We’ve exceeded the allowed consumption of natural resources available for us in 2019. And this day occurs sooner every year. In 2018 Earth Overshoot Day took place on August the 1st, while this year it was 3 whole days earlier, on July 29th.
This is the date for when the world had used up its resources, but many countries have their Overshoot Day sooner.
With the rate at which we are using our resources now, we would need 1,75 earths.
If everyone lives as the Americans, we would need 5 earths.
If we all lives as Australians or Swedes, we’d need 4 earths.
By using up our natural resources before they have time to regenerate, we are stealing resources from ourselves, and even more of the children who will grow up in a world where growing food is hard, where fresh drinking water is scarce and where biodiversity is at an alarming low.
There is a campaign called #MoveTheDate started by Global Footprint Network, where we can all give tips or show how we work to Move The Date forward.
What can be done to lower our impact as a whole?
If we would cut CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning in half, Earth Overshoot Day would occur 93 days later.
If we reduced global meat consumption by 50% and replaced these calories through a vegetarian diet, we would move Overshoot Day 15 days
If every other family in the world had one less child, we would move Overshoot Day 30 days by 2050.
If we reduce our Footprint from driving by 50% around the world and assume one-third of car miles are replaced by public transportation and the rest by biking and walking, Earth Overshoot Day would move back 11.5 days.
To know what you as an individual can do to lower your Footprint, it’s best to take one or a few tests to see in which areas there’s room for improvement. You can take a test to calculate your footprint here:
2. Fly less, or much better – don’t fly at all. At least skip the leisure flight trips
3. Skip animal products. Beef is the worst, but the entire animal agriculture industry is one of the most harmful to our planet in more ways than just carbon emissions.
4. Shop less. We buy way too many things these days, which is made by using resources we now need to be extra careful with. And then the shipping across the world has a toll as well. Only buy what you need, and try to get it second hand.
You can get tips on how to shop less newly produced things here:
5. Where does your money go? Most banks fund industries which most people would never knowingly support. Like the fossil fuel industry as well as weapon industry to name a couple. Look over your savings and try to move them to a bank that invest in a brighter and greener future.
6. Sell your car, if you have one. Is it possible for you to walk, cycle or take public transportation to work/school? Then save money and the planet by selling your car. You will then only drive when absolutely necessary and then you can borrow or rent a car. If you can’t get rid of your car, try to fill it when you use it. Try not to drive alone. Do you have any neighbors going the same way? Any colleagues who live one the way to work you could pick up?
7. Live smaller or with more people. A lot of energy goes into warming and/or cooling your home. The more people per square meter, the better. A bonus is that mental health often improves when living with others.
8. Waste less food. While avoiding plastic packaging might be getting more attention when coming to food when trying to live more sustainably – the food wasted has a way bigger impact than the actual packaging. Here’s a post where you can read on some things you can do with your food waste instead of throwing it away: http://www.earthwanderess.com/stop-food-waste/
9. Switch to green energy
10. Use your technology less. The internet requires an immense amount of energy so use it shorter and use it wisely. The tech industry is not sustainable at all, and you can expect some posts about that in more details during August.
Nowadays clothing has become somewhat disposable. The majority of the clothing produced today are made with poor quality, without longevity in mind and in many cases even planned obsolescence(made to break within a certain time with the intent to create a need for the customers to buy new)
This is a guide of how you can give your clothing a longer life, keeping them looking new for as long as possible.
Do it yourself if you have the skills or if its small and can be done by hand. Or you can look for guider or videos online to see how you can fix something yourself even if you haven’t done it before
Get a professional to do it. Support your local tailors.
Opt for visible repair, partially because you don’t have to worry about the mending looking perfect but it also adds to encourage fixing what’s broken. Let’s make it a trend! #VisibleRepair is a very active hashtag, so you can find a lot of inspiration of what you can do on Pinterest or Instagram.
Remove pilling to make your garments look like new again. Rent, borrow or buy a pilling machine, or try using a razor to see if that works.
Repair as soon as possible, so it doesn’t get worse and therefor harder to fix.
Dye bath when colours are faded instead of buying new
Cover stains instead of throwing away if they won’t go away with any tricks. Another version of Visible Mending. Maybe use iron-on-pads or find other creative ways to cover those stains.
Snip loose strings and threads as soon as you see them (I know it may be tempting to pull in those loose threads, but that can actually make the problem worse. Snip the thread off as soon as you notice it.)
Wash less often (Washing adds wear and tear to your clothes. While necessary when clothes are dirty, unnecessary washing shortens the life of your garments.)
Always check label guidelines to make sure you are following instructions
Liquid laundry detergent wears off the fabric less than a powdered one
Wash with colder water
Skip the fabric softener/conditioner
Hand wash if possible
Use a lower spin cycle
Wash your garments inside out
Air dry (direct sunlight can fade colours) If you have the time, drying in natural sunlight and air is usually best. Dry whites outside and dark colours indoors.
