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

My Sustainable Journey In February

My plan for February was to find a toothpaste that creates less waste and is still good for my health. Originally I wanted to change my toothpaste after I’ve read several posts about fluoride and how it can have a bad effect on our health. There are a few fluoride free toothpaste options but most of them are in plastic tubes, which does not help when I want to create less waste. So far I’ve quite like toothpaste from Ecodenta, especially their charcoal one, as that is fluoride free (not all natural toothpaste will be fluoride free). I did try some from Georganics, but found the glass jar not as convenient especially when I was really tired. (I might try some of their other products though in the future). At the beginning of February I ordered some fluoride-free toothpaste tablets from Society zero, which I wanted to try, but then I had to get my tooth fixed and fluoride toothpaste was the only thing that was working for me for a couple of weeks. So I’ve only been trying the toothpaste tablet for a week or so, but so far I quite like them. I think I’ll have to try them for longer to be sure and possibly try some toothy tabs from Lush and other Georganics products to find the product that I am the happiest with health wise and waste wise.

If you want to read more about fluoride and decide for yourself if you want to have toothpaste with it you can check the following articles F Toxins, Curiosly Conscious, Georganics. There most certainly are many more articles and most of them will explain two different sides of pro or con fluoride. The one thing that I found out is that fluoride in small amounts is great for your enamel but otherwise not too good for human health, and the fluoride used in toothpaste is often industrial based by-product, which circularity in mind is great, but I am not sure if we should be using that in our bodies.

My Sustainable Journey In February - byLiiL

No Logo

In February I also finished the book No Logo by Naomi Klein. The book is not an actual sustainability book, but I found that helps with understanding the world, how it works and what drives it – all things that affect how we can change it to a more sustainable one. It talks about how brands are everywhere, even where we don’t think they are, how much influence they have on people, their decision making and what they trust or don’t trust. It also uncovers the secrets these brands have and would rather not let their customers know about them. What strikes me is not how influential the brands are on customers but even on governments and their decision making.

It also discusses in extent how brands, although try to market diversity, in real life hope for and try to achieve less diversity because their products will be easier to market to a bigger group.

The book is quite old, written in 1999, and I believe many of the companies mentioned have changed their ways. Nevertheless, it shows what brands have been doing, what they might be doing, and how they try to achieve the maximum profit by investing their money in things that they think matters.

My Sustainable Journey In February - byLiiL

March

There is one thing I am constantly getting annoyed about and that is junk mail that we get in the mail. Nevertheless, of trying to sign off from any mailing lists many surrounding companies just want to bombard us with adverts about their menus, new stores or community groups. And although, I know sometimes there is good behind what they are advertising I am the one who has to dispose of all that mail. In Finland, we could just write that we do not accept junk mail and we could be free of this mail, in the UK it doesn’t quite work that way. So I am going to look into the junk mail problem in March. Wish me luck!

 

What sustainable did you do in February? And what are your plans for March?

With love,

Lii

 

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

Other articles you might be interested in:

My Sustainable Journey In January

My Sustainable 2018

Sustainability in 2017

My Sustainable Journey In February - byLiiL

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.

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

 

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018

It’s that time of the year again when we get frantic about finishing all the work, preparing for relaxation time and trying to find everybody some presents. My best tip is to check a couple of tip posts or articles out, for some inspiration, and especially the ones for ethical and sustainable presents, there are many of them this year! And then listen to your friends and family and what are they looking for. I think often the best presents are time and being together with somebody, or giving them an unforgettable experience, and that post I will be posting up soon, however, for those who want to give products I am sharing some great brands here where you can find absolutely amazing products that are ethical and/or sustainable, and there are options for different price points as well! Do remember that the most ethical present (in items) is something that the person wants and will use years to come.

You can check an alternative Sustainable Gift Guide that I wrote last year from here and the post about gifting experiences can be found here. The decorations and seeds seen in this posts are from LA Juniper online store and part of the presents I am giving.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Fashion and Homeware Gifts

Mavolu – An online shop based in Germany selling fashion, accessories and home products made with sustainable textiles.

Gaia & Dubos – A Canadian sustainable fashion company selling beautiful products, teaching how to care for them. In addition, they offer a bunch of tutorials for caring for your clothes.

La Juniper – A beautiful online store for homeware, stationery and gift products all ethically made.

Alicas – This is a Scottish brand working on providing women in crisis new clothes by repurposing surplus stock from retailers. They are selling ethical items with beautiful illustrations, right now to fund their amazing project.

Elvis and Kresse – Make amazing accessories from repurposed fire hydrants and off-cut leather. In addition, they give 50% of their profits to charity. This is one of my favourite brands at the moment and their accessories are on my Christmas wishlist!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Wild Tussah – Ethical accessory brand made by artisans.

