Oh, hi there. I'm back. I actually haven't left yet. I've been having an internal debate with myself over my pottery packaging materials and my greening desires. At my house we recycle all we can, use CFLs on all of our lamps and overheads (except those with dimmers, because I can't find CFLs that work with dimmers), eat organic and local as much as possible, and it's all going really well except with my packaging materials. Boxes I don't worry about- they're recycleable and I reuse the ones that come to the house or recycle them in our bins. I reuse bubblewrap- I've only had to buy a single roll of bubblewrap this year, so that's not SO terrible. But you know what I hate? The foam in the tops and bottoms of my boxes. My dad and stepmother shipped medical/surgical devices for years- very delicate stuff- and always used egg-crate mattress type foam. It's wonderful stuff except for how its made. And that it's not exactly biodegradable. I've reused all of it that they've sent me over the years and am nearing the end of the foam that I bought- a single twin-sized piece that was $10 at the biggest big-box store that I don't like to shop at. I'm wondering if shredded/crumpled newspaper would work as well as it does. I dislike packing peanuts, although the corn-based ones are okay- though corn-based anything is another issue entirely.

Pottery-making isn't exactly earth-friendly. Clay is mined, the glazes are toxic chemicals until firing, and the firing uses a LOT of energy. On the up side, all of my "throw aways" are recycled into mosaics or hung as garden art, I re-wet and re-use all of my clay scraps, slip, and pieces that crack or warp during drying, and most people don't just pitch a handmade pottery piece after a year or so, the way one might with a big-box dish. The production of my pottery doesn't bother my eco-consicence, but my shipping materials do.

Okay. Now I'm packing, and I'll be back next week!