Always wash similar colours to remain the garments colours as long as possible
Use delicates bags for your extra sensitive items, like lace underwear
DAY TO DAY
Hang or fold correctly (try to fold along the seams of the garment)
Airing your clothes can be enough for several uses with natural fibered clothing
Use a steamer instead of an iron – or hang garments in shower room when usingth shower or spray with water, hang up & let wrinkles unfold with the help of gravity
Spot clean small stains instead of washing the whole garment
Invest in good hangers as the thin ones can cause the shoulder parts of your clothing to misshape
Store clothes in a dry space
Fold your knitwear.The weight of jumpers can cause them to lose their shape.
Materials that don’t smell, can me aired out. You can read our guide on materials here:
Whether it’s for financial or environmental reasons, you may consider doing a period of not purchasing any new stuff, or at least new clothes. But how do you keep your love or need for fashion if you don’t shop anymore?
There are actually several different option, so here’s a guide for you, along with some tips of apps and website where you can thrift, swap or even get things for free.
Buying second hand is a great option to get (to you) new clothes considering the situation we’re in where the business models of fashion is to produce an abundance in clothing, using precious resources, land and energy.
It’s a lot better to use what we already have than to use new resources.
As second hand shopping is become more popular, I’m hoping that people will shop their clothes with the second hand value in mind. Quality will keep its value for a long time, while cheap and poor quality fast fashion items will have little to no value after a short time of being used.
In a world where we every day get marketing in our faces of what is trendy and not, avoiding trends and looking to thrift stores makes it easier to find your own personal style.
The downside to shopping second hand online is that you can’t try things on before buying it. But there are many pros about thrifting online, like being able to search for specific items and sizes, saving time and for many people – stress, and of course not everyone have many second hand shops near them. In some website or apps you can even set to get a reminder if a specific item comes up for sale.
But please do keep in mind the shipping when purchasing online. While thrifting is a sustainable way to buy clothing, if you have them shipped from far away the carbon footprint of the transportation could become quite large. So try to buy second hand as locally as possible.
I know it can take some time and getting used to the idea of buying pre-used clothes. Personally I used to get very stressed by being in thrift shops as they were often disorganised and very busy. When I was younger I used to think it was unhygienic.But can we just take a moment to address that a lot of the people who think it’s not fresh to buy used clothes seem to have no issues staying in hotels, sleeping in sheets slept in by hundreds of people before them, or eating at restaurants with glasses and cutlery also been used by hundreds, if not thousands of people. Clothes can be washed too, right!?
Here are some links to where you can thrift online. These are just a few options, there are so many more and as thrifting is becoming more popular, even more are popping up. Use your computer or phone to find options near you, both for physical and online stores.
There’s a separate list for swedish apps and websites, as we have a majority of Swedish readers at the moment.
Have some clothes in your wardrobe that you’re not using? Perhaps they don’t fit anymore, your style has changed or you’ve grown tired of it. Well, most people do and just imagine what treasures are out there not being used and appreciated.
Want new stuff but don’t want to spend money?
Let me walk you through the concept of a clothing swap.
Either organised by a company, organisation or simply between friends – people bring clothes they no longer enjoy or can use and then you can swap with each other.
A strategy used by Stories behind things of which I’ve been to a clothing swap event, you leave your things and get tokens for them. Depending on what kind of item, quality and brand you get different amount of tokens. This way there will be no loss in bringing quality items, as you could get either another high quality item or several more simple items. As long as they’re whole and in good condition you can leave them for tokens.
The items then have a “price” of x tokens, depending on the qualities mentioned above.
Do some online searching to see if there are any clothing swap events or organisers near you, or you can check out an app called Bunz which works in a similar way. It’s based on users actually using it, so in some places there’s no one who’s gotten started yet but if you start by putting your things in and then encourage others in your area to join too, you can swap that way.
Or why not create an event with some friend who have similar sizes and do it less formal over dinner or coffee.
Another way to get things for free is to simply ask your friends and family if they have anything they’re not using and ask if you can look through it and pick some stuff, either to keep or simply to borrow from them.
There’s actually people giving things away for free somtimes. Check to see if there’s a local facebook group of people giving things they no longer want for free, or on market place in your area as some people put things up there too.
Especially after the hit series Marie Kondo where she shows how to declutter and get rid of stuff, more people than ever are getting rid of their belongings so get more space (physically and mentally) in their home.
“Sharing economy is a term for a way of distributing goods and services, a way that differs from the traditional model of corporations hiring employees and selling products to consumers. In the sharing economy, individuals are said to rent or “share” things like their cars, homes and personal time to other individuals in a peer-to-peer fashion.” – Wikipedia
As our resources and the use of them are becoming more crucial, the idea of a shared economy where co-owning an renting rather than everyone owning everything themselves is becoming increasingly popular.