Nandi Berlin – Ethical homeware store with items made by artisans.

Buy Me Once – Fashion,  homeware and gift that will last a long time, are high quality and look great.

Gather and See – Sustainable and ethical fashion from around the world.

LiiL – British made Giclee prints and ethically made sleep masks and homeware.

Primrose and Pixie – Ethical and sustainable lingerie from Scotland.

Studio Emma – Beautiful and colourful homewares made out of concrete.

Maik London – Homewares that are sustainably sourced and ethically made in beautiful prints. I especially like their socks!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Beauty Gifts

Acala – Zero waste beauty shop selling everything to women and men.

MyPure – Natural beauty shop for women, men and children.

Evolve – Natural and organic beauty brand, which is one of my favourites.

 

Zero Waste Supplies

White Spring – Sell high-quality bamboo straws, which are a great present for anybody who likes to drink with straws.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Better Subscription Gifts

Green EcoBox – They have a natural beauty and gourmet food-related subscription boxes which give back. These boxes are amazing for somebody who likes to try new products which are of high quality and from small brands. If you don’t want to get the whole box or a subscription then you can check just the products on their websites. They are amazing!

Sourced Box – A subscription box full of healthy treats and for Christmas, they bring in a healthy chocolate box which looks so delicious I might just have to order one for myself!

Ethical Consumer – A subscription to this magazine will support ethical consumer magazine and bringing information about ethical businesses. It is a great magazine which I like to support.

Willoughby Book Club – or any other book subscription. At Willoughby, you can choose how long subscription and what type you want to order.

Spotify – or any other music service. Having the premium service can be a nice difference when you don’t have to listen to the constant advertising.

Netflix – or any other video service. There are so many options and so many of us watch tv on a daily basis.

Who Gives A Crap – Why not gift somebody, especially those who might need it, a subscription of toilet paper which is better for the environment as well. I know this might be a controversial present, but I also know that some people would love this present!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Let me know if you have any other great shops or tips for Christmas!

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

Happy Favourites of August 2018

Visit to the Purple Cat Cafe – Purple cat cafe is the first cat cafe in Glasgow and it is an experience worth going to… especially if you like cats. To get in you should book a time slot, as they book full really quickly, we were lucky that we got the last spot left right at the time when we showed up. Although they serve food and drinks which are tasty and offer vegetarian as well as vegan options, the main attraction there is, of course, the cats, which there is around a dozen. All the cats are friendly although don’t always want people touching them, however, if you offer them a treat they just might pay more attention to you. What I really enjoyed about the experience though was the atmosphere. I felt relaxed looking at what the cats were up to. Climbing their trees as they were able to go all around the cafe including nearly the ceiling where they had a shelf and a little nook to sleep in. We got a spot next to a sleeping fur baby, who didn’t wake up to anything but looked like an angel whilst sleeping, until it was time for the treats to which he woke in a second and happily came to collect his treats. I definitely recommend visiting this place and spending some quality time watching the feline’s life.

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

European Championship 2018 in Glasgow – I really wanted to go and see one of the events, but didn’t really have time for it, however, on one Saturday whilst being out and about in the city centre I realised the cycling was on. It was at the same time exciting as it was a bit annoying. Half of the city was fenced and to get to the other side of the road, which usually took you less than a minute, now took you around a couple of blocks and then through the very crowded little passing spot. However, this is not a usual occurrence in Glasgow, so I decided to enjoy the exciting atmosphere of the city and clapped alongside to encourage the cyclists. Funnily enough, two German cyclers had time to chat with each other while doing the race.

Local Heroes – Made In Glasgow – An amazing showcase of design in Glasgow that was up for the duration of the European Championships. We got gifted a limited edition print by Emer Tumilty and saw some great new designers who I hadn’t even heard about. Scotland is truly full of great and innovative designers!

Trying Out Malaysian Food – I’ve never before tried Malaysian food but when my friend came back from her holiday and suggested a dinner to catch up a restaurant close by came to my mind and we decided to catch up there. The food was very tasty, although mine was so spicy I don’t remember ever eating as spicy food, except that one time when we cooked with singapore spice set and put too much of it into our food. Unfortunately, the restaurant was trying to be too fancy that we felt being pestered by the waiters too much and the atmosphere a bit pretentious. Nevertheless, the evening with friends was lovely and a breath of fresh air!

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

New Plants – If I see a plant that I fall in love with it I have to get it. So in August, I added two new plants to the collection: a cute new succulent and a gorgeous Calathea. I really need more space for plants in my house though!

Green Eco Box – That I received in August was truly a joy and I loved getting to know the company well and the beautiful products! If you want to read more about it check it here.

Bear and the Nightingale – I just finished this beautiful, magical book that questioned the relationship between church and old beliefs, and a woman’s place in a man’s world. I loved it!!

