Sustainable Reading nr. 8

I haven’t done a sustainable reading post in so long that this is going to be a long long post. Click on the articles you are interested in and I’ll try to remember to post this more often.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Damage to the ozone layer and climate change forming feedback loop – The damage we are doing to the ozone layer can now be also assessed in waters, as the animals in all levels of the food chain are behaving in a different way. This is more evidence, so only time will show what they will do with the evidence.

KLM Issues Global Call to Industry, Travelers to ‘Fly Responsibly – I find it interesting that a company that makes its money on people flying is encouraging more mindful travelling, they even suggest people taking the train rather than flying. KLM has a carbon compensation programme and has already done work on their climate change initiatives. Now they are calling other industry players to join forces, which is excellent. I am looking forward to what they will do in the future!

Sustainable Reading nr. 8 - byLiiL

 

Indigo to Remove 1 ‘Terraton’ CO2 from Atmosphere Through Regenerative Farming – Regenerative farming is definitely something that I am interested in, in more than one aspect, and I am glad to hear more work is done with it!

US Consumers More Concerned About Ocean Plastic Than Climate Change – I am not surprised, and wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case in other countries as well. Plastic pollution is much more readily visible, can affect people more closely than climate change and is lately been advertised very strongly. And as plastic pollution is an important thing to tackle it shouldn’t be left at that. Maybe plastic pollution is an easier thing to grasp than climate change and therefore people feel that they are doing something good for the planet.

Glass skyscrapers: An environmental boon to the built environment – Glass buildings do not keep heat in very well, but let the spaces overheat easily.

Britain’s Music Festivals Are Tackling Everything From Plastic Waste to Low-Carbon Transport – It is great to see such big events looking into how they can have an impact on climate change. I haven’t been to any festival this year so I don’t know how much they’ve really done, but this is definitely a start!

 

RECYCLING

The massive emissions-cutting and cost-saving potential of chemical reuse – Misuse or not disposing of correctly many other chemicals can be harmful to the environment as well, but when collected they could be beneficial. The basic idea of circularity.

These College Students Invented a Beach Vacuum to Suck Up Microplastics – Although this sounds like a great breakthrough I wonder how it might affect life on these beaches.

Sustainable Reading nr. 8 - byLiiL

 

SOCIAL

Britain Pledges £1.4 Billion to Tackle HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria – Excellent! Now to hope that they won’t sell the NHS…

‘Groundbreaking’ Homelessness Center Offers Gym, Free Wi-Fi, and In-House Doctors for Real Solutions – This is brilliant! The right attitude to help people get back on their feet with support and a safe environment!

California Will Soon Be the First US State to Ban ‘Hair Discrimination’ – This is a new thing to me. I never before heard of hair discrimination. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, but nevertheless, I was shocked when reading this article. It is sad that there needs to be legislation for hair discrimination, but at the same time, it is great that the state recognises the need for it and works to combat this issue.

Over 400 Schools in This Malaysian Town Have Closed Due to Toxic Air Pollution – I do want to concentrate more on positive news but at the same time things like this need to be talked about. Factories illegally releasing toxic fumes so hundreds of kids go sick is unacceptable, and it is most likely factories that work for western companies.

The Handmaid’s Tale comes to life in Alabama. Women must heed the warning – It might not be quite the Handmaid’s tale, but how women’s bodies are policed especially as they are pregnant seems ridiculous in the 21st century, and misogynistic. It offers no protection for mothers who are might already be in a vulnerable situation.

Sustainable Reading nr. 8 - byLiiL

 

NUTRITION

Edible insects? Lab-grown meat? The real future food is lab-grown insect meat – As livestock is increasingly considered as harmful for the environment scientists have been coming up with new alternatives. Lab-grown meat might require even more resources to make than livestock, but insects do not require much and the return of meat per animal is much higher. However, how will this affect veganism? How long will it take for people not to be disgusted by this meat which is a staple in some cultures? And what are the drawbacks in this?

