What does handmade pottery have in common with beeswax candles? Where does sustainability come into play? And what do the bees have to do with it? You can read that and much more here:
The production of ceramic vessels and objects has an even longer tradition than that of beeswax candles. However, both have one thing in common: They are made of natural materials and are lovingly made by hand. Each piece is unique. Beeswax candles and handmade ceramics have been making a comeback for a number of years as sustainable, resource-saving commodities. Especially today against the background of increasing environmental destruction, sustainable products are very popular - and so are handmade ceramics and beeswax candles. More and more people value conscious consumption and appreciate the true value of the items they use. Local and handmade products from natural resources are preferred to plastic goods produced abroad. Handmade ceramics is a prime example of a sustainable product and combines many advantages.
Quality beats quantity
Handmade pottery, as the name suggests, is handmade. Each one is a one-of-a-kind piece, made by hand with time and care. This alone makes handmade ceramics the opposite of resource-intensive mass production. The unique stands for a conscious production that takes place within an appropriate framework. In the production by hand, special attention is also paid to quality. The objects are carefully manufactured with a lot of knowledge, skill and experience. Each copy is made with love for craftsmanship and this alone has a value that a cheap item from the assembly line cannot achieve.
Resource-saving in the manufacturing process
The few ingredients that are required to produce handmade ceramics are of natural origin and can be processed without chemical additives. On the one hand, this creates a product that is harmless to health. On the other hand, the people who produce handmade ceramics can work with the raw materials without hesitation and are not exposed to any health risks. In terms of water consumption and the general consumption of resources during production, ceramics are at the forefront. By-products that arise during production can be recycled and have a positive effect on the overall balance of ceramics. However, high temperatures must be generated during the firing process, which require a relatively large amount of energy. However, the energy consumption could also be significantly reduced in the past thanks to modern processes. All in all, handmade ceramics are a resource-saving product that has a small ecological footprint.
The production of handmade ceramics and the sale of the goods is mostly regional. There are only a few kilometers between the place of procurement, the production site and the point of sale. The clays required for the production come from the region. To try the comparison with bulk goods again: Here, containers full of goods are shipped across continents for a single production step. These transport routes already create an immense CO2 footprint in the course of production. Back to handmade ceramics: this is rarely sold abroad. The individual pieces are usually sold at regional craft markets, directly from the pottery workshop or via the online shop in Germany. These short distances also have a positive effect on the environmental balance.
Ceramic for long-term use
The material is particularly resistant and durable. It is immune to moisture, temperature fluctuations and UV radiation and has a long service life. Handmade ceramics are also very hard and unbreakable due to the high temperatures during the firing process.
The longer the unique pieces can be used, the better the environmental balance. A study has shown that a ceramic mug, taking all production steps into account, has a more positive environmental balance compared to a disposable mug after just the tenth use. In addition, ceramic is a particularly hygienic product that is also ideal for intensive use, for example in gastronomy.
disposal and recycling
Should the handmade ceramic ever break, the material can be easily recycled. The harmless raw materials can be disposed of in the residual waste. Thus, ceramic is a material that can be used in the sense of circular economy. The circular economy is a recognized ecological system that opposes the throwaway society.
Handmade ceramics are particularly sustainable and future-proof from many points of view. The most important advantages at a glance:
- Natural raw materials without chemical additives
- Resource-saving production
- Regional clays and local processing
- Resistant and durable
- Good environmental balance in terms of circular economy
Sustainability and the conservation of our resources are topics that are increasingly becoming the focus of public attention. Through a more sustainable lifestyle and conscious consumption, everyone can contribute to the preservation of our livelihood. After all, our daily actions and our purchasing decisions have a direct impact on the environment. And our environment, in turn, has an impact on us and our well-being.
However, the "mainstream" relies on mostly environmentally harmful mass-produced goods. In the department stores and online shops there is a flood of quickly and cheaply produced cheap products that are thrown after you for a few euros. Often, during production, neither environmental standards nor the protection of the producing workers are valued. The environment in the vicinity of the factories, which are mostly located abroad, is polluted by toxic waste water, harmful exhaust gases are blown into the air and most of the time nobody takes responsibility for this.
Single-use and throw-away products are just as much a part of everyday life as cheaply produced goods. A lot of plastic is used, in the products themselves or in the often oversized packaging. In many cases, the lifespan of such items is intentionally shortened through planned obsolescence in order to keep consumption going. Always faster, always more, always cheaper is the credo. In most cases at the expense of the environment. It is also often not possible to trace back where the raw materials of the products on offer come from or what is actually contained in them. If we now think back to handmade ceramics, the advantages become even clearer.
Let's look at the production of candles as another example: The production processes of commercially manufactured candles are often not transparent and the ingredients are also questionable. Many candles are made from the non-renewable raw material paraffin, i.e. from crude oil. When burning these candles, substances that are harmful to the environment and even health are released into the air. Although the alternative stearin is a renewable raw material, palm oil is involved here. For the production of palm oil, large areas of original forests are cut down and overexploitation is carried out. In addition, animal fats from slaughterhouse waste are often added to stearin candles.
So no more candles? But!
Because without the beautiful things in life, nothing works. And it doesn't have to be! If you want to protect the environment, you don't have to do without candlelight. A sustainable variant are candles made of beeswax. And there is also an alternative to the cheap product from the furniture store or decoration shop for the stylish candle holder. I have identified a small pottery with the Keramik-Kartell.de, which produces handmade ceramics that go perfectly with my handmade beeswax candles.
For the natural product beeswax candles you need little helpers, the bees. But the farm animals are not only important for the production of candles. Their role in the environmental cycle is elementary: they are responsible for about a third of the food we eat every day. Without bees there is no pollination, without pollination there is no fruit. Without fruit, no harvest. No harvest, no food.
With the amount of groceries that smile at us every day on the supermarket shelves, it's hard to imagine. Nevertheless, researchers and environmentalists warn of the bees dying and see our food supply in danger. The causes of bee mortality are varied. Pesticides, microplastics and climate change are helping to destroy the honey bees' livelihoods. So it's not just the bees who benefit when we place more emphasis on sustainable products such as beeswax candles and handmade ceramics.
Image: Ceramic cartel
And because sustainability is the most fun when it is lived holistically, there is a sustainable alternative for (almost) everything. My sustainable candles made of valuable beeswax go perfectly with resource-saving, handmade ceramic candlesticks from https://keramik-kartell.de .