Conservation

With 57 nature reserves in Cornwall alone, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust ensures that some of the most beautiful wild areas survive and thrive for many years to come.

As with many charities, the Trust has to work hard to raise money to support its operational costs and conservation projects so memberships and regular donations are crucial to the important work they do. Alongside observation-based activities for adults and children, guided walks and exploration, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust are part of and work within local communities enabling them to deliver a positive change for themselves and their environment. They also work with local landowners to encourage wildlife and they monitor and protect marine life of which there is an abundance in Cornwall.

Wildlife conservation and its enjoyment through education have always been close to my heart and it goes without saying that the natural world is the main inspiration for my artwork. I feel very fortunate to be able to give back to nature and the areas of Cornwall which have given me so much over the years and to help ensure that they may keep on giving for many years to come.

"We are the leading local wildlife charity working to protect Cornwall's wildlife and wild places. We have helped people enjoy nature for over 50 years. We are passionate about nature conservation and work only in Cornwall, so all money raised in Cornwall stays in Cornwall."
 

Environment and Sustainability

As a wildlife artist, I am committed to using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials for my business. I choose to be transparent about my practices and suppliers and encourage my customers and stockists to do the same.

My art cards are printed onto 290gsm 100% recycled uncoated cardstock using eco-friendly inks. I source 110gsm 100% recycled kraft envelopes for my cards which have a natural flecked appearence.

When you buy a card from one of my stockists, the card will come protected in a clear cornstarch-based PLA sleeve. There has been a great deal of debate in the news regarding the pros and cons of bioplastics compared to petrochemical plastics. I have outlined below why I choose bioplastics when it comes to packaging my cards in shops and galleries:

PLA (Poly-Lactic-Acid) is a biodegradable alternative to (Polypropylene) PP plastic. PLA sleeves are made from sustainable and annually renewable vegetable starch which is derived from a renewable crop, as opposed to petrochemical based plastics which are non-renewable. Bioplastics use considerably less energy and produce less greenhouse gas emissions during the manufacturing process than its petrochemical counterparts. PLA also doesn't release harmful chemicals into the environment when it degrades.

Unlike polypropylene plastics, bioplastics cannot be recycled and must not be put in to local plastic recycling collections - this isn't always clearly stated and PLA can often be mistaken for plastic. I always label PLA on the back of my cards. Although it is not recyclable, PLA is fully biodegradable and compostable, which means it will break down to CO2 and water which can then be reused in the ecosystem. This process can happen in either industrial or home composting facilities. PLA sleeves can be disposed of through kerbside rubbish collections but due to the conditions required for PLA breaking down in the environment, composting PLA is always preferable.

I am currently fundraising to purchase a hot composting bin which I intend to use for composting spent PLA sleeves in addition to the organic waste from my home, studio, and garden. I am currently in correspondence with the Environmental Agency regarding whether I would need a certain licence to offer to collect and accept what is essentially a form of waste material from members of the public for composting at my home. I hope to be able to offer my customers who are unable to compost any PLA sleeves from my cards the option of posting these sleeves in a paper envelope back to me at my studio for composting, and in exchange I will offer a discount code which can be used on my Etsy shop (where my cards are sent protected in paper as opposed to PLA.) I will update this section with more information once I have it!

The only downside to PLA is that given the nature of the material, it is not acid-free which means it isn't suitable for protecting Giclee prints which are of archival quality. My Giclee prints are sent wrapped in polypropylene film until another suitable pH neutral alternative becomes available.

When you buy a card directly from me through my Etsy shop, the card will be sent protected in a glassine sleeve which is 100% recyclable with paper recycling collections, and carefully wrapped in recycled paper to ensure it reaches you in perfect condition. I also use cardboard boxes and paper packaging  from deliveries to my studio of stock and supplies. I use recycled corrugated cardboard when sending my Giclee prints to ensure they also arrive in perfect condition. I use only eco-friendly adhesives and paper parcel tape - my packaging is 100% plastic-free.


 

wildlife artist
Wildlife art from Cornwall.

© 2019 by Natalie Toms - Wildlife Artist.
All content unless otherwise stated, is the property of Natalie Toms.