Plant-based protein day needed on school menus – I agree! Although not only that. I’ve been in a situation where I had visited several different schools and saw the food offered to children. Without an exception, all the schools offered less healthy food and I was struggling to find foods that I would like to eat there. Of course, this is at least 4 years ago and I hope it has changed. Children should be offered more balanced, nourishing and diverse food options.

How This South African Woman Grew a Farm in a Plastic Packet – I love reading stories like this!

 

WILDLIFE

Pine woodland restoration creates haven for birds in Midwest – Birds are thriving in the areas where woodlands are cared for in a mindful way.

Biodiversity helps coral reefs thrive — and could be part of strategies to save them – Ways to possibly save or reintroduce corals in oceans?

Sustainable Reading nr. 8 - byLiiL

 

FASHION

Finnish R&D Project Aims to Make Business from Circular Textiles – Finnish company Telaketju is moving from just encouraging recycling of textiles into full-blown textile recycling centre that will create new textiles. Looking forward to seeing how they will manage this!

MBDC, Toxnot Collaborate to Optimize Supply Chain, Material Transparency – Although this is not only fashion related, but rather all industries related circular economy and transparency initiative. I hope it works well!

Our Top 10+ Clothing Rental Sites Around The World – Check out Eluxe’s chosen rental websites.

5 Ways Technology Is Making Fashion Sustainable – If you are not aware of the most yet this article is a great introduction to them.

Mindful Mending: How to connect to your clothing on an emotional level and save the planet – Excellent, mending should become mainstream already!!

In Conversation With Livia Firth – Interview with a co-founder of Eco-Age.

The Art Of Stain Removal – This is what I’ve been needing for a while! I don’t like throwing away my clothes and would rather get rid of the stain. These tips should help anybody to get rid of stains from their clothes!

All the images are from Usplash by Markus Spiske.

 

What interesting either positive or negative news have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

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.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable

This post is a long time coming. With many different companies talking about a greener packaging they have I have gotten confused about what actually is environmentally friendly packaging. Then after visiting the plastic recycling centre in Scotland and hearing all about plastic recycling and whether biodegradable plastic fits into plastic recycling, I found out some new information. Once when looking at a seemingly green website I checked their packaging which they claimed to be great for the environment as it is photodegradable. Was it greenwashing or was it just ignorance, I don’t know, so I decided to find out properly what these packaging words mean that are floating around. I certainly don’t know everything, but I did research into multiple sources to find the most reliable information. I hope it will help some of you understand these words as well. And I am talking about the packaging connecting to food more than anything else, but it does correlate to other industries as well.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable - byLiiL

Photodegradable

Photodegradable means that it will decompose with sunlight, meaning it will break into smaller pieces when subjected to light. The big problem with photodegradable packaging is that it sounds like it would be a good option for the environment, however, nearly everything in the world will decompose, the question is how quickly will it decompose and whether it will leave any harmful substances when it does. Some products may take thousands of years to decompose and in many cases when they decompose they release harmful chemicals into the environment and the waterways. The fact that something is photodegradable doesn’t tell much about the product, other than it requires sunlight to do so.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable - byLiiL

Biodegradable

Biodegradable means that the decomposing happens when the items are subject to living organisms such as fungi or bacteria. In general, biodegradable is a term associated with green packaging, and it’s been considered as a great alternative because what comes from nature goes back. However, biodegradable doesn’t always mean it comes from nature.

There are several terms that all can be confused with each other, but don’t actually mean the same thing; biodegradable plastic, bioplastic and biodegradable materials such as paper. Biodegradable plastic is essentially plastic that is designed to decompose quickly by adding additives to them, and bioplastic is plastic made out of natural materials such as corn starch. Both of these are essentially plastics as they are made out of polymers, but each of these materials behaves differently when decomposing, it takes them varied times to decompose and they require different environments for decomposing often high temperatures and possibly even UV lights. Biodegradable does not mean we can throw the items with an easy conscience into the bin, as the landfill is not an optimum environment for them to decompose and instead the decomposing could release methane gas. Nor can we throw them in the compost without knowing what they are actually made out of or whether they are suitable for home or industrial composting (more on that in composting section).

