environment.
Not only are lots of materials unsustainable, but they can also cause pollution. Due to the high presence of plastics in more products than you can imagine, many cause damage to the oceans when they are thrown away.
If you make cushions, quilts, cuddly toys, and other stuffed sewing projects, you might not be aware of what exactly is in the materials you’re using for stuffing.
Whether you buy your stuffing online or from a craft store, chances are you’re using something that has a high quantity of plastic.
Many cushion inserts and other forms of stuffing are made from polyester fibers which can take anywhere between 20 and 200 years to biodegrade.
You may be wondering why you would ever need to recycle something like a cushion or a cuddly toy, but there will come a time when these products will wear out and need to be replaced.
So, what else can you do? Well, worry not, there are plenty of alternative stuffing options for your sewing projects. Here are just a few ways to may your projects more eco-friendly.
Recycling Old Furnishings
One option is to use stuffing that has come from another stuffed item. The outer fabric may be worn and faded, but the stuffing could still be usable.
We might all be more eco-conscious today, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of items around that were produced with materials that are bad for the environment.
The very cushions currently decorating your couch and bed are likely stuffed with either polyester fiber or bird feathers. These options are unsustainable and feather stuffing is definitely not eco-friendly or cruelty-free.
But, just because they aren’t good for the environment, doesn’t mean that you need to throw them away and replace them. In fact, this is a much worse idea as you will be wasting perfectly usable stuffing.
If you have some cushions and pillows around the house that are looking worn and are in need of replacing, then these are ideal choices. Remember, the most sustainable option is the one already in your home.
Recycled Cushion Inserts and Batting
You can also buy cushion inserts and batting that have already been recycled and these are a great option if you’re not keen to go tearing into your sofa cushions. As companies become more conscious of their carbon footprint, they have more eco-friendly and recycled materials available.
But, remember to be discerning. Some companies are treating the recent uptick in consumers wanting to reduce their environmental impact as a trend or something that’s just fashionable for now.
Try to buy your materials from local and independent retailers as they will have a smaller carbon footprint and won’t be just trying to sell what they think will make the most money. If you choose to buy, try and be conscious of where you’re spending your money.
A potentially controversial stuffing option is wool. If you’re vegan, you probably don’t want to be using any animal products in your projects. But, using wool isn’t an entirely unsustainable option. Depending on the kind of wool you use, they are also close to cruelty-free.
Many sheep, due to the way they have been bred, need to be sheared otherwise their coat will continue to grow and overwhelm them. The original breeding is what is unethical, not the shearing itself.
So, wool can be a good, sustainable, and comfortable option for your next sewing project.
You may not have heard of kapok fiber before, but it is a natural fiber that is great for stuffing. The fibers are too fine for industrial textile production, but they are great for home crafting.
Kapok fiber comes from the fruit of the Kapok tree and is a great option for stuffing all kinds of craft items. One of the reasons stuffings such as polyester fiber are so popular is that they are generally resistant to damp and mold, but so is Kapok fiber.
Kapok fiber is silky and soft so very comfortable. It is also a great insulator and anti-mite and anti-moth, so you won’t have to worry about any little creatures chewing up or making their home in your soft furnishings.
You may find yourself struggling to find enough to fill a whole cushion, but if you make small stuffed crafts for decorations then dried lavender is a wonderful option. You can buy dried lavender or if you or someone you know has a lavender plant, you can take a few spikes to dry at home.
Once they have dried, you can pull the flowers off and use them as stuffing. They can be used to stuff decorations or for drawer inserts to keep your clothes smelling lovely.
Dried lavender also has a lot of great uses. You can have a few spikes hanging up as decoration, use it to flavor food, or use it as a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to wedding confetti.
Bamboo has had an incredible surge in popularity in recent years. Bamboo is being used for everything from toothbrushes, to kitchen utensils, to underwear, and clothing.
It is an amazing plant that can be used to make hard, durable products as well as incredibly soft clothing items.
Even better, using bamboo is incredibly sustainable. Bamboo can grow to its full height in just 3 or 4 months, which is incredible compared to other plants and trees that can take years to grow and cultivate.
When you think of bamboo, you’re probably thinking of the hard plant and are wondering how that can be comfortable. If you’re interested, bamboo is turned into a fabric by being crushed.
Then, the fibers are combed out and spun into yarn. This means that you can make your sewing projects 100% bamboo. You can use bamboo for the main fabric, for the stuffing, and even for the thread.
Bamboo is the ultimate sustainable crafting and textile material.