Sustainable Reading Nr.7

Fashion

Interview: Veja On Its New Biodegradable Sneakers Made From Corn Waste – It is great that there are a lot of alternatives popping up in fashion and footwear, however, the headline is a bit misleading as they say quite clearly that only part of the shoe is biodegradable currently, parts of it are not.

These Female Entrepreneurs Are Making The Fashion Industry More Sustainable – Introducing 5 amazing women and what they do to support and drive sustainable fashion.

EU Backs ‘Traceability Tool’ For Apparel Brands – It’s great to hear that EU is taking the problem seriously, although I hope this tool will also be used to support consumer decision and will truly be traceable.

Pilot Shows Female Bosses In Garment Factories Boost Efficiency – Actually, they say that, female supervisors do. It is great to hear that gender equality is taken more seriously in Bangladesh and these numbers can support more female supervisors in the factories and possibly even higher positions. However, I am afraid whether this can also lead to pushing the female supervisors to be harsher on the employees with their new position where they have to prove themselves.

MUD Commits To 100% Recycled Cotton Jeans – They are said to be the most sustainable denim brand at the moment and it is great to hear that they are pushing the sustainability forward!

Levi’s Launches ‘Cottonised Hemp’ Collection – Hemp is a more sustainable fibre than cotton, however, in the article, it is not made clear how hemp is cottonised and whether the process is done with chemicals, whether it is designed in a circular way nor any other facts on it. And the collection is just made with sustainability in mind and is not completely cottonised hemp. Still, I am happy to see that the company is paying more and more attention to sustainability.

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

 

Climate Change

Swedish Student Leader Wins EU Pledge To Spend Billions On Climate – She isn’t the only one who protested as there were protests all over the world where children skipped school to protest for the politicians to do important decisions about the environment. In the end, teachers joined them! EU has now pledged to put a big investment into our environment from 2021 to 2027. I hope it’s not too late.

Britain Is On Its Way To Be Powered By Renewables More Than Fossil Fuels For First Time In History – The government has just signed a deal to support offshore wind sectors and is planning for 70% of the electricity to come from wind.

 

Social

The Internet Is Censoring Our Ability To Make Informed Decisions – This is a very interesting read. You might not agree with everything, but there is a deeper meaning to it.

The Racism Of Technology – And Why Driverless Cars Could Be The Most Dangerous Example Yet – Very interesting yet alarming article into the racism in the technology sector and whether it is safe.

South African Judge Rules Same-Sex Discrimination In The Church Is Unlawful – More diversity!

Mali Is Providing Free Health Care To Pregnant Women and Children Under 5 – In addition, they are providing contraception free of charge. When health care is often expensive even in the western countries it is great to hear how Mali is supporting it’s vulnerable!

NASA Just Announced It’s First-Ever All-Female Spacewalk – It’s about time they are thinking about gender equality in that sector too!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Russian Literature and Work - byLiiL

Waste

Sir David Attenborough Backs Decision To Double UK Aid For Plastic Recycling – It didn’t really explain what it means by UK aid for plastic recycling, nevertheless, it is great to hear that recycling plastic is taken seriously. Recycling is not the answer to climate change or waste problem, but it should be considered as part of the solution at least at this moment.

This UK Charity Uses Recycling To Create Healthier, Greener Lives In Kenya – WasteAid is educating citizen in developing countries on how to collect and recycle their waste.

The #Trashtag Challenge Is Getting People To Clean Up Their Local Environments – I’m sure many have heard about beach cleanups from all over the world. Trashtag is not only for the beaches but for any environment and it’s a great movement, but it does make me sad that there is a need for such movement. Throwing trash is forests, parks or any other area is not nice nor environmental. Beaches get a lot of trash from the ocean and my next question would be, where does the trash that was collected under trashtag go? Does it go back to landfills?

 

Business

Are B Corp An Elite Charade For Changing The World – An interesting discussion into what can change the world and whether market leading it is the answer.