The time for buying an entirely new outfit for a single event became more accessible and popular with the growth of fast fashion brands offering the latest fashion for an unreasonably low price needs to end. You can read more about what fast fashion is here and why it is so important that that business model changes.
If you ever need to wear something once for a specific event, like a job interview or a wedding, or if you just really like to dress in different items often, clothing rental is just the thing for you.
Clothing rental is no longer just about renting tuxedos or fancy maid of honour dresses. It is becoming more common with rental companies offering more day to day clothing, an instead of just for one specific event, to subscribe and use the rental as more of a clothing library where you can borrow new items every month.
Perhaps you find something you really like and want to invest in, but want to try it out in person before making the commitment to buy an item that is rather expensive (as the quality and working conditions most likely are much better than the fast fashion options most people wear these days)
Here are some options to clothing rental companies in the UK, US, Australia and Sweden. But there are many more options out there so search online to find what options there are near you. Remember that it is not sustainable to keep shipping clothes for swaping or thrifting across the world, so try to find an option as locally as possible.
Do you too have a pile of clothing that you love but need some kind of repairing or alterations?
If the mending it beyond your personal skills, you can either ask someone you know who does, or you can support your local tailors.
The same goes for altering clothing. Maybe you have some items you love but they need to be shortened, sewn in or in other ways be modified. Try doing it yourself or as mentioned above – take it to a tailor to make it fit you as perfect as possible with the help of a professional.
Have a stain you can’t get rid of? Hide it with a pin, pad or do something called visible mending – an upcoming trend to make the mending of your clothes obvious but do it in a creative way. For inspiration see the hashtag on Instagram or Pinterest.
In Sweden, there’s a repair company called Repamera where you can send your clothes for mending that requires the skills of a professional, they fix it and send it back to you. There might be a similar option in your town or country, so that could be worth checking out if you don’t have a physical tailor close to where you live.
REMAKE or UPCYCLE – alter clothes or fabrics to new items. There are also plenty of brands and people creating new clothes from fabric scraps or other unused old fabrics. Search online to find what options there are near you!
Here’s a pyrmaid to keep in mind when wanting or needing something
When it comes to buying clothing, the material can matter even though it’s second hand and after reading this blog post you will understand why and have some tools as to what to think about when you buy new clothes – thrifted or new.
There are two types of textile fibers. Natural and synthetic.
The natural fibers comes from nature, like cotton and flax or from animals, like silk and wool.
Synthetic fibers are, well, made from synthetic fibers.
There’s also something that is often referred to as semi-synthetic which are made from natural materials like cellulosa from trees but the fibers are made artificially.
The most common synthetic fibers are made from fossil fuels, the most common material is known as polyester.
Acrylic is artificially made by petroleum and is a kind of plastic. In the making of acrylic, it takes a lot of toxic chemicals and needs a lot of resources which makes this kind of synthetic fibers one of the worst in terms of environment.
The fabric is very sensitive to heat and often gets pills, those tiny little balls appearing on the surface of the fabric.
As with all synthetic fibers, they release tiny microplastics when they are washed which are entering the water systems, out into the ocean creating a lot of health issues for animals an humans alike. You can read more about how to handle synthetic fibers to minimise the release of microplastics into our waters here:
This material is super stretchy and is very often mixed in with other fibers to make the clothing more elastic, both natural and other synthetic materials.
Helps to keep the shape of clothing
Great to give a snug fit
Perfect for swimwear and tight athletic wear
Loses stretchiness and quality over time(with good quality it can stay elastic for very long though)
Highly polluting and uses toxic chemicals
NYLON / POLYAMIDE:
The only difference is that nylon a name by a company and the fiber is polyamid.
Polyamid is a strong and elastic material that doesn’t wrinkle.
Strong and durable
Weather resistant, makes for great windbreaker or rain jacket
Toxic chemicals are used
This is not only the most common synthetic fiber, but nowadays the most common fibre in clothing overall. Especially used in Fast Fashion, as it is such a cheap and versatile material. You can read more about Fast Fashion here:
The most common material for clothing and while this is a natural fibre and can be grown organically without pesticides the cotton plant need a colossal amount of water to grow.
Properties: It takes up moisture easily which makes it good as towels or sheets but makes it not so good for workout clothing or swimwear as it soaks up the water and becomes very heavy. It also wrinkles easily.
Good moisture absorption
Needs a lot of water to grow
Tendency to shrink
The biggest need for pesticides
If organic it need even more water and land to grow
Loses a lot of its quality when recycled
Hemp comes from the plant Cannabis Sativa and it might be the most sustainable and environmentally friendly option for textile and had been around for 10.000 years although it is not as common anymore due to law regulations of growing the plants.
