Waste Less

21st May 2021

Conversations about climate change have become common place as we work towards a more sustainable future for the good of the planet and the generations to come.

Whilst large organisations and governments are making progress in battling our climate crisis as they pledge to reduce carbon emissions and invest in renewable energy, there are times it feels like we can affect little change personally. However, the small steps each of us take will help to build momentum that will eventually reduce the negative effects of climate change.

‘Zero Waste’ is a term now often heard in relation to landfill and cooking as we focus on waste prevention. Whilst the idea of zero waste is noble, realistically it’s a notion not easily achieved and so many activists are encouraging us to consider the five R’s of refusing, reducing, reusing, repairing and repurposing that will help slow our current waste creation and switch our mindsets toward a more circular approach rather than a disposable one.

Waste is a terrible thing to waste.

What about our time with needle and thread? Is it possible to work towards less waste in our approach to stitching?

The answer is absolutely!

The concepts of saving fabric and thread from one project to another or ‘shopping our stash’ aren’t foreign ideas for many of us, but have we ever stopped to consider the fate of our orts?!

Orts are the leftover snips of thread that remain when we’re done stitching, often thrown into an orts pot never to be thought of again until we find the pot overflowing. For many of us, we simply empty it into the waste ready to be filled again. But there are those who’ve taken the time to consider their orts and found some fabulous ‘less waste’ approaches to them.

As we photographed Inspirations issue #112, our stylist pulled from a bag a select few brightly coloured orts and placed them thoughtfully within a bird’s nest to create the just right prop. As we found ourselves thinking about orts in a whole new light, a subsequent Google search uncovered many a creative way to put our orts to use.

Think decorative jars filling slowly as testament to the hours we’ve spent with needle and thread, visible tokens of our dedication and accomplishment. Small cushions filled with our repurposed lengths of threads. Clear Christmas baubles displaying the colours of projects past or simple frames in which our orts are exhibited as works of art.

Whatever use we find, not only are we reaffirming our love for needle and thread – orts and all! – we’re also helping to build the momentum that will reduce the effects of climate change as we focus on the ‘R’ of repurposing. 

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top