Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brown goes green

I hate the mail.  Let's just start there.  Now let me tell you how good I am at ignoring stuff that looks like it requires reading for more than 30 seconds. In fact, I have a sad history of doing this with holiday cards.  Last year I was cleaning piles of papers long ignored and found (gulp) a pile of Christmas cards covering the last 5 years...some opened, some not.  My bad.

So this past weekend, when Mr. Sunflower cheerfully dumped a pile of mail on my desk, I groaned and decided to suck it up and just take care of it.  Low and behold, there was something worthwhile, in the form of a newsletter from the Brown Sheep Company.

I'm going to take the liberty of quoting their newsletter directly:

"Dye waste water, which in the past has been just that, waste...will
now be treated by two different processes--micro filtration followed by
reverse osmosis.  What is the result of this treatment?  Almost zero
discharge of chemicals into the environment.  At the same time, more
than 90% of the water used in the dyeing process will be used again. 
Brown Sheep uses approximately 20 thousand gallons of water per day for
the dye process.  By saving over 18,000 gallons of water, we are
certainly joining the fight against needless waste.  By retaining the
heat energy in the water, less energy will be needed to continually
bring the water to the appropriate temperature, thus saving both energy
and water in the process.

The final phase of this project is currently being implemented and we
hope to have the new system fully functional by spring '09."


A couple of years ago, Lorna's Laces announced a new line of yarns dyed with natural dyes...only to discover how much more water the natural dye process uses.  I congratulated Beth, the owner, for recognizing this and changing her plan to save that extra water.  While I know it must have been a terribly disappointing decision for her to make, she did the right thing.  Awesome.

After my own experiences with natural dyes, I made the decision not to use them for the very same reason.  Now, my water comes from the sky, and gets used over and over because I work hard to make sure there is little, if ever, excess dye left when I do decide to kettle dye something.  It just feels good, being careful...especially living here in the high desert.


sandy said...

you crack me up! Love this post, always love to learn who is going which direction toward green.... Nice to know-how's the weatha? Smooches from the sheep!

Linda said...

In the first picture of the two ladies spinning, one has on the most beautiful knitted cowel scarf. Is it possible to fine out where to get the pattern?
I really enjoy your blog and wish you luck on your endeavors. Thanks, Linda

Martie said...

Thanks, Linda!
That's Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts. She's on Etsy and has her own blog. It's her scarf of her own design...not sure if there's a pattern or not...perhaps if you write, she'll help you out!
Best wishes....Martie