 

Biodegradable Plastic

The big problem with biodegradable is that it is often misconceived as a natural material that is better for the environment, but this is a generalisation. Lately biodegradable plastic has been in the news for all the soda bottles which were contributing to the oceans microplastic problem because the plastic degraded quickly but only into small pieces instead of disappearing completely. If packaging is market as biodegradable it really requires further information on in what conditions is it biodegradable and whether it leaves harmful residues when it is biodegraded. In a sense, biodegradable is a buzz word as it doesn’t inform consumers of what they need to do with the packaging. It could require industrial composting and often it cannot be recycled with other plastics as it rather contaminates them. Biodegradable products are not regulated.

 

Bioplastic

Bioplastics, on the other hand, are derived from renewable sources such as corn starch, sugarcane, bacteria etc. Bioplastic can be made into PLA which is compostable in the right environment or PET which is not compostable, so whether bioplastic is compostable is dependant on what kind of plastic is created with it. This also brings the question of how to dispose of it, as PLA could potentially be put into a compost bin but it would contaminate the plastic recycling making it unrecyclable and PET would contaminate the compost but could possibly be recycled with conventional PET plastic.

As bioplastic sounds like an excellent alternative there are some serious environmental consequences. To make bioplastic a lot of crops is grown which requires intensive agriculture, which is not modified in the same way as food agriculture is and it can lead to soil erosion and fertilizer runoff. On top of the machinery that is used in agriculture, possible deforestation and space it takes from food agriculture. Bioplastic made out of bacteria although was the first known bioplastic invented in 1926, is still rarely used.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable - byLiiL

Compostable

Compostable means naturally derived products that can be put amongst decaying natural substances to decompose by microorganisms eventually turning into nutrient-rich substance. There are two types of compostable products; they can either be composted in a home compost or they need to a special environment that only industrial composting can create.

Composting is a fairly efficient way to process natural waste with great benefits. Compost is a great natural fertiliser that reduces soil erosion, controls ground moisture and weeds and restores soil fertility.

Problems with compost result when the compost is contaminated with synthetic substances or with materials that have toxic dyes for example, or if the home compost is contaminated with other compostable material that requires industrial composting. Food ingredients are quite simple to understand that they are compostable, but the packaging is not quite so simple. There are more rules regarding marking on the packaging about compostability because the packaging needs to be tested according to the compost standards whether it is compostable. That is why, in the UK, most home composts are said to only accept food compost, as any kind of packaging could make people confused about what can be composted and it could easily be contaminated. One issue I have with the UK compost is that they do not even seem to take tissues, but they do take teabags which have plastic in them. So if you are reading this, stop putting tea bags into your compost unless you are 100% sure it doesn’t have plastic in it.

When it comes to food packaging compostable is one of the most sensible options, as food contaminated the plastic and the paper, which makes them unrecyclable. When the packaging is compostable and it has food scraps in it, it all just goes into the same bin. Compostable packaging is regulated and therefore if you see their standards on the packaging you know what you are buying into and how to dispose of the packaging. However, if compostable items are sent to the landfill they produce biogas and methane which are not great for the environment.

These are some of the labels that you can find on packaging which is compostable, but there might be others which should be clearly marked on the packaging.

At the moment I am excited about Vegware which is a Scottish company supplying certified compostable packaging worldwide, Alterwaste for coming up with compostable new solutions to food waste and Percol for having their coffee packet in compostable coffee bags. What companies are you excited about?

With love,

Lii

Packaging photos are from Oleg Magni from Pexels.

Other articles you might be interested in:

Doing Small Changes Won’t Save the Planet – But It’s a Start

Is Recycling Sustainable

World Recycling Week

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

My Sustainable Journey in January

This is a new thread which I hope will help me to become even more sustainable and hopefully inspire some of you to do changes with me. I started January fairly easily by calculating my carbon footprint.

