Lucy Frost is a tattoo artist and founder of Green House Tattoo Studio in Wokingham, England.
She opened Green House Tattoo Supplies after becoming alarmed by the amount of single-use plastic in the industry. And now…she’s trying to start a revolution.
“I wanted to open a studio that was in line with my values,” she tells Euronews Green. “When I started to do this, I realised there weren’t any alternatives for a lot of the products. There wasn’t even anything you could take from other sources, like food, as they were all the wrong sizes.”
She adds, “I had three options: either bury my head in the sand and go back to tattooing until someone else did something about it. Quit tattooing all together or find an alternative. I wanted to do something about it so I could carry on doing something I love but in a way that didn’t feel guilty.”
Green House Supplies now offers easy, hygienic swaps that are eco-friendly too – such as their entirely plant-based ink caps. The material used is polylactic acid, a unique bio-based material from plants instead of fossil fuels.
The manufacturing process shows a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to materials such as polystyrene.
But is sustainability always accessible?
Lucy explains that tattoo artists have been receptive towards making a change for the better for quite a while now.
“Those who have been in the industry longer have gotten used to using different products. If you are stuck in a groove where you are an artist who is used to certain things then changing can be difficult also depending on where you are, you can’t always access these things.”
She adds, “It depends on how much money you spend on your equipment. Some people are going to buy cheaply made options that are mass-produced in bulk so it’s more expensive than those. With Green House, it’s an ethical business that is about people before profit so we are a lot cheaper than other eco-products that have come out since. I have to cover costs and make money but I’ve kept the price as low as possible.”
Making the switch is worthwhile
Alan Alred is an artist at Black Hope Tattoo in Colchester, Essex. He switched to environmental supplies such as ink caps, clip cord sleeves and machine bags made from materials such as cassava, corn starch, sugar cane and beets. The studio has also introduced a recycling system where possible.
Vegan inks are the way forward
As well as making a switch to plant-based materials, some artists have started cruelty-free studios offering vegan inks. Tattooing is often seen as a spiritual process which doesn’t fit well with harming nature or animals.
Hannya Jayne, a tattoo artist from Songbird Tattoo Studio in Exeter made the switch to veganism after being vegetarian for years. She says clients will seek out vegan studios but it doesn’t make any difference to the business.
Consider your aftercare
Then there is aftercare to consider. Most tattoo aftercare products come in plastic containers which are not designed to be recycled after use. Few companies consider using materials such as glass. They fall into the personal care industry as they are often moisturisers, balms and lotions.
Euromonitor International estimated that in 2018, in the US only, 7.9 billion units of beauty and personal care products were created. This plastic use is something the vegan community are fighting hard to combat through glass.
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