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Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a challenge to make everyone aware of their plastic usage and to challenge people for one month to stop their single-use plastic usage and improve recycling. Because July is now coming to an end, we’re looking back at the struggles that the Earth faces because of our plastic use and focus on the ways to reduce and reuse plastics in our fashion choices.
Sidenote: being aware of your plastic use shouldn’t be a monthly challenge, but an overall conscious lifestyle.

Plastic is everywhere because it’s incredibly durable and workable. The problem with it, however, is that it’s made to last forever, nature cannot break it down, it just breaks down into smaller pieces, each time a little bit smaller, but it doesn't disappear. It ends up in groundwater which pollutes drinking water and thus ends up in our bodies. This vicious circle is not easy to break because it is ingrained in our daily lives: our coffee is served in a plastic cup, our shampoo comes in a plastic bottle and so on.
 

Plastic & Fashion, a love affair. 

There is, however, one industry that gets overlooked on a lot when it comes to plastic waste, namely the clothing industry. The clothing industry is now the fifth leading cause of pollution on the planet. Even though some labels are more conscious about the environment and they try to work with organic and recycled materials, such as Adidas. Adidas created Parley, an entire line of sneakers made of recycled plastic from the ocean. Adidas plans to move to "all recycled" materials by 2024.

But brands like Adidas are still exceptions to the rule. Unfortunately, the demand for synthetic fabrics has grown a lot over the past ten years. For example, producing clothing out of polyester is a lot cheaper than making it out of organic cotton. Besides, synthetic fabric is easier to manipulate for manufacturing, this way the producer is not dependent on the quality of the supplier. With petroleum-based fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon being the most popular fabrics for the consumers.

Trendy yes, but at what price?

Nowadays, people tend to go to fast-fashion. Instead of investing in durable quality clothing. Two-thirds of these items end up in the garbage, instead of being recycled or given to charity. This result in landfills full of clothes where the garments can take hundreds of years to decompose. And that is in the best case of landfilling, as in many cases pieces of clothes end up in our oceans. 

Even though recycling is a great way to give your garments a second life, it does come with a price. When clothing is recycled, they are washed and treated with chemicals for hygiene and workability reasons. This results in microfibers and chemical products ending up in the water, just like single-use plastics. This is dangerous for the sea life and eventually our drinking water as well.

In the light of plastic waste, this year's fashion trend is disturbing.

2018 is the year of plastic fashion, with headlines as "How to wear this season’s plastic fashion trend?" on The Independent and YouTube videos on "How to wear plastic outfits?".

Plastic is trendy along with the lines of the streetwear trend, it doesn't seem expensive and looks shiny. The problem is that the consequences of such a trend are entirely ignored. This trend is not the worst issue in the light of plastic waste, but it is adding on normalizing plastic usage.

thegreenlabels.com helps you make the right choices

There are several ways in which everybody as a consumer, can act right. On one hand, we can avoid using plastic, on the other hand, we can reuse plastic items and clean up the mess that has already been done.

  1. Buy items that use fabrics that aren't harmful to the environment and at the same time say no to single-use plastic such as organic cotton like in our collection of net bags by Turtle Bags. On thegreenlabels.com there is also a large selection of 100% organic cotton styles like the rib tees from Signe available in 3 colors.

    turtle bags rib tee by signe 100% organic cotton


  2. On the other hand, we can try to contribute to closing the loop by shopping through the "waste reduction" value. It may be a good idea to invest in items such as the Lemon Spicy swimwear line made up of a high percentage of recycled materials. Another good idea is to support labels like Cossac that are producing their collection with a zero waste process (use of deadstock fabrics and limited production of items to minimize the waste)

    lemon spicy plastic waste recycled bikini cossac zero waste deadstock fabric


Now it’s up to you to make the right choices!

Conscious shopping has become a lot easier!
Conscious living can be chosen differently for the smallest things: not using a straw or stop buying plastic bags at the supermarket. We want to make you aware that plastic is even in places you don’t expect them to be, the fashion industry for instance. So instead of buying a t-shirt right away, look at the label first and ask yourself if this is a good investment.

 

By being aware of your patterns and acting on them by making conscious choices, you can help reduce your plastic and environmental footprint. 

Blog post by Ruby van Hooijdonk
Source Header Image Vogue Italy