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

Calculating My Carbon Footprint

My carbon footprint – 4.56 metric tons of CO2e. I did this calculation based on my habits in 2018. Although the numbers don’t actually make a lot of sense to me what does is a comparison; The average carbon footprint in the UK is 6.5 metric tons, so I know I am below that. I also know the world target it 2 metric tons which is way below of my usage. The number of flights I took in 2018 amounted to 1.41 metric tons, which is quite a lot, but I offset this by not having a car and using mainly public transport to get around. Also, I don’t fly quite so much every year, but living away from your family in a place from where it is hard to get to them by any other means than flying does make this number higher than it would otherwise.

Now that I know what my footprint is I can work on lowering it. The problem is that the majority of my footprint comes from gas and electricity in my household which amounts to 1.28 metric tons for just me and that I cannot change in a rental flat. Although I know that part of the energy I get is from wind power I don’t know how big amount it is and therefore it cannot be calculated into this. In the future when I move I hope to change this! What comes to shopping I don’t shop much, mostly just what I need, food and occasionally some extra items. However, I do know that I could live more eco-friendly.

What I did notice about this calculated it didn’t take into account your recycling and other waste habits, nor where or what type of produce you shopped for. It does suggest that to lower your carbon footprint you should not buy fruits and vegetables that are not in season, however, in the calculation, it doesn’t take this into account which could either lower or grow that CO2 emission.  It also doesn’t take into account packaging in any products, water usage nor whether you have pets in the house. All of these are minor things, but they do add up. Nevertheless, it provides with a suggested number of what your footprint is. If you want to calculate your carbon footprint you can try THIS calculator which is free to use!

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

Zero Waste Tries

I tried few zero waste products in January; bamboo toothbrush, zero waste deodorant and zero waste dry shampoo. The bamboo toothbrush was okay. I didn’t mind the bamboo handle, which I’ve heard complaints about. However, it doesn’t work as well as my electric toothbrush at keeping my teeth clean, and the bristles could be designed to get into every crevice. If the bristles could be designed better I think it would be a great alternative to regular plastic toothbrushed, but I hope the industry will start designing eco-friendly electric toothbrushes as they are superior to your own health! I quite liked my zero waste deodorant by Kutis, I didn’t feel any smell on the days when I used it, nor any sensitivity. But like with many natural deodorants I started feeling itchy after few days of use. Nevertheless, it is a great deodorant for not so sensitive armpits. The zero waste dry shampoo by Kitenest I love! It takes time to get used to using it, but it is awesome and you get a lot in this package!

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

 

In February I am planning to finally find myself some natural and zerowaste toothpaste. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comment box below!

All pictures are from pexels, first and last by Min An.

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

What sustainable have you done in January?

With love,

Lii

 

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

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5

Fashion

What Does A Sustainable Closet Look Like? – The World Threads Traveler introduces her walking wardrobe and what is her wardrobe made of, whilst reiterating how sustainable closet doesn’t need to be made 100% of ethically and sustainably made garments. Interesting read that will calm your anxiety over the fast fashion items that you bought when you didn’t know what you were doing.

Green Finance Boost For Myanmar Garment Sector – Myanmar garment factories are looking to cut their CO2 emissions!

PFCs Not Necessary In Outdoor Clothing, Claims Study – Non-fluorinated polymers work as well as fluorinated polymers to repel water.

UK Garment Factories Flouting Minimum Wage Laws – Finally the officials are looking into this and the factories are forced to pay back what the employees were meant to be paid originally! It is still a big problem, which needs to be addressed, but that is a start!

Levi’s To Pilot Blockchain Use In Supply Chain – I’ve heard good things about what Levi is trying to achieve in the fashion industry and am happy to continue hearing how they want to transform the whole industry to be better.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5 - byLiiL

Plastic & Waste

Microplastics Ban Could Cause Beauty Sector Billions – Although microplastic beads are already restricted in the EU and especially in the UK some sort of microplastics still exist in the beauty, detergent and agricultural fertilisers and the industry is fighting back on their ban as there is no quick solution to replace this formula. Yes, it might cause the industry a lot of money, but it can cause the environment even more. And quite frankly I don’t want any kind of plastic in my beauty products, detergents or fertilisers!