Void – The only thing I went to see during the Edinburgh Fringe was a show called Void which was essentially a dance performance showing a woman who was due to a highway accident been thrown into an area not suitable for people and from where it doesn’t seem that she could get away. The performance was very moving and I especially liked the performer, Mele Broomes, who was brilliant. The whole thing worked together well and left me moved and thinking.

My Ninja – The cat in the pictures who likes attention so much that she decided as soon as I started to take pictures that she needs to be in them.

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

Reading

14 Badass Women – An article introducing you to 14 badass women who paved the way for other women, for equality and who showed that women really can do what men can. Very inspiring!

How To Get Your Message Across To Companies About Using Less Plastic – This excellent post by From Scratch provides you with real tips and steps you can take to affect change. Very inspiring and you can take action instantly!

It’s Not Waste Until It’s Wasted – This post put waste into a new perspective. Very interesting!

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

Support

Buy a Bag To Support Sustainable Education – Bag For Change helps to support educational projects with waste, recycling, composting and energy.

 

Watch

Safe – I finally watched Safe on Netflix and couldn’t stop watching, it was really thrilling!

Sharp Objects – Another really thrilling tv show and watching it and seeing the human relationships that are not healthy opens your eyes to the world and to your own world. It makes you appreciate what you have with your own family.

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

What were the happy things that happened to you in August?

With love,

Lii

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us?

Whenever I find a new fashion brand or a shop I am always excited by the imagery and marketing message they are telling me. It is obvious the modern successful brands are good at providing a persuading brand image. They get me wanting a new piece of clothing or buy into their message and it is only after the sustainable fashion movement became a driving force that we’ve learned how the fashion industry works and what we are supposed to be looking for when choosing a new product or a brand to by into. But how available is the information to the general consumer? Not very, as many companies rather through around green buzzwords rather than back them up. In the last 5 days, I’ve stumbled upon 3 new brands which sounded interesting and I had to message all 3 of them questioning the information missing from their sites and confirm whether they are as sustainable as they claim to be.

It is difficult to know what happens behind closed doors and many companies like to hide things that we consumers wouldn’t like to see or we might stop buying from those brands.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

ANIMAL CRUELTY

The public outcry after we saw the tortured angora bunnies in a Chinese factory. Did those companies really not know what was happening to those animals, or were they hiding this from their consumers? Animal cruelty still happens throughout the fashion supply chains.

Leather is a very much unregulated trade, unlike fur, because the consumer presumption is that leather is always a by-product. It is often not so, especially if it’s something else than cow leather. Animals might’ve been kept in poor conditions. Fur on the other hand, due to consumer outcry, is strictly regulated even more so than wool industry. Wool, which is one of the greatest fibres can be cruel to animals. The animals can be kept poorly and shearing them is not always stress-free. In addition, some of the sheep have been bred to provide certain wool for the consumers use.

Look for brands that are selling cruelty-free products, who talk about how they treat their animals. The smaller the brand the better, as with big quantities they don’t have the time to take care of their animals.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

TOXIC CLOTHING

Do you know if your clothes are good for the environment or to you? There is a lot of information about how the production of clothes in many cases is dangerous to the labour and how the factories pollute the surrounding waters and the environment. Companies and factories have tried to keep this a secret, but the truth has come out. However, what is less talked about but as relevant is how the toxins might still be in the clothes we wear every day on our skin. You wouldn’t put toxic beauty products on your skin so how is clothing different? It is not.

When attending a talk in Berlin during a green fashion week about innovative textiles I heard a woman ask why aren’t we just coming up with a new textile which is originally good for us rather than incorporating good ingredients into textiles that are not so great?

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

I hadn’t before this thought about how toxic our clothes could be to us and it horrifies me know the way we think about fashion. I’ve come across many young women who want to find fashion that is brightly coloured, sequined, tight, different and CHEAP. Cheap clothing comes from Asian factories which do not have as stringent laws against chemicals as in Europe. The bright colours so sought for are the result of chemicals added to the die. And to transport these clothes without mould and wrinkles into our stores they are sprayed with chemicals. Manmade fibres are made with petrol based fibres that are full of chemicals and cotton is grown with pesticides. All these chemicals still exist in our clothes when we wear them and through friction and heat, they get absorbed by our skin.

We want these clothes and the companies hide these facts from us. In Europe, the law only requires companies to tell what fibres the clothes are made from, not what chemicals were used to make them. However, those chemicals can affect skin irritations, allergies and other more problematic health conditions. Some chemicals often found in our clothes: pesticides, insecticides, formaldehyde, flame retardants, other carcinogens and lead.

