World Thrift Day (31 October) is all about reducing, reusing and recycling. The words ‘thrift’ and ‘sustainability’ are closely related concepts, because at the end of the day it’s all about minimising waste and reducing our footprint.
At Dave Clark Design we take sustainability seriously but there’s always more we could be doing. Our focus and our initiatives are often driven by individuals here who care about sustainability and our carbon footprint. We spoke to four of them on their perspective and approach...
1. Antoinette le Vaillant, Senior Designer
Respect for the resources we have so that we are able to continue to live prosperously – that’s my idea of sustainability. Interestingly, Maori culture has been on to sustainability for a long time, through the concept of kaitiakitanga: you belong to the land rather than own it so respect and protect resources for current and future generations.
My grandmother had a very thrifty nature, having survived the Great Depression. I’ll never forget her drying out used tea bags so they could be used again.
I recycle. I compost. I buy second-hand. I restore. I sponsor sustainability initiatives. I garden without pesticides (never had fewer slugs and snails). I carpool. I drive at optimal fuel-efficient speed. I petition for sustainable fishing practices. I dive but don’t hunt cray and I collect rubbish off beaches.
2. Dave Clark, Director
For me, sustainability means using products in a way that doesn’t create unnecessary waste. Growing up in Cyprus, my family lived very basically with minimal services apart from electricity. We lived simply on the beach. As a refugee, my mother was very frugal and very careful in the ways she handled domestic expenses. She always sought to use things fully before throwing them away.
These days, I try to apply common sense sustainability, re-using things around the house to ensure minimal waste is achieved, recycling and remembering the reusable bags when I duck into the supermarket.
3. Peter Kemp, Studio Manager
My personal approach to sustainability boils down to giving a little more than I take. There’s a saying that always stuck with me: "A little thought, then a little acting on those thoughts, a little bit at a time, and collectively we will make a big difference."
Growing up, I remember groceries coming in paper bags, growing most of our own veggies, homemade clothes, milk delivered in reusable glass bottles and beer in swap-a-crates.
But much of that simply isn’t an option today. So now I ride a scooter to work rather than a car, and keep bees – helping sustain the bee population makes me feel good.
4. Jon Coates, User Experience Designer
If I can borrow, fix, or build something myself rather than buy it, I will because I hate the tonne of packaging used by manufacturers today. It starts at home, having a compost bin near the kitchen, which was made out of a derelict rubbish bin. Cleaning and separating out soft plastics, which are dropped off at the local supermarket.
Only planting for the benefit of ourselves, birds and the bees … a mix of natives and fruit trees to form a hedge, and companion planting in our veggie garden to aid with pest control. I can’t remember the last time we put our landfill bin out on the street for collection. It’s been months.