Fashionista’s New Survey Suggests That Bullying Is Still Alive And Well In The Fashion Industry – It is an unfortunate truth that is probably live in many industries, however, the fashion industry is very clicky, a trend-driven place where everybody is trying to show what they are made of. The constant competition to get ahead and to get paid properly for your work doesn’t help the situation. I have experienced the clicky atmosphere, the senior staff that behaved like they were the royalty who you should not talk to and the employers who didn’t think you are worthy of being paid to. Unfortunately, in the fashion industry everybody knows somebody and complaining about this is difficult because you might not be employed again.

This New Recycling Facility Will Repurpose 90% Of Household Waste – In Australia, this recycling facility is attempting to recycle the neighbouring household’s waste. It is not the first of it’s kind. In northern European countries this is a fairly common practice that should be employed in other countries as well. The technology is there it is just missing the infrastructure to put in place everywhere else.

World’s First Plastic Free Flight Paving The Way For Green Aviation – Hurray! Although how has this been not a thing for ages I don’t know. I hope other companies are quick to follow suit!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5 - byLiiL

Social

The Disturbing Racial Bias Of The Greatest Dancer  – It is interesting how by giving all the power to the public we can see how racially biased it is.

‘Breast Ironing’ Is Happening In The UK , Affecting Up To 1,000 Girls – The saddest thing about this is that the mothers feel like they need to protect their girls, or do they feel they want to control them in this way? Nevertheless, the health problems resulting from such behaviour is why this should be made illegal, but also it is something that should be talked more widely why it can be harmful to girls.

The UAE’s Gender Equality Awards Were Missing One Important Thing: Women – As ridiculous as it sounds the UAE had their awards for gender equality where all the recipients of initiating or encouraging gender equality were men. Nevertheless, of the country being on the forefront of gender equality in the Gulf State area, it seems as though they found a new award to award men of seemingly doing something. It is great that they are working on it, but it just shows they still have a long way to go!

The Ethical Issues With Amazon – A very comprehensive article by Francesca from Ethical Unicorn explaining the big problems with Amazon. We all knew there were problems, but this is quite unbelievable!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5 - byLiiL

What interesting sustainability news have you read about recently?

With love,

Lii

My Sustainable 2018

In 2018 I dig more into a sustainable lifestyle and actually learned a lot, unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to write about it all. Nevertheless I did share several companies doing great things such as MAVOLU selling garments made out of new sustainable materials, Cred Jewellery that makes ethical and sustainable jewellery, The Green Eco Box which is a beautiful artisan subscription box supporting small companies and the environment, Grow From Nature which makes awesome accessories from Cork and White Spring that make bamboo straws. In addition, I shared my favourite 6 sustainable bag brands. I am so inspired by all of these companies which are doing amazing work!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Birthday and Greenshowroom - byLiiL

I wrote much less about sustainable fashion that I originally planned as many other topics, especially plastic pollution, got my interest. I did write that we should keep Fashion Revolution Going, not only during the day, the week or the month of the event, but always, and I wrote about what the fashion companies are hiding from us. I also loved learning about Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week!

After reading and hearing a lot of talk about recycling and how we shouldn’t rely on it I wrote my own comments on the topic of recycling, and later on how small changes might not save the planet but it is a start for many people to whom the whole movement might seem overwhelming. Finally, I shared my ethical tips when travelling to Chania, and then shared ethical advent calendar and Christmas gift tips, both of which can be used outside the season.

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

I Also Shared Articles About Sustainability

5 Articles About – Is It Really Ethical?

Sustainable News of the Month – January 2018

6 Articles To Help You Be More Sustainable

Sustainable News of the Month – February 2018

Sustainable News of the Month – April 2018

Sustainable News of the Month – May 2018

Sustainable News of the Month – June 2018

Sustainable News of July 2018

Sustainable News of August 2018

Sustainable Reading No. 1

Sustainable News Nr. 2

Sustainable News Nr. 3

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

Now after writing this and searching for all the posts I wrote in 2018 it doesn’t seem like I did so little. I learned a lot and achieved a lot, but didn’t write as much as I had planned. Now there is the year 2019 in which I can strive to do better!

