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Our Journey towards Eliminating Plastic Waste


As you may have all heard, we have recently launched a gorgeous new collection of organic leisure and active wear. As an ethical fashion brand, environmental and social responsibility is at the forefront of our ethos and we strive to be as sustainable as possible.

We have been increasingly concerned with our use of single-use plastic and the devastating impact consumption of this kind has on our planet. With each individual garment we received from our suppliers previously being wrapped in a plastic bag, we could not help but be shocked and appauled by the amount of waste we were generating, even as a very small brand.  We raised our concerns to our supplier who was very empathetic but stressed that larger brands demand such wrapping due to the protection plastic offers.

There is no doubt that plastic has been one of the greatest inventions of recent centuries and is such a useful and vital fibre, which is in constant use. However, the undeniable truth exists; single-use plastic and its disposal is destroying oceans and marine life at a devastating rate. 

With great impetus, we asked our suppliers to no longer individually wrap each garment we order in plastic, instead use a single poly bag to wrap multiple units of clothing, i.e. all white Alecta Slub T's in size 0 in one bag, with the aim of drastically reducing the amount of plastic we receive with each delivery. What we discovered was eye-opening. 

The Facts about Plastic

  • 40% of single plastic is from packaging (Europarl.europa.eu, 2018).

  • Around 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year (WWF, 2018).

  • Without a global response, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 (WWF, 2018).

  • One in two sea turtles have ingested plastic (WWF, 2018)

  • New report reveals the fashion industry puts an equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles into the ocean every year. (Upton, 2017).

    (WWF, 2018)
The statistics above are truly shocking and as a small ethical fashion brand, we know our impact on the fashion industry as whole is slightly limited at the moment, but collectively we could make huge improvements and changes to the industry as well as the environment as a whole. Fast-fashion is not sustainable and needs to change, immediately, Report claims that if nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world's carbon budget” (Upton, 2017). With items of clothing costing the same as a pint of milk or a loaf of bread, one must question, how these items are made, from what materials and under what conditions. 

                                                     (BBC NEWS, 2018)

Greenpeace launched a campaign to make aware of the impact of how some online retailers are producing their clothing items. The image above shows women holding banners, making consumers aware. This campaign was shared over social media and targeted the big online retailers.

The Results of the Change in our Plastic Use.

So far we have received 1210 units of clothing from our new collection. If we had persisted with our old method of receiving deliveries we would have consumed 222.9m² of plastic. Instead, our new and improved method of bulk wrapping, (which has not affected the level of protection of the garments at all) only uses 89.28m² of plastic, resulting in a massive 61% reduction in plastic use.

In comparison, one of the UK’s leading online fashion retailers in 2018, only reduced their plastic consumption by 18%, which makes us extremely proud of how much we have cut down by. We see no reason why all retailers can't switch to this method of packaging, not only does it help save our planet but it also cuts costs, in turn making for a more profitable business model. 

We also looked at our usage at style level and found that our most ordered style, the Alecta Slub T, which is available in 6 colours, has reduced it's plastic footprint by 59.4%. In fact, by incorporating this new method of packaging, every one of our styles saw an over 50% reduction in plastic use. 

These changes may seem small on a larger scale but can make a HUGE difference if all fashion brands had the same motives and determination to cut waste. We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our negative impact on the environment  We proudly deliver all online orders in a biodegradable mailing bag and all orders are paper and plastic free. 

We hope this has provided some insight into our commitment towards reducing plastic waste. We would love to hear your thoughts so please comment below or send us a DM letting us know how you do your bit to reduce plastic pollution.

References

Europarl.europa.eu. (2018). Plastic waste and recycling in the EU: facts and figures | News | European Parliament. [online] Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20181212STO21610/plastic-waste-and-recycling-in-the-eu-facts-and-figures [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

WWF. (2018). Budget 2018: Urgency needed to tackle the plastic crisis. [online] Available at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/budget-2018-urgency-needed-tackle-plastic-crisis [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

Upton, L. (2017). New report reveals fashion industry puts equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles into the ocean every year.. [online] Bio Market Insights. Available at: https://biomarketinsights.com/new-report-reveals-fashion-industry-puts-equivalent-of-50-billion-plastic-bottles-into-the-ocean-every-year/ [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

 

Written by Ravannah Liddar




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