Growing it is easy as it doesn’t need that much nutrition in the soil, and there’s no need for pesticides either. It can even be good for the land to grow the material as it binds the soil with its long roots, helping to prevent soil erosion. It’s also a nature fiber that is completely biodegradable and requires very little chemicals to create the fabric. The material is stronger than cotton and resembles linen is aesthetics.
So why is hemp such an unusual material in clothing, you might ask.
It wasn’t always like that. Linen and hemp were the most common materials in clothing way back and there are many theories in why hemp has been criminalised to grow in many parts of the world.
3x stronger than cotton
Can be grown without fertilizer or pesticides
Doesn’t need that much water to grow
It binds the soil with its long roots, helping to prevent soil erosion
Completely natural and easy to recycle
Softens more over time
Can sometimes be rough
Hard to find as it is illegal to grow in many parts of the world
The fabric linen is made from flax and comes from the stem of the flower of the plant. It’s a pretty stiff fabric and looks similar to the fabric made from hemp.
It’s not necessary to use pesticides when growing flax as it can grow in quite cold climates, where the risk of vermin is much smaller.
The process of making the linen is a time consuming process which can often bring up the price of it.
From an environmental point of view I’d call linen the second best material after hemp.
Perfect for hot weather and keeps you 3-4 degrees cooler than cotton
Very strong & durable. 2x as strong as cotton
Can be grown without fertilizer or pesticides
Doesn’t need that much water to grow
Completely natural, biodegradable and easy to recycle
Wrinkles very easily
Often needs special and delicate care
Sometimes is dyed with toxic chemicals
When speaking of wool it is from the sheep, other wools normally go under other names, like Angora from the Angora Rabbit or Cashmere from the goats originating from the area Kashmir in India. They all have similar properties though, and here they are:
Good for both hot & cold climates
Dirt & dust resistant
Can be itchy
Often requires special care
Sometimes Mulesing* is used which is highly unethical
Many sheeps have been over bred, causing them pain and suffering
Mulesing is where they cut of, not just the wool but the whole skin around the anal anal an tail area of the sheep. As you can understand, this is considered highly unethical.
This is a technique used mainly in Australia and New Zealand to prevent a parasitic infection by fly larvae especially common among the merino sheep. As they have bred the merino sheep so hard to grow more wool, giving them wrinkly skin which can not only make some sheep collapse or die from heat exhaustion during hot summer months, but urine and moisture gets caught in the heavy wool and wrinkles which attracts the flies who lay their eggs in their skin. When the fly larvae has hatched it starts eating the skin on the sheep and that’s how the infection happens.
Luckily, New Zealand recently (October 1st, 2018) passed a new law to ban Mulesing. Now let’s hope Australia follows, as they are the biggest producer of wool in the world.
This is a type of wool from the animal called Alpaca, who originates from the Andes in South America. It’s a very soft kind of wool and is in many cases better for those with allergies as it, unlike sheep wool doesn’t contain wool grease. It has a very small environmental impact.
The angora wool comes from the angora rabbits. It is an incredibly soft wool but even though it is possible to cut the hair off of the rabbits, there’s far too many cases where it is pulled off of the animals, causing them immense pain and suffering.
This material comes from goats living in Asia, originating in the indian region Kashmir. While the fabric is made from the shedded wool after the winter season, the goats themselves are not very good for the environment for the fact that they tear up the roots from the grass they eat, which eliminates the protection from soil erosion and water washing away the nutrients in the soil, turning the land into desert like landscapes.
Cashmere is a very soft material and if often quite pricey.
Silk is made from the cocoon of silkworms. The most common kind is called Mulberry Silkworm. The textile was invented in China as long as 8.500 years ago.
Good for both hot & cold climates
Is biodegradable and can be recycled
Often boil the worms alive
Viscose is made from cellulose from wood pulp. And while this material is natural, the process of making it into fibers involves a lot of toxic chemicals, therefore it is in its own subcategory of being a semi-synthetic fibre.
There are different kinds of viscose, depending on the process or what material the cellulose is derived from. The most common material is wood pulp from the fir tree from the Pine family, when beechwood is used it is called Modal.
Not very durable and easily lose its shape
Can cause deforestation
Toxic chemicals used
Bamboo has a great reputation in the sustainability market, as it grows extremely fast and doesn’t need pesticides to grow.
However the process of making the bamboo into fibers for textile requires a large amount of chemicals, many of them extremely toxic. Like carbon disulfide which is known to cause birth defects and difficulties procreating. It’s said to get 1 kg of bamboo viscose, it takes about 5,5 kg of chemicals.