With love,

Lii

 

Sustainable News Nr. 2

Plastic

Plastic Waste Set To Beat Price As UK Shoppers’ Top Concern – Study – It’s great to see how consumer mindset is changing and the price isn’t always the number 1 priority.

But What Happens If You Use Up All The Plastic? – The short answer is that’s not going to happen.

Even Insects Are Carrying Around Microplastics – It is not surprising how widespread it is, but it is still quite terrifying!

This Fungus Could Be The Answer To The Plastic Waste Crisis – Hurray! Why aren’t they researching it more?

Are Biodegradable Plastics The Solution To Our Plastic Obsession? – Muccycloud dives into this question and explains what biodegradable plastics actually are.

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Groceries

Slavery In The Chocolate Industry – Explains what many big chocolate corporations don’t want to tell you and why we should check more strictly on what chocolate we buy.

FoodShot Global Looking To Fund Innovators Taking ‘Moonshot For Better Food’ – I wish this kind of collaboration at this level would be done across other industries as well.

Fashion

Leading Bangladeshi Textile Mill Regrets Going Green – Apparently, some customers are not prepared to pay even one cent more for buying green clothes.

Rethinking the Business of Fashion – 12 start-ups that are in an acceleration programme supported by the Fashion for Good-Plug.

Lenzing’s EUR 26 Million Sustainable Nonwovens Fibre Facility – Finally nonwoven that is not an oil-based fibre!!

New Plant-based Shoes From Vivobarefoot – Interesting innovation.

Francesco Carrozzini’s X-Ray Fashion: Seeing Through A Toxic Industry – What if all the consumers would be able to feel how people making our clothes feel, would they shop for fast fashion then?

Grow Your Own Vegan Handbag! The Marvel of Mushroom Leather – I can’t wait for this to become more mainstream, it sounds fantastic!

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Recycling

How One E-Waste Recycler Uses Education To Incentivise The Right Behaviours – And more information on e-waste recycling.

Social

What Is Going On In Yemen – Fran writes about a crisis that is less talked on the news but which requires our attention.

50 Girls Hospitalised After FGM In Burkina Faso, Dozens Arrested In Crackdown – Even though Burkina Faso has illegalised FGM the culture is still so ingrained in the practice that the nation has difficulty ending it.

Gender Inequality Is Bad For Men’s Health – It does make sense.

This Incredible Former Child Bride Persuaded Her Country To Ban Child Marriage – So inspiring!

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Other

California Mandates 2 Largest Pension Funds Factor Climate Risk Into Investment – Excellent, all the banks should be doing that though.

Can China Become Powerhouse In Green Manufacturing? – A very interesting question that leaves us to wait for the future to see if it will.

What Are The Most Effective Water Pollution Solutions – an Excellent guide on what should be done about water pollution.

These Giant Towers Could Clean Toxic Smog In The Wolrd’s Most Polluted Megacity – Air cleaning towers that are self-sustaining, what a great idea, however, I hope they will also consider working on lowering the emission they are releasing in those megacities as well.

 

What news have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable News of August 2018

Climate Change

Earth At Risk Of Entering ‘Hot House’ State From Which There Is No Return, Scientists Warn – One of the possible futures for our planet if we are not rapidly doing something to prevent it.

Rising Heat Will Cost The Poorest Countries Billions Of Dollars A Year – Heath exhaustion doesn’t happen to only us living in Europe or the US where we are not used to such warm temperatures, it also happens to those who are used to them.

Hotter Climate Means Hungrier Insects Will Munch Millions More Tons Of Crops By 2050 – The one thing we didn’t even think about climate change.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Social

New Passport Checks For Families Are Sexist, Backward Step – In a modern world where we think we are moving forward with feminist issues we stumble upon new ones when legislations fight other crimes.

