Tips on how to preserve your keepsakes in a more eco-friendly way.
For decades photos have been the best way for people to preserve and share life experiences with loved ones and posterity. A quick snapshot can allow you to create a memory that lasts a lifetime. If you’re an eco-conscious person, however, the last thing you want is to create an environmental impact that also lasts a lifetime. Photo paper and photo albums are usually made of non-recycled paper, plastic, and tons of toxins. The plastic in photo albums actually contains photovoltaic compounds (PVCs) which are toxic can and even ruin pictures over time. With just a few eco-conscious and creative choices you can make less of an impact without compromising your precious memories!
- Go digital. Instant-print photos and disposable cameras are so last millennium! Get with the times; this is the digital age. Digital cameras allow you to take as many pictures as you want without having to develop all of them. You can delete the ones you don’t like, which saves tons of unwanted pictures from being printed that you would end up throwing out anyway.
- Another wonderful thing about digital cameras is that you never even have to print pictures. You can store them in your computer, e-mail them, and post them on social sites for friends and family to see without ever having to waste a single piece of non-recyclable photo paper…not to mention the money you’ll save!
- Look before you print. It’s often nice to print out hard copies of pictures, especially those of special occasions like birthdays, wedding, etc. Just make sure you look through the digital copies of the pictures on your computer before developing them. It will save you money on pictures you don’t like as well as unwanted photos ending up in landfills.
- Photo albums. Photo albums are a fantastic way to keep all of your pictures organized and in tact. Most photo albums, however, are extremely wasteful…I’m sure you’re familiar with those sticky plastic photo “protectors”? Unfortunately, the PVCs in the plastic will actually ruin the photos over time and turn them yellow. There are several options for photo albums made of natural and sustainable material like bamboo, banana leaves, pressed leaves and seeds, and even elephant poop! Many companies are now making odorless albums, stationary, and journals out of this extremely sustainable material. Why cut down a tree and use toxins when you can get a beautiful, ornate handmade album made from natural, renewable sources?
- Picture frames. There are many creative options for picture frames that allow you to display your memories without having to contribute more waste. There are frames made of materials like used bike chains, recycled wood, recycled magazine, and yes…elephant poop!
- Solar-powered digital picture frames are a great way to display lots of different photos using one device, and you don’t even have to print a picture!
- Scrapbooking. Scrapbooking has become increasingly popular within the last few years. It’s a great way to preserve pictures, but it can be exceedingly wasteful. If you scrapbook, try to buy as many recycled materials as possible. Use as much product as you can to reduce waste, and recycle any scraps.
- Buy your materials in bulk to reduce packaging waste, and make sure any stickers, adhesives, etc are non-toxic.
- Using a digital camera makes it easier for you to share pictures online and keep in touch with friends and family. It also helps you choose only the photos you like so you can print only the best of the best to preserve as keepsakes!
…to your wallet
- Purchasing a digital camera may seem costly upfront, but think about how much money is wasted every time you throw away a picture that didn’t turn out or that you simply didn’t like. Printing unwanted pictures and disposable photos wastes so much money, and digitally picking and printing your pictures allows you to print only your favorite photos for less money.
…to the earth
- Printing unwanted pictures wastes paper, the chemicals to print the pictures, and the energy required to develop them. Simply by printing only the pictures you need or really want, you are reducing energy used as well your impact on the environment.
- Can you imagine how much waste is created by continually buying and throwing away disposable cameras? A reusable camera – especially a digital camera – that is durable can be used for years and years and then recycled at the end of usable life.
- Choosing natural products reduces the amount of PVCs and other toxic chemicals used that can be harmful to your health.
- Purchasing albums made of natural, organic renewable materials is not only ornate and original, it is much more sustainable. It reduces the amount of trees that are cut down to be used as new material. Materials like bamboo, leaves, and other materials grow and replace themselves much quicker than full-grown trees that are chopped down, so you will be purchasing products with far less of an impact than generic products bought in most stores.