Fiddleheads' Eco Policy
We made a mission to operate Fiddleheads in a responsible, sustainable and respectful manner for our environment.
Regardless of a person's views on climate change, environmentalism and science, there is logical reasoning behind efficiency in general.
It's just plain good sense to be less wasteful in a world of ever increasing demands on our natural resources and living space. And it makes sense financially: less waste means more money and resources saved!
Though offering violin lessons and violn sales from her home is usually is not considered a "harmful" threat to our environment, Rhiannon strongly feels everyone has a part to play.
Since Fall 2006 we has managed Fiddleheads with a Green/Eco Policy.
The time is ripe to raise our standards to a more environmentally conscious level and work diligently to reduce waste and pollution in ways such as:
And proving, in the process, that Going Green Pays for Itself
Most products are shipped in brown paper or cardboard with renewable paper tape.
Green Packaging: Our First step
We started with something that bothers many of us: wasteful packaging and shipping. Many of our products came to us surrounded by non-biodegradable materials such as foam "peanuts" and bubble wrap in shipping and plastic bags on string sets, bows and cases.
We request that all our suppliers and makers try to refrain from using such materials when shipping to us and our customers if possible.
On our end we personally pack fragile items in biodegradable and recycled materials such as starch peanuts and newspaper. We made the choice to ship nearly all items in renewable paper products with paper tape, which are easily recycled in most communities, rather than plastic that has limited options for recycling. We use brown paper, paper tape and paper-lined envelopes.
When we do use plastic or foam, it is 95% reused packaging that came to us or we obtained it from sources where it would have been thrown away otherwise. We ask our customers to follow in kind, recycling or reusing packaging whenever possible. Should disposal be the only option, please consider an appropriate way of recycling all materials.
Efficient, Home-Based Office
Fiddleheads' owner Rhiannon made the limiting and fully-conscious choice to operate the shop from a home location.
This option means, in addition to far more flexibility for Rhiannon, no daily commute, being with her children when they need her on sick days and after school, and only one building to maintain: thus a smaller carbon footprint and far better prices for our customers.
Heating and Electricity
She optimized her first home over the years for peak efficiency. Insulation was been added everywhere in addition to all new windows and doors. During winter the furnace was on a schedule and in summer we use window coverings to keep cool, using no air conditioning.
For heating she purchase renewable natural gas via methane capturing at the city refuse site. This methane was already leaching into the environment, and by burning it efficiently the gases were being used for a better purpose than as a greenhouse gas. (Methane is 20x worse than CO2 as a green house gas). All appliances were Energy Star rated and she replaced most lights with LED bulbs.
When it came time to replace office equipment, she choose models which use less electricity and contain safer materials. Even the printer's toner was packed in tiny, #2 recyclable plastic containers - no more nasty large disposable cartridges. The printer, computers and monitors use little power when idle and were rated as "eco" models." She purchased vegetable-based ink pens and other environmentally-friendly products for the office as they became available.
These measures have mostly proven cost-effective. For example, over 5 years she paid only around $1500 per year for heating and electricty (remember, this is wintery Canada), where many surrounding homes paid double this amount and aren't home during the day.
All Rhiannon's personal purchases were made with the environment in mind and she chose to only buy products in limited or no packaging. Finally, she recycled and composted almost everything that left the premesis.
Since July 2016 Rhiannon has lived in larger home in Kamloops and has already swapped out all the lights to LED, added programmable heating and cooling zones, added insulation, and reduced water consuption of the grounds with automatic systems.
By driving a more efficient vehicle Rhiannon eliminated at least 4 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Car & Travel
An overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution comes from our vehicles. Rhiannon made a financial sacrifice and decided in 2005 to put more money each month into a car that would lessen her carbon footprint.
Rhiannon's annual gasoline consumption was instantly less than half of on the previous vehicle, even with the rising oil prices, thanks to the hybrid car [Toyota Prius]. It averaged 60 MPG Canadian.
After ten years and nearly 300,000km of service in rough terrain and temperatures, the Prius began sucking far more gas than usual. It was painfully discovered it would be far too costly to repair when set against the value and likely went for parts. At least it could be recycled. Rhiannon purchased a larger 2012 Prius V (averaging 50 Canadian MPG) to accomodate her growing children and family.
Idling Gets You Nowhere
Rhiannon kindly asks that lessons and shop customers please turn their vehicle engines off while waiting outside Fiddleheads. (10 seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it). Learn more about Engine Idling at this link
It's incredible to think how many people just throw away old sheet music and musical instruments when they can be put in the hands of an eager musician. For years we have been listed in a recycling directory accepting old music books and instruments. We passed countless boxes of sheet music, books and a variety of musical instruments on to other teachers and local school districts.
Taking recycling a step further, In 2003 Rhiannon started up a non-profit group, the Shuswap Violin Society. The group had a scholarship fund, workshops and public music events. Best yet was the instrument bank where violins and other instruments were donated to the SVS by the public then loaned out to players based on skill or need. The instruments were later donated to the local community orchestra where they are played to this day.
This is recycling at its best!
Saving Paper by Going Digital
Rhiannon's violin school students enjoy digital sheet music arranged by her and emailed to them at home for practice. As for paper sheet music, she won't photocopy reams of music but instead prints off individual songs and pieces as needed in lessons.
In past years Rhiannon produced an multi-page newsletter which had a student readership. Originally she made several hundred paper copies each month, but began posting the "Fiddleheads Gazette" online. This saved on printing, paper usage and postage. The digital version also allowed the Gazette to be experienced in full colour, which was far more ecologically responsible in electrons than in print.
Her Facebook page replaced the Gazette.
Our annual Christmas Recital raises funds and items for local food banks
In order to better understand better environmental practices Rhiannon has become a member and/or supporter of groups and societies which promote environmentalism.
Know the old adage about "teaching a man to fish?" We donate funds to causes which aim to educate people as we thinks this is the best way to promote change towards a healthier humanity. Fiddleheads also supports the Wikimedia Foundation which provides "free access to all human knowledge" in over 100 languages.
Want to learn more about environmentalism? Rhiannon has a science and environmental "library" of sorts she us happy to lend to local students who show interest in ecology and our environment. There are also many fascinating links posted below.
Going Green Pays for Itself
As citizens faced with a changing world we can get creative and not be harmed financially in the process. We know "efficiency renders efficiency" and we will soon find, with some creativity, being friendly to the earth can also be friendly to our finances.
At present our Green Policy brought us amazing customers from around the world. It feels good to make a living in a way which is also helping other people realize their personal eco-goals!