Ikea To Launch Furniture Rental Offering As Part Of Circular Economy Shift – It is great a company this big is thinking about their footprint and how they can reduce waste, as well as repair the items they make.

 

 

What interesting news did you read recently? Share them in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

 

Other articles you might be interested in:

Sustainable reading No. 6

Sustainable reading No. 4

Sustainable reading No. 2

 

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Sustainable Reading Nr. 6

Fashion

MPs Say Fast Fashion Brands Inaction On Ethics Is Shocking – Again, many NGOs activists have been saying this for years and for the MPs to now contribute to the discussion feels slow, nevertheless, they are discussing it. The article points out what the government’s committee on the topic found out from some of the major UK high street brands about their sustainable and ethical initiatives, and it ranks these high street brands on the basis of their answers. The problem is that although they are ranked into three groups there isn’t much information on what they are really doing about sustainability and ethics and whether this is supported by evidence. To that, there were many companies that were missing from the list such as Zara, H&M, Victorias Secret and many others.

Polartec Commits To 100% Recycled Materials – The header is actually a bit wrong as it explains how Polartec commits to 100% recycled and biodegradable materials. It is still amazing to read about!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Social

Is Sunscreen The New Margarine? – An excellent article that makes you think. Is the dermatological industry just trying to get their money’s worth and are you getting enough vitamin D?

This Teen Wrote A Bill To End Period Poverty In School – How amazing is that! When the adults are not working on things that they should be working on, there is hope that in the future these young people will grow and make the world a better place!

This Pakistani Province Just Made Polio Vaccines Mandatory For All Schoolchildren – This is a big step to eradicate the disease from the country and I hope it will go well. Although I am interested to see whether the government will support this financially.

The Future Of Gender Equality Lies In The Hands Of Female Coders: UN Chief – It is great that they are recognising that by having more women knowledgeable in the skills needed for the future and I hope there will be more support to the girls as well!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Plastic

A Better Way To Make Plastic Out Of Sulfur – Alternative source from which to make plastic.

Cork Vs. Cap: Which Wine Stopper Is Better? – Going through different corks and caps and what are their benefits, as well as which ones are good ecologically.

This Water Bottle Dissolves If It Ever Enters the Ocean – They talk about a biodegradable water bottle that is made out of “biopolymer called PHA that’s comes from a fermenting bacteria”. It is supposed to decompose when it touch with naturally occurring bacteria. That is how biodegradability works, however, in the article there was no proof how quickly this happens or whether it leaves any harmful chemicals behind. I will be in a post soon explaining the differences and characteristic of biodegradability and other such words relating to packaging so stay tuned.

Researchers Just Found A Brilliant Way To Convert Plastic Waste Into Fuel – The heat it up so high it is supposed to turn back into oil. If it actually works then brilliant, but it does make me wonder how it took them this long to come up with such an idea.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Other News

French and German Farmers Forced To Destroy Crops After GMOs Found In Bayer/Monsanto Seeds – The headline itself raises few thoughts. Mostly, GREAT they are actually doing something about the GMO seeds, the second, I feel sorry for the farmers. In the article Bayer/Monsanto say they will be reimbursing the farmers for the lost revenue, however, it is still not clear how the illegal seeds got into the crop. I really hope countries would start supporting more organic farming and especially non-Bayer-Monsanto seeds.

How Danone, Kashi and O’Lakes Are Backing Sustainable Farming – Article talks about what are the issues for farmers to transfer to sustainable farming and how the big companies are looking for more sustainable production. It brings out one problem, which is the price for the farmers to transfer to sustainable farming and how it can be a big barrier, where although the payout is going to be better in the long term, in short term can be too costly for the farmers to do. Seeing this, shouldn’t the big companies and governments support them through this transition?

The Soon-To-Be Worlds Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Will Start Powering Britain This Week – How great! I hope the whole country will soon be completely powered by clean energy!

Sea Turtle Populations Soared by 980% After Legal Protections – It is great to hear that the protections are working and animals are rebounding. Although the number is from a median, and might not tell the whole truth to a person who doesn’t know enough about the topic.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

All pictures are from Pexels.