Breathable and absorbent
Plant grows very fast
Doesn’t require a lot of water or pesticides
Requires a lot of toxic chemicals to make fibers
The difference from viscose is that Lyocell and Tencel are made in a closed loop system, so the chemicals are recycled. Tencel is like Lyocell but is an Austrian trademark and with this you can be sure the wood used is FSC certified.
Responsible of their toxic chemical use
Strong and machine washable
Can lead to deforestation (unless it’s Tencel or specifically marked with FSC)
This is a semi synthetic fibre, as it is an artificially made fiber made from natural materials coming from the cotton wate. The process is much like the making of the semi synthetic material viscose which you can read more about further down.
Har du bestämt dig för att skippa flyget ett tag och funderar på vad du då ska göra på semestern? Ett alternativ är att ta tåget ner till kontinenten. Ett annat är att hemestra och utforska allt fantastiskt som ligger lite mer nära. Här kommer mina bästa flyg- och bilfria semestertips som kan funka både med och utan barn.
En etapp på en vandringsled blir till en hel veckas vandring med barn. Vi delade upp sträckan Simrishamn-Kivik på 3 stopp med ungefär 5 km vandring per dag. Vi sov första natten i Simrishamn, andra natten på vandrarhem i Baskemölla, tredje natten på ett golfställe i Lilla Vik i Vik och därefter två nätter nära Stenshuvud och slutligen en natt i Kivik. Därifrån tog vi bussen till Rörum för ett besök på Mandelmanns. Naturen är magisk och varierad och leden sträcker sig längs med kusten nästan hela tiden. Det är svårt att hitta boende under högsäsong. Vi gjorde denna vandring första veckan i september.
Cykla Bornholm runt
Ta tåget till Malmö. Från Malmö tar du Pågatåget till Ystad där du hoppar på färjan till Bornholm som tar 80 minuter. Cykel kan du hämta ut i Rönne, som helst förbokas under högsäsong. Det är för det mesta separat cykelväg runt ön som är105 km lång, men viss sträckning går på trafikerad 70-väg. Kan därför vara bra att hyra barncykel som fästs på vuxencykeln om det finns yngre barn i sällskapet. Finns gott om campingplatser runt hela ön. Vi övernattade i Dueodde (camping), Svaneke (camping), Gudhjem (hotell), Hammershus (camping) och Rönne (camping). Hett tips – stanna till på Michelin-restaurangen Kadeau på vägen till Dueodde. Amaazing!
Läs mer: https://bornholm.info/en/bicycle-holiday/ https://www.visitdenmark.se/danmark/resmal/bornholm https://www.svd.se/bornholm-runt-pa-hjul
Ta nattåg till Duved och därifrån buss till Storulvåns Fjällstation. Ta med eget tält för större flexibilitet och lägre kostnad eller välj lyxvarianten med övernattning på de tre olika fjällstationerna längs med leden. Fördelen är att det inte krävs någon större packning. Lunch kan köpas med från varje fjällstation och mindre matbutiker finns på varje station.
Läs mer: https://www.svenskaturistforeningen.se/guider-tips/leder/jamtlandstriangeln/
Glamping och paddling
På ön Fejan i Stockholms ytterskärgård kan en hyra kajak samt sova och äta kungligt på Fejan Outdoor. Hit tar du dig med SL-buss från Stockholm till Räfsnäs Brygga, där det är passbåt som gäller.
Paddla utanför Gräsö
Utanför Gräsö är det ett paradis för paddling. Ytterskärgård med många grund vilket innebär väldigt lite båttrafik. Massor av öar att välja på för tältövernattning. Vatten och mat behöver tas med för alla dagar. Kajak hyrs på Rävsten. Ta buss 811 från Uppsala och byt till buss 853 i Öregrund. Hoppa av vid Äspskärets hållplats/brygga, där du får boka båt sista biten via kajakuthyraren.
Helena Wildros är miljövetare och hjälper företag att utveckla och kommunicera sitt miljö- och hållbarhetsarbete i sitt egna företag Wildros Miljö och Kommunikation . Hon driver även Helenas Hållbara som vill inspirera till en mer hållbar livsstil genom en webbshop med ekologiska, klimatsmarta och hållbara produkter för både privatpersoner och företag, samt föreläser om hållbar livsstil. Här delar Helena med sig av sina erfarenhet och tankar kring ett hållbart liv.
Det är många som vill göra något för klimatet, men vet inte hur eller vad. Vad ska man börja med, vad gör mest nytta, vad ska jag fokusera på? Och är det ens någon idé att försöka, är det inte redan kört? Nej, enligt många forskare – inte minst vår svenska miljöprofessor Johan Rockström – är det inte kört. Han menar att ”fönstret fortfarande öppet”, även om det håller på att stängas mitt framför ögonen på oss. Det är hög tid att agera nu!