Why The World Needs More Female Leaders In Health Care – Whilst they occupy the most roles in health care females only have a small portion of leadership roles.

Reversing Burundi’s Pregnant Schoolgirl Ban Is Not Enough, Activists Say – Although a great start as the girls will have greater potential to earn a better living for their families in the future, it is still not concentrating on sexual exploitation.

Diversity In Sustainability – Addie writes with great enthusiasm and good points why sustainability should matter to everybody, not only white women.

This 9-Year-Old South African Author Has a Message We All Need To Hear – It’s so inspiring to see young children to take such initiative and show their enthusiasm to learning and bettering themselves as well as others lives!

Fake Foods Are Threatening South Africa’s Most Vulnerable People – Yes you read it correctly, fake foods or counterfeit foods are allegedly being sold around South Africa to the poorest population with serious health implications.

How Bikes Helped Cut Malaria Deaths by 96% in This Zambia District – As simple a thing as bikes can help poor nations and communities to get access to health and other services.

Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Intelligence, Study Finds – So we should probably do something about it.

 

Plastic

Iceland Is The First UK Supermarket To Sell Plastic Free Chewing Gum – And by this, they do not mean the packaging but the actual gum that you chew. Who would’ve thought that it is even legal to have petroleum-based substances in our consumables? Now you definitely don’t want to swallow it.

Decomposing Plastic Revealed As Hidden Source Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – It shouldn’t come as a surprise.

UK Plastic Pact Is Central To Forming A Circular Economy – In the mids of all the plastic fears this article tells about a pragmatic approach to tackle the plastic problem. Although, it discusses the circular approach it still doesn’t pinpoint how customers will be involved in it, or how they will make sure no toxic chemicals will be left in the recycled plastics.

This Is The Single Greatest Cause Of Ocean Trash – Lately, we have been hearing about cigarette buts and there is a reason behind it. Maybe it would be time to regulate this.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Recycling

Down With Upcycling? – With so many companies using waste products to make new products are they just using new sources of materials or are they thinking of the whole lifecycle of the product until the end?

 

Food

EU Households Waste Over 17 Billion Kg Of Fresh Fruit And Vegetables a Year – That is an astounding number and we all should start checking whether we actually eat all of the fruit and veg in our households.

Glyphosate Found In Breakfast Cereal In the US – Also found in the UK (especially in bread) as farmers keep using the pesticide before harvest so it is more likely to stay in our food. Buy organic to keep away from the carcinogen and if you want to help affect change in this in the UK you can donate money to Soil Association.

 

Fashion

France Is About To Ban Stores From Throwing Away Unsold Clothing – The idea is that the stores could give the clothes to charities and although this would be a great idea, I don’t think the volume of clothing that would go to charities would do good for either of the industries, I can almost see history repeating what happened to fashion outlets. It is important to do something about the volume of clothing that is thrown away by retailers and brands, but I am not sure if gifting them to charities is the way to go forward.

Why This Factory Is Making Its Factory Wages Public – An excellent initiative that will hopefully be shared by many other brands and bring even more visibility to this problem. Although, I don’t think it should only be factory workers wages, everybody in the company and the supply chain to provide a proper comparison.

Everlane Is Launching ‘Clean Silk’ In a Move Toward Greater Sustainability – The company’s plans are great and I am impressed with how they are reducing harmful chemicals from the production, however, not sure why there was no talk about using peace silk, only organic, which would’ve made the silk even more sustainable.

Shoppers Are Buying Clothes Just For The Instagram Pic, And Then Returning Them – This article talks about a deep-rooted problem in the fashion industry to which Instagram, OOTD and a new outfit for each pic are a fuel. If clothes can be even more disposable than before how can we ever change the fashion industry?

Adidas Launches FW’18 Collection Made Of Recycled Polyester, Organic Cotton – It’s great to hear that the brand is making changes to their ranges, however, this range is designed by Stella McCartney, I would like to see them changing completely to more sustainable materials!

