The annual celebration of our environment fell on this past Monday; Earth Day prompts us to not only enjoy the outdoors but also to treat the Earth with respect. Sustainable, earth-friendly products have made their way into all aspects of our lives. We take reusable bags to the grocery store in lieu of loading our groceries into plastic bags. Disposable water bottles have been largely replaced with reusable bottles. Beauty products have decreased the use of, and in some cases even eliminated, extraneous disposable packaging. Even the piercing and tattoo industries have found ways to decrease waste, increase sustainability, and prioritize products that are less harmful to the environment overall.
Tattoo and piercing shops certainly demand lots of energy and create an ample amount of waste, and for the sake of safety and cleanliness, some of this waste is unavoidable. However, that makes it even more important for artists and piercers to seek out other ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint. Many of the small, energy-saving habits we abide by at home are equally, if not more effective, in the shop. Simple steps like turning off equipment, lights, or computers when they’re not getting used, especially when the shop is closed for the night, can make a difference. Creating small habits like these will also encourage those around us to examine their own energy use and hopefully take similar steps in their own daily lives.
While these small steps can make a difference both at home and in the shop, truly showing respect for our planet necessitates that we go beyond the small steps of simply turning off the computer when the shop is closed. Furthermore, in an industry where a certain amount of waste is unavoidable, it becomes increasingly important to incorporate sustainable habits into one's actual body of work. Artists and pierced have therefore gotten creative in their sustainable habits. Working with sustainable and recycled materials for example can go a long way in reducing the carbon footprint of body modification. Body jewelry companies offer natural and organic materials, and some tattoo artists have begun to make the switch to vegan ink.
Because some waste is unavoidable in this industry, it is imperative that we choose greener options whenever they are available to us. Important changes that we can make include choosing biodegradable options when possible. Replacing plastic products with biodegradable options reduces our overall waste production. Rather than using machine covers that will spend years in a landfill, we offer biodegradable options like these, which will not only keep your workspace safe and clean but will also reduce your carbon footprint. Plastics are not the only culprit contributing to artists’ waste production. We also tear through paper towels throughout the tattoo process, and though paper is biodegradable, better options are out there. Wipe Outz cleansing towels are biodegradable, sterile, and free of residue, so they offer a totally green alternative to more wasteful products. Green tattooing is within reach with biodegradable products. Simply taking the time to reconsider what supplies we use in our shops can help us preserve our environment.
The use of energy in the body modification industry falls far behind more robust industries like the factory farming or fast fashion industries, which have frequently been assigned the unsavory title as the worst offenders when it comes to their energy usage and waste production.However, it is important for an industry like ours, whose roots lay in the counterculture and where trends are created, to set the stage. Tattoos and piercings may still exist outside of the mainstream, but artists and piercers create trends that eventually make their way into the mainstream.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.