Som privatperson kan det vara lätt att tänka att det är politikerna och näringslivet som ska lösa klimatproblemen, att det är de som har makten att verkligen förändra. Till viss del är såklart lagstiftning och ekonomiska styrmedel kraftfulla verktyg, men vi har alla ett ansvar att göra medvetna val, aktivt välja (eller välja bort) och på så sätt tydligt signalera att vi vill göra skillnad.
Många undrar om det är bättre att bli vegetarian eller att skippa flygresorna – vad har störst effekt för klimatet? Varför välja, tänker jag. Vi behöver göra både och, inte antingen eller. Det finns många kloka ordspråk, även om de kan kännas som klyschor. ”Många bäckar små”, till exempel. Det blir faktiskt tillsammans en hel å – en å av enskilda handlingar som gemensamt gör skillnad och bidrar till förändring. Citatet ”It’s only one straw, said 8 billion people” har du kanske sett apropå användningen av plastsugrör. Det faktum att det varje dag i världen används ungefär 1 miljard plastsugrör gör att tanken svindlar när man tänker på vad som krävts för att tillverka och transportera alla dessa sugrör. Dessutom hamnar många av dem i naturen – inte minst i våra hav, där forskare befarar att det år 2050 kommer att finnas mer plast än fisk. Desto mer hoppfullt att allt fler företag och länder förbjuder engångsmaterial i plast, exempelvis sugrör. Som konsumenter kan vi markera och låta bli att ta ett sugrör i onödan. Tillsammans gör vi skillnad genom att aktivt välja – eller välja bort!
”Ingen kan göra allt, men alla kan göra något” är också en klassiker som passar bra i detta sammanhang, tycker jag. Att tänka att man ensam ska försöka rädda världen kan kännas övermäktigt, men om vi hjälps åt och gör det vi kan utifrån våra egna förutsättningar så blir det både görbart och märkbart. Att byta till förnybar, miljömärkt el till sitt hushåll eller företag, till exempel. Att välja tåg, buss eller cykel i första hand och inte flyga eller köra bil i onödan. Köpa ekologiskt, rättvisemärkt eller närodlat när man handlar mat. Äta mer vegetabiliskt och säsongsbaserat, samt minska mängden kött och välja ekologiskt och mer klimatsmart kött. Låta bli att slänga mat (visste du att ungefär en tredjedel av all mat som produceras i världen kastas?) genom att planera sina inköp, förvara maten rätt och använda matrester. Undvika onödiga förpackningar (en kvinna jag vet brukar lämna kvar till exempel kartongen till tandkrämstuben i kassan när hon handlar som en liten vardagsdemonstration!). Handla kläder och prylar second hand (sparar dessutom massor av pengar!). Byta eller låna saker av vänner och grannar (vi delar på en proffsig skärmaskin och ett rökskåp med vår matlagningsintresserade granne!). Källsortera sitt avfall, såklart. Och en massa annat klimatsmart, som du säkert redan vet om!
Utsläppen av växthusgaser från svenskarnas konsumtion är cirka 11 ton per person och år. En hållbar nivå ligger på mellan 1-2 ton. Mycket av utsläppen från vår konsumtion uppstår dessutom i andra länder eftersom vi importerar så mycket. Förutom att minska vår konsumtion och bli mer medvetna konsumenter är en självklar konsekvens att vi måste väga upp för våra utsläpp även på andra ställen i världen. Då är klimatkompensation ett bra sätt, där vi får möjlighet att bidra till en bättre miljö och minskade utsläpp även långt borta. Att kompensera för utsläpp kan göras på många sätt, till exempel genom att plantera träd som binder koldioxid (och både skuggar och binder jorden så att det blir lättare att odla) eller genom att uppmuntra teknik som ger både energi och rent vatten med hjälp av till exempel solenergi.
Så, varför välja bara en klimatsmart sak för att bidra till en bättre värld. Tänk inte antingen eller – tänk både och. Tillsammans gör vi skillnad! Det sägs ju att vi är den sista generationen som har möjligheten att vända utvecklingen – låt oss ta den chansen och samtidigt ta vårt ansvar. Det är vi skyldiga våra barn och barnbarn.
In the Fashion Material Guide I go through the difference between Natural Fibers and Synthetic Fibers as well as a short description of the materials with their properties along with pros, cons and challenges.
This is a more in depth guide on synthetic fibers. Why it’s so popular, what the issues are and how to tackle these issues.
So first, let’s take a quick recap of what synthetic fiber is.
Synthetic fibers are completely artifial, made by humankind which allows the properties of the fabrics much easier to design. It is made from petroleum – fossil fuels. It’s a kind of plastic.
WHY IS SYNTHETIC FIBERS SO POPULAR?