Stella McCartney Evasive On Unsold Stock Issue – For a company that supports sustainability I am surprised and saddened that it is not more transparent on their own supply chains.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Ecosystems

Effects of Overfishing On Ocean Health – This describes very well the different problems overfishing has on marine life and it’s ecosystems.

Why Are Elephants Important To African Ecosystem – Although I’ve always thought they are important I never quite knew how important they are! Let’s save them all!

Climate Change’s Latest Casualty: Cute, Tiny Puffin – Unfortunately with the ocean animals are finding it harder to find their food and have to travel longer to get to their source of nutrition.

Scientists Just Discovered A Coral Reef Off The Coast of South Carolina – And it needs to be protected against oil and gas industry!

Top Performing Microbes Could Be Key To Sustainable Agriculture – Taking an example from nature at it’s best!

 

I think I might need to start doing these weekly as there are so many links to go through. What do you think weekly or monthly?

With love,

Lii

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

Sustainable News Of The Month – October 2017

Could Kelp Be The Future Of Sustainable Fashion – A group of scientists and textile designers have been developing a substitute for oil-based textiles (polyester and acrylic e.g.) using kelp. An absolutely amazing idea if it can be used in a similar way and if it is as durable!

Easyjet Could Soon Be Flying Fuel-Free – It is about time airlines start to think about changing their fuel-engines on something more eco-efficient. Although this doesn’t fix all the problems that aviation has on our planet, it is a start!

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

Chocolate Production Linked To Increased Deforestation in Poor Nations – Although, previously it was thought that the production of chocolate is not as damaging to the environment, the growing demand for chocolate with a reduced price has demanded change in the cultivation strategies, which are less sustainable for the environment.

Warming Sees Could Lead To 70 Percent Increase In Hurricane-Related Financial Loss – According to the researchers sponsored by the United Nations have issued a periodic report that believes the financial losses due to hurricanes will increase exponentially.

New Conservation Method Empowers Indigenous People – This very fascinating article discusses how we do not need to change the way indigenous people live, as “Indigenous communities have not only established a high quality of life, but have found ways to manage their natural resources sustainably through traditional hunting, fishing, and small-scale agriculture.”

What Soot-Covered, Hundred-Year-Old Birds Can Tell Us About Saving The Environment – Researchers have been investigating Horned Larks and their colouring to tell how much black carbon is still in the air.

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

Olive Mill Wastewater Transformed: From Pollutant To BioFertilizer, Biofuel – Making waste into something useful!!

HSBC Pledges $100 Billion To Tackle Climate Change – HSBC unveiled 5 point plan; from financing available sustainability projects, discontinuing financing of thermal-coal and planning to source all it’s electricity from renewable sources.

150 Companies, NGOs Call For Global Ban On Oxo-Degradable Plastic Packaging – Recent research has pinpointed that it is the oxo-degradable plastic that is contributing to the growing microplastic problem. Oxo-degradable plastic was previously believed to be the solution to the plastic waste problem.

Canopy Releases Viscose Producer Progress On Deforestation-Free Supply Chains – Canopy has been the go-to NGO to turn to when companies want to access information on viscose and rayon producers and their pledge to reduce deforestation.

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

Digitizing Leftover Garment Data Could Unlock Billions For Fashion Industry – Brands are spilling on average 25 percent of its resources when producing fashion because of the lack of adequate data input.

Can Upcycling Really Help The Oceans? – Although upcycling helps with the current plastic waste in the oceans, it is not the best solution and there is a need for saving the oceans in other ways. Excellent article explaining what actually happens to plastics when they enter waterways or how they can be upcycled.

Marimekko To Help Commercialise Spinnova’s Wood-Based Textiles – Finnish based textile company has developed new wood-based textile which doesn’t use chemicals processing the fibre and Marimekko is pledged to help the company to commercialise the fibre whilst acting on their pledge to produce their fashion more sustainably.

Recycling Mysteries: Brick – What is brick made off, why should it be recycled and how to recycle it.

What Happens To Airplanes No Longer Fit To Fly? – This article is excellent to understand what happens to airplanes after their useful life.

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

 

If you have read any other interesting articles on sustainability share them in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii