At Maydel we take “tikkun olam” (the responsibility to repair the world) very seriously. Our ultimate goals are ambitious, and we know we can’t get there on our own—we’ll need to work cooperatively with all of our partners, from suppliers who source locally and sustainably, to artists who teach us how to mend beautifully and re-use creatively.
Below are our goals and some of the steps we’re already taking to meet them.
Goal #1: Be independently carbon-negative
Maydel already offsets way more carbon than we use (via fellow Chicago-based company, Tradewater), but our ultimate goal is for Maydel to be a source of carbon removal itself, through actions like generating and providing zero-emissions energy, or encouraging our suppliers and partners to reduce their use of virgin plastics.
Other ways we’re minimizing our carbon footprint:
- Using only sustainable packaging (like packing slips, labels, and envelopes/ mailers)
- Using as little unnecessary packaging as possible
- Making sure the packaging we do use is made from 100% recycled materials
- Making sure all of our packaging is household recyclable and compostable
- Reusing packaging we get from our suppliers
- Working on ways to more accurately calculate our emissions and those of our supply chain, and then sharing what we learn broadly
- Keeping our supply chain as local as possible
- Getting our energy from renewable sources
- Making sure all of our materials come from responsibly managed sources (e.g. FSC-certified wood and paper)
Goal #2: Be zero-waste
There’s no such thing as “away” when we talk about “throwing away” garbage. It all ends up somewhere, and anything we can’t re-use is left to build up and pollute.
One day, we want to be as efficient as Nature itself, where everything we sell is part of a cradle-to-cradle system that can renew and sustain itself forever.
Some ways we are already working to reduce waste and increase re-use:
- Allowing customers to buy materials by the inch or the ounce
- Prioritizing use of renewable materials in products and packaging
- Sharing “end-of-life” information for the products we sell to help our customers give them new life when they’re finished with them
- Reserving unsellable merchandise for in-house use or donation
- Stocking well-made tools that rarely, if ever, need to be replaced
- Providing resources for keeping tools in use longer, like tips for cleaning and sharpening
- Promoting craft projects that reduce waste, such as fashion mending or creative re-use
- Only using packaging that customers can easily reuse, recycle, or compost at home.
- Asking all suppliers to minimize packaging, especially plastic
- Recycling all paper, metal, glass, and plastics, including plastic films
- Composting all biodegradable waste
Goal #3: Protect the health and safety of all living things
We’re part of a complex and delicate living system, which means that we have to look out for all species in order to ensure our own well-being. We therefore need to protect marginalized communities, threatened species, natural habitats, and our shared air, land, and water from environmental injustice in order to thrive ourselves.
Some of the ways we protect each other from harm:
- Carrying only non-toxic products
- Use international certifications like Oeko-Tex and GOTS to find products that don’t contain harmful chemicals
- Monitoring the labor practices that are used to produce products we carry (SA 8000)
- Making sure that any animal-based products we carry, like wool or bristle, come from animals who are treated humanely
- Making sure that the plant-based products we carry, such as paper and wood, are farmed/ produced without harming the environment
- Using sustainably derived, non-toxic products in our office, such as cleaning fluids or inks
- Participating in local projects focused on environmental justice
Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about how Maydel can get closer to our sustainability goals? Please get in touch or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.