Artificial fibers are more durable and because it is completely fabricated by humans, it’s easier to design different properties like water resistance, stain resistance, dyeing in specific colours is easy and you can also make it elastic or wrinkle free.
One of the reasons it is so durable and last longer than natural fibers is because it’s plastic – which most of us now know isn’t biodegradable and takes centuries to break down.
It has become very popular amongst retailers and customers alike, for the fact that the petroleum and the process of making the fibers and textiles is very cheap compared to natural fibers.
WHY IS SYNTHETIC FIBERS BAD?
First of all, it’s made from fossil fuels. And since we’re in the midst of a climate emergency, we need to keep it in the ground.
But let’s look at some other negatives about synthetic fibers.
It’s very heat sensitive and can be damaged, melt or burn
It’s not good for the skin, many people getting allergic reactions to it
A lot of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are used during the production and can cause health problems for those working with it and there’s also a risk of it being leaked into nature and water streams
It can get very uncomfortable and can make you both sweaty and freeze as the material doesn’t breathe or catch air pockets like cotton
Since it doesn’t breathe, you sweat more easily and the smell stays in the fabric and can’t be aired out like natural fibers, which leads to you having to wash it more often (although lately new syntethic fibers have been designed specifically for this, which is why synthetic fibers now can be perfect for athletic wear)
They are one of the main sources to micro plastic pollution in our oceans and water systems. Which leads us to the next part of this post. How to minimise the release of micro fibers
HOW TO WASH SYNTHETIC CLOTHES WITHOUT RELEASING MICRO PLASTIC FIBERS
While this might not be 100% effective, it sure does make a big difference. Especially if a lot of people start applying these tips to their laundry routine.
Use liquid laundry soap as the powdered version “rubs” against the fabrics which releases more micro fibers.
Put a new filter on your washing machine, that is made to catch micro fibers and throw the lint in the trash and do not wash it down the drain.
Put your synthetic fibered clothes in a bag that catches some of the micro fibers. Guppy Friend is one brand that had those.
Cora Ball is a rubber ball that catched some of the plastic fibers so you can put that in the wash with your clothes.
Fabric conditioner increases the release of microplastic fibers. It’s not even necessary and breaks down the elasticity of the fabrics as well as often containing toxic chemicals. Skip the conditioner or use some vinegar instead. You will get used to not having your textiles smelling strongly from chemical fragrance. Your skin will also thank you.
Wash less often. If you get a stain, treat the stain only and don’t wash the whole garment.
Wait until you have a full load to laundry before you wash, as it minimise the friction and thus release less fibers.
Wash in colder water. While it’s also good to not use the warmer settings to save energy, it’s also better for synthetic clothes as the heat can damage the fabric which then release more fibers.
Share this information with everyone you know. The more people aware of the issue and who implements these tips, the less microplastics in our water systems.
Reduce the rotation speed. The faster the spin cycle, the more friction and the more fibers released.
NAMES OF SYNTHETIC FIBERS
RECYCLED PLASTIC CLOTHING
There are more and more brands making clothing out of recycled plastic, such as PET bottels or ghost fishing nets.
But even this has positives and negatives.
Recycled polyester still realeases micro plastics which is very harmful not just for the marine life but for humans, too. If you watched the little video above in this post, you’ll know why.
There are even incidents of brands marketing with having their products being made from PET bottles, forgetting to mention that those were new and unused bottles. A clear case of Green Washing.
But I do have to say some companies are using this as an opportunity to clean the oceans from it’s plastic waste and making products with it, funding the cleanup and making more people move away from buying newly produced synthetic fiber clothing.
One of the companies rescuing plastic waste, making it into clothing or products is Econyl.
Did you know that about 50% of all plastic in the ocean comes from the fishing industry? So the best way to stop the plastic waste in our oceans is to not eat fish.
Have you ever heard the term Fast Fashion or Slow Fashion?
Do you know what it means?
Not everyone might be aware of what Fast Fashion is, or on what scale it is destroying the planet with its pollution and massive use of new resources. So let’s take it step-by-step.
This is the first of a series of blog posts here about Fast Fashion and how to move away from it towards more sustainable and ethical options.
In this post I will go through what Fast Fashion is and how bad it is
Then I will make posts where I dig deeper into the different alternatives as well as bringing up some of the challenges of Slow Fashion.
So let us begin.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast Fashion is a term used to describe how low cost brands quickly produce clothes inspired by new trends and put them in stores for customers to access for a low cost.
To keep customers coming back and spending more money, there are two main factors.
They create new products and trends every week now compared to the 2 seasons SS/AW that used to be the standard.
The quality of the clothes are often very low quality, making them break or look bad after a few washes. Since the prices are so low, it is also cheaper to buy new clothes than to fix the low quality ones you already have. Which is why Fast Fashion is also sometimes referred to as ‘Disposable Fashion’.
