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How do we reduce our waste?

As you know it’s our birthday month and so all blogs this month are dedicated to all things CWJ. Today I am going to talk about the ways we try to limit our waste at CWJ London.

Leather is a by-product of the meat industry. It is natural in it’s form so can widely vary in it’s shape and sizes. There will always be part of the leather that doesn’t fit patterns on but when making anything I save all pieces and try to use them for other thing, like cards etc. I like to use every inch of the leather for something so there isn’t waste. Design is where it starts. When designing products, I try to establish ways to create the products with as little material waste as possible. The easiest way to explain this is through our VETTE. The VETTE has a long belt strap which, in industry would normally mean cutting right down the middle of a hide to get the length. This obviously then makes it very difficult to use the rest of the hide to its full capacity. It takes a big part of the hide out meaning that it is then harder to get other large-mid sized patterns cut on the same hide.

When I wanted to create the VETTE, I knew that it would mean creating a large amount of waste so decided to change part of the production process. To make this product for effective I broke the strap up and instead of cutting from the middle I cut from the edges of the hide and join the pieces together to make a long belt. This may be a lot more time consuming, adding stitching, skiving and gluing to the process but it massively reduces the waste. I also now use this on creating any straps for all CWJ products.

When cutting out any of my products all off cuts are kept. Some are big enough that I can use for my smaller accessories like the pocket pouches, cardholders, key fobs etc. The scraps that are too small for that I have always kept, this is because I am a hoarder and just cannot throw away anything. I then when clearing up and realising just HOW MANY boxes of small scraps I had collected decided I need to use them in some way. This is why I make cards; I use these smaller scraps for handmade cards. I LOVE making the cards I find it incredibly peaceful, and almost use it as a wind down when I am finding things stressful.

Trying to reduce waste has created a couple of our products. The pocket pouch was born as an off cut from the Inala Crossbody. When making the Inala crossbody there is two patterns that are cut to create a frame. This means that the middle of the pattern is cut out and not used. As there are two frames there is a pair. An awkward pair that was too small for anything big, and almost too big to waste on smaller products. This is when I thought if I add a zip, it’s a perfect little pouch, Voila.

Making is not the only way we try to reduce waste. I try to keep and take any useable hardware/ fittings off any old bags. When I say old bags, I don’t generally mean old CWJ bags, more old bags from when I was a child, or from friends and family who no longer use them. I see everything as useable down to the material itself in some cases. They are not always in a good condition but that doesn’t matter, as I don’t use them for new CWJ products it is more for creating samples, I then continuously reuse as and when I design a new product. Less waste in packaging. Although as a luxury brand I want my packaging to ooze class, I am also aware of excessive packaging and how as much as it may be beautiful to eye of the beholder, they are just going throw it away (well recycle I would hope). I try my best to reuse any packaging I get myself. For example, if I order hardware and it comes in an unbranded box filled with tissue paper, I will keep it for my own orders. Reuse reuse reuse. The tissue paper I will be lightly ironed and then folded and saved. I will carefully flat pack the boxesand save any padded suitable envelopes I can. Yes, all the above does at time to my day, but as I am trying hard as an individual to have less waste as well as within my business it is all worth it in my eyes.


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