By the time I’m done writing this article almost 427 billion water bottles will have been made since January. To few the count visit Find Tap where they have a continuing count being calculated.
The average amount of plastic that gets recycled is only 9%, let that sink in for minute… Instead of reusing what we have, we are continually using new resources to produce goods, leaving us with more and more plastic waste each year. We do not have the correct systems and facilities in place to recycle the amount of plastic we produce. Recycling facilities work as a business and they gather and separate different materials that will get resold to companies that will buy them. If the demand for recycled plastics goes down so does the supply, thus greater quantities of plastics sitting in landfills. Check out this interesting article on plastic recycling as a business
Everlane is a huge leader in the ethical fashion industry and they set the example in claiming responsibility to the environmental impact large corporations have and act upon it before it is required. If there is a universal demand for recycled plastic in clothing production, we can possibly start to make a shift in the right direction. H&M knows that “green” clothing is in demand, and thats why they started the “Conscious Line”. They are still not a company I choose to support but its an effort none the less and its because of consumer demand that they choose to create the “Conscious Line” in the first place.
We need more companies like Everlane and Patagonia that are not just in it for profit. There is a mission behind what they are doing.
Everlane has recycled 3 million water bottles for their ReNew line. They also plan on cutting out all virgin plastics from their production by 2021. They plan on replacing all synthetic fabrics with renewed materials, using recycled plastic bags for shipping (something that is required), and eliminat plastic in their offices. Despite the current opinions on plastic, it is actually useful! However we have totally gone nuts with it. It has its place in the medical industry, activewear, under garments, swimwear, and is even a great insulating and waterproofing material for outerwear. We as humans have become efficient at attacking something good and over consuming it until it becomes an issue.
What about micro plastic pollution? There are micro plastic catchers and bags for regularly washed items that will help reduce the amount released into the water. You can find them here and here. I also recommend spot cleaning your coats. I have never really washed a winter coat unless it really needed it. Also wash your clothing less! Instead of wearing it and then tossing it into the laundry basket, check for stains and simply just put it away until it’s in need of washing. This will also extend the life of your clothing!
The most important solution to this plastic waste issues is you. Everyday we vote with our dollar; where we eat and what or how much we buy. If we continually support companies that don’t give a shit about the environment, that is ultimately what we are voting for. Do your research as a consumer and don’t be scared to ask questions. If a company will not give you a clear answer that supports this initiative, then they just might not be the best choice.