So another aspect of Fast Fashion is that the clothes not only moves fast from runway to the possession of consumers, but also to landfill.
Why is Fast Fashion bad for the environment?
The environmental impact, as with all things produced starts at the source of the resources and materials to the afterlife when the piece is going to landfill.
From growing cotton that needs an immense amount of water and the pesticides used to keep bugs away from the plants, to the harmful chemicals needed to turn bamboo into fabric, to the poisonous dyeing techniques to the millions of barrels of oil that are used to make polyester each year as well as releasing microplastics into the water when washed.
“The apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil. Fast fashion items are often worn less than 5 times, kept for roughly 35 days, and produce over 400 percent more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year.”
Some fast facts:
A pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car aprox. 130km.
It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, enough to meet the average person’s drinking needs for two-and-a-half years.
Textiles account for 34,8% of global microplastic pollution.
A garment is worn just 4 times on average.
20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treating and dyeing of textiles.
It’s estimated that we make 400 billion mᒾ of textiles annually. 60 billion mᒾ is cutting room floor waste.
Less than 1% of collected clothing is truly recycled into fresh textiles.
Clothing consumption produces 1,5 tonnes CO₂ x household x year.
Ethical aspect of fast fashion
There are 75 million people working to make our clothes, 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.
The majority of these people live in poverty, being paid less than a living wage while also often exposed to verbal and physical abuse and working in unsafe conditions.
In Bangladesh which is one of the most common places for garment factories for Fast Fashion brands, a living wage is around $340/month but the average clothes maker makes only $68 per month. A fifth of an income needed to provide a decent standard of living and for a full-time worker to have enough money to live above the federal poverty level.
Not to be confused with minimum wage. This setup often puts the workers in a poverty trap from which is basically impossible to get out of.
And let us not forget the health risks for those working in the fields with toxic pesticides or with carcinogenic dyes or treatments like for example chromium which can cause lung cancer, stomach ulcers and anaemia.
The lands around the factories also get poisoned and those who are affected by that are often those who work there. The Daily Mail revealed tanneries in Dhaka dumping 22,000 litres of toxic waste into the Buriganga – every day.
Deaths in the fast fashion industry is unfortunately not a rare occasion.
Rana Plaza Collapse
On 24 April 2013, the garment factory Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster and the deadliest garment-factory incident in history.
There were 5 garment factories in the building all manufacturing clothing for 31 big global brands.
The majority of these multibillion dollar companies were extremely resilient to together donate a total of $30 million for the victim’s families. An amount that took 2 years to reach. Comparing that to the €300 million pledge for the rebuilding of Notre Dame by two fashion billionaires within a day of the fire makes one ashamed of humanity.
Some of the clothings brands that are still to have donated any money to the ones who suffered from the disaster are Carrefour(French), NKD(German), J.C. Penny(American) and PWT(Danish).
So how do we stop this?
First of all, we stop funding the companies doing this. We need to stop buying products by the brands responsible for this inhumane model of business.
I know this might seem bleak and seem hopeless, but there are more than plenty option to how we can solve this.
Some of the topics I will dig deeper into in this series is:
Mending and repairing
This and much more to come the following weeks.
If you want to learn more while you wait for the next posts, I recommend you to watch the eye-opening documentary The True Cost. It’s available on Netflix or to download on their website TrueCostMovie.com
We have now offset another 20,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project!
By distributing cookstove technology to communities in Rwanda, this project benefits the environment by significantly reducing CO2 intense fuel consumption. Health conditions inside homes are improved due to the presence of less indoor smoke, and families can spend less time collecting wood fuel and more time with their families.
Biomass, principally firewood and charcoal, holds huge importance in Rwanda, accounting for a significant proportion of energy consumption. Biomass is often the predominant source of energy for cooking and water boiling, especially in rural areas. Cooking is generally carried out on thermally inefficient traditional devices and produces large amounts of smoke and indoor air pollution.
The replacement fuel-efficient stove will lead to a significant reduction in the annual usage of biomass for users. The improved stove has been designed to balance efficiency, safety, cost, stability and strength with a focus on using locally available materials.
By reducing the consumption of non-renewable wood and providing cookstoves with fuel savings, this project reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. A decrease of deforestation has a positive impact on biodiversity. Households save money by having less fuel requirements for cooking the same amount of food and health is improved through the reduction of indoor air pollutants from cleaner cookstoves. The project also generates employment and income for people via the distribution and maintenance of the stoves, as well as training and employing community education staff.
Beräkningarna är kompatibla med GHG-protokollet för många mindre tjänsteföretag. Vårt mål har dock inte varit att göra en fullständig scope 3-analys av mer komplexa företag, utan istället göra något som är enkelt för många mindre bolag att göra för att få koll på sina klimatutsläpp.