Read more about toxicity in clothes from Leotie Lovely, World Threads Traveler, Mochni and Eluxe. In fashion look for brands that produce clothing with toxic free dies and garments made closer to home require fewer chemicals to travel with.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

WASTE

It is widely known that the clothing we throw away becomes waste, but as recently reported to surprised and outraged consumers, companies burn the clothes they have produced too much off. It was Burberry that was under fire lately, but Burberry is only one of the many many big fashion corporations that do this. And it is not only clothes but fabrics and materials as well. When interning for a fashion company even I saw it and couldn’t fathom the waste of all the beautiful fabrics that many of us interns could’ve used on our Uni courses. And this is not talking about the waste that accumulated from designing (all the paper and energy), sampling (fabric cut offs, sample garments) and the production (fabric cut offs, thread etc.). And although that is the waste the company accumulated, you are paying for the waste. The garments are priced to cover for the waste materials as well.

Look for small brands that make fashion in small batches. This reduces the waste they create and supports their trade.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

SALE IS ONLY AN ILLUSION

It should be a common knowledge by now that outlet’s do not really sell designer clothing, but rather poorer quality clothing that they can attach a designer label on. The fact that the design labels have agreed to this is astounding, as those clothes still represent the brand even with the poorer quality.

However, what is not as commonly known are the discounts in stores. They claim to be to sell off the rest of the stock before the next season’s clothing and where that might’ve been the original reason and still one of the reasons, the bigger reason is consumers want the discounted items and wait for it. When much of the stock is sold at the discounted price the original price is steeper so that the stockholders will still get their share from the sales.

Support small brands that might not do so many sales, but who also rarely overprice their products. The customer service you get from them is also priceless!

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

CONTRADICTION TO MARKETING MESSAGE (OR GREENWASHING)

  • Using sustainability as a marketing tactic to sell products.
  • Companies providing a good message, but not doing the work behind the message.
  • Marketing a new innovation but not telling the whole truth.

Fashion companies are very skilled at branding and marketing an image that consumers want to see. That image sells, but only few will look behind the image to see whether the message is true to the core. Since sustainability and ethical fashion has become somewhat of a trend movement many companies have seen the potential to make money out of this by either selling a message that they are doing their bit for the fight (and really are not) or selling products with positive messages about saving the planet or feminism, with products that are more harmful for both. Beyonce’s Ivy Park line has been under scrutiny for promoting empowered women, but seemingly not empowering the women who made the clothes. SZA promotes sustainability and dumping plastic on clothes that are made by Champion, a company not so sustainable or one producing without plastic. Even though the proceeds go to fund the charities fighting for these problems the merchandise should not add to the problem. And then there are the feminist t-shirts that are made by women who are definitely not empowered.

Then there is the other side where small companies are trying to innovate something new and promote themselves tot he bigger audience with their innovation but leaving out information. I have been so excited to hear about fashion made out of waste products such as milk, apple waste, banana, lotus flower and seaweed. All renewable and sustainable options, however, not all are what they are marketing. Fabric made out of seaweed only actually has 4% of seaweed and the rest is cellulose, lyocell. However, at least Seacell does provide this information when looking for their specs, whereas other companies don’t. Bags cannot be made 100% out of apple waste, they need a binding agent, however, we do not read about that even though the company claims to be transparent.

Look for the information the companies tell you and question it. Ask them questions about their products and depending on their answers you can see how open they are about their products or whether they still want to hide something.

 

Ethical and Sustainable fashion is not all about making the world a better place. It is also about making better decisions for yourself and your health.

 

Unfortunately, companies are not happy to reveal information that is not entirely positive and often we might be sold something that isn’t entirely true. We can’t always blame the faces for what fashion industry is like, however, if we all question how the clothes are made, who made them and what chemicals were used to make them we might see change. Remember to share your findings with others, but to also be kind to those brands who are striving and working to be better. It is time for the fashion brands to stop hiding behind the closed doors!

Pictures by Godisable Jacob.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Let me know in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii

What Was I Up To In April 2018

April seemed to run by in a second, does anybody else feel like it? I seemed to have more work again and was just trying to keep on top of work before my holiday and suddenly it was May. It feels like I don’t have much to show for April, but I worked a lot and when it is items that I send over to my clients, of course, I don’t see much, but my diary looks full. Then again there was my holiday that helped me to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy myself. It was difficult to get back to work after it and motivate myself so that is what I am doing now in May. At least spring has been showing up a little bit at a time!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Time - byLiiL

April also saw the Earth Day and the Fashion Revolution Week.  I enjoyed to see so many people rallying behind ethical fashion and questioning fashion brands on who made their clothes, even if there weren’t many answers, and I hope this will continue! I also questioned whether recycling is really sustainable, especially as we’ve learned about our recyclables travelling to China and African countries.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

I hope I have more time for work and my life in May and more lovely sunny days! But let me know how was your April, in the comment box below!

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