What news did you find were interesting lately? Share the links in the comment section below.

With love,

Lii

 

Check out the other sustainable reading posts: Nr. 5, Nr. 4, Nr.3.

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Is Recycling Sustainable?

During my visit to the Greenshowroom in Berlin in January, I was very impressed by the event and so inspired to see so many involved and interested in the movement. In our daily lives, we rarely see so many people being so passionate about a cause. The event was full of interesting new fibre innovations, collaborations and technological advances, however, there was one thing that I was missing throughout the event, but especially when companies were talking about their circular design plans: the infrastructure for collecting the garments they’ve made. To many this might seem to be a secondary consideration, as it is not a very sexy topic – it is essentially waste, an afterlife of the garment. However, it is one of the most important topics we should be discussing now and we should pay more attention to it, not only considering fashion but any other consumables as well.

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE

Recycling is great, isn’t it? It makes us feel that we are on top of our contribution to reduce waste at the landfills and keep our consumption more sustainable. We separate bio-recycling from the plastic and paper and religiously empty them in their allotted bins, and we take our old clothes and other items to the charity shops to deal with our unwanted or worn items. But do we actually know where all of this ends up? Growing in Finland with its strict recycling rules, I always thought it is the responsibility of the country or the city to recycle those items. But it wasn’t until the recent upheaval of China not taking our recycled waste any longer that I saw the full picture.

Although, we might think that we recycle everything from food and plastic to clothes and electronics, the actual amount of produce that gets recycled is relatively small and most of it is shipped to countries such as China, India, Kenya and Niger to be recycled or disposed of. Globally only 20% of the end-of-use clothing is collected for recycling out of which around 70% is sent to African countries where they are sold to poor locals, the rest is turned into rags, insulations or furniture stuffing and will not be recyclable again (Fashion Revolution). Western countries, mostly the UK and the US, keep our western economies and consumerism up, by offering us the outlet of recycling, without really explaining what happens to our recyclables. When the recyclables are shipped to China we don’t have to think about it, and now we are in the mids of panic when all the recycling is stuck in our countries and we don’t have the infrastructure to handle it. There is so much recycled clothing that goes into African countries that they don’t want them any longer, in addition, it disrupts their economic growth. The technology we send to be recycled, on the other hand, is often sent to countries such as China, India, Nigeria or Ghana to be disassembled in hazardous conditions to retrieve any precious metals and then dumped on landfills that pollute the surrounding areas. (BBC & Techland Time)

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

To battle the problem that the US and the UK especially face when other countries are not taking in their waste anymore, the US is planning to reduce support to those countries whereas the UK is trying to ban single-use plastic. For the UK it is a great start, however, there are many implications that they are not considering! Charging 5p for plastic bags and a push to use more canvas bags was a great start, but if the canvas bags are disposed of at the same speed as plastic bags were it is not solving the problem (The Atlantic). Now, in the UK they are planning on charging people for getting a takeaway cup from coffee shops. Again, a great idea, maybe it will force people to use reusable coffee cups. However, an increase in reusable coffee cups would most likely see an increase in them ending up on the landfill as well. I have 4 reusable coffee cups because most of them started leaking or broke and now I don’t know what to do with them! How recyclable are our reusable coffee cups? And where is the information what we should be doing with them after their end-of-life?

I was actually quite excited about recycled coffee cups that many independent coffee shops are using to serve their coffees in until I realised I don’t know where I can compost it or recycle it. We lack in proper infrastructures to recycle our waste efficiently and economically. Recycling is not made easy for consumers. With many types of plastics, it is difficult to understand what can be recycled and where, or how it should be treated before recycling. We have recycling bins at home, at Universities and in the lobbies of some bigger corporations, but what about the rest of the city where there are only regular bins? And who’s responsibility is it to make it all work? Recycling is expensive, it’s a business. It requires funds and resources to sort through the waste and send it forward to be reused in a new material if it is still possible to reuse it. Many of our products are not designed to be recycled, most companies don’t think the afterlife of the product, so they are made out of a combination of chemicals and materials, which are nearly impossible to separate. And many products such as paper have toxic colourings which will be recycled alongside the paper and therefore stay in the recycling loop.

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

There used to be many UK companies that handled recycled clothing, however, most have either reduced in size or seized to exist, because it is cheaper to send it away than sort through it (BBC). When it comes to fashion, only pure natural fibres are compostable, and that is if all the metallic or plastic parts are taken off it and it is not dyed with toxic dyes, and when it is composted in the right conditions. However, in most cases, clothing is created by combining cotton and polyester for comfort and durability (some just because it is cheaper to produce it this way), which until recently were almost impossible to separate. There are some technological advances to this, but it is still in its early stages. (Recycling International) .

Whilst visiting the Greenshowroom I noticed how many companies were designing circular loops into their production. Ecoalf collects marine waste to recycle it into polyester, QMilk collects milk waste to recycle it into a fibre and there are many other examples from Econyl’s recycled nylon to Revive collecting waste coffee. That is absolutely amazing, we are getting rid of ocean waste (this might take a while) and innovating with other waste materials to reuse them, but what about those products and their end-of-life, will they be collected from the ocean as well? We can’t endlessly collect waste from the oceans, it is not economic or good for the environment. Instead, we should collect everything there is now and stop other waste ending up in the ocean. Some companies, such as H&M, are accepting used clothes, however, most of them are not making it easy for the customers.

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

ALL IS NOT LOST

  • There is a new proposal in the UK to have a bottles and cans deposit that consumers will pay when buying drinks and will get back when bringing these for recycling. This is not a new idea as many countries are already using this system successfully. (BBC).
  • I read recently about a Cupclub, which is a service of reusable coffee cups for those who do not like to carry their reusable cups with them. Those coffee shops that take part in the Cupclub will have collection points for the cups after a customer has used them. I thought it is a great idea if many enough branches will take part. Similar type coffee shop wide scheme of reusable coffee cups is being used in Freiburg Germany.
  • The UK government has a scheme of a tax levy for businesses that do research and development into waste reduction and to tackle pollution. (Ethical Hour)

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE

The never-ending question is who is responsible for creating the infrastructure and making it work. Is it every consumer’s responsibility to make sure every product and item they buy is recyclable or compostable and is being disposed of in the right way, or hoard the waste that they can’t recycle? Is it companies responsibility to produce products that are recyclable in an easy way, that do not pollute and are not wrapped in millions of layers of plastic, and come up with innovative ways to make it easier for the customer to dispose of their items? Or is it the government’s responsibility to reinforce the laws against pollution and create the infrastructure that will serve all the different requirements from regular waste to clothing and technology?

According to Fashion Revolution fanzine, France keeps the companies responsible for the products they make including the packaging. They ask the companies to pay an upfront fee for all their products and packaging that helps fund the collection and recycling infrastructure. I think it is a brilliant idea, but then again it is only one of the options. In the end, it should be all three that should be working to create the infrastructure and make sure that it is used. I often debate whether it is companies or the government that should create the infrastructure and would be interested in hearing your opinions about this as well! I often think it is the government responsibility, but then I see these beautiful minds creating business models to combat waste and I am amazed!

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Buy less and buy smarter. Make sure what you are buying is what you need and will last you for years.
  • Keep recycling, we can’t have our waste in the landfills either.
  • Ask your local government representative to take action and check the 6 actions by Fashion Revolution that you can do.
  • Use your voice and be vocal about these issues and how they should be fixed.
  • I also recommend reading the Fashion Revolution fanzine and learning more about this topic!
  • If you are in Scotland check also the Zero Waste Scotland website, anywhere else, I am sure there are similar organisations in your area as well.

Pictures are from Usplash and Fashion Revolution.

Do you find it problematic to sustainably dispose of your waste? And who do you think should be responsible for making our recycling infrastructure work? Let me know in the comment box below, on Twitter or Instagram, I would really love to hear your opinions on the matter!

With love,

Lii