It’s surprising to hear that on an annual basis, we produce 2.12 billion tonnes of waste. Although authoritative bodies around the world have introduced schemes and initiatives to encourage recycling — most of our waste continues to end up in landfills; which is leading to severe consequences for the environment. This figure is also expected to grow to 4 billion by 2100.
With landfills becoming more populated and rubbish buried underground, sometimes waste can be disposed of illegally in the sea. According to some studies, 1.4 billion pounds of rubbish ends up in our waters each year which is having a profound impact on marine life — so much so, scientists have estimated that the amount of plastic will outweigh the fish by 2050.
These high levels of waste is due to the fact that we dispose of 99% of the items we buy within six months. Because of this, more businesses around the world are looking at more sustainable ways to create their products in a bid to help better the world that we live in.
UK: Lush Cosmetics: Naked Products
If you live in the UK, you will be familiar with Lush Cosmetics and aware of how it is incredibly environmentally friendly. So much so they claim to be 100% vegetarian, promote ethical buying, fight animal testing, craft their products by hand and offer naked packaging products which is helping reduce the chaotic packaging crisis Britain is now facing.
Research has found that one person will use 200 pounds of plastic in a year. This has highlighted a huge problem and put great responsibility upon businesses internationally and through innovative design, Lush Cosmetics were able to develop several products that didn’t require packaging to sell.
There’s so much to choose from at Lush too, from ‘naked’ shower gels to shampoos. As well as this, all of plastic used by Lush is 100% recycled.
Sweden: Fjällräven: Re-Kånken and Eco-Shell
Originating from a small town in Sweden, the company focuses on outdoor clothing and equipment and is committed to making nature more accessible for adventurers alike while having a focus on the simplicity of their products. Among recent years, Fjällräven has even captured the attention of British consumers.
The backpack has incredible features to make it more back-friendly and is simple in design, but the production of the bag is often complex. To play their part in helping the environment, they released the Re-Kånken bag which is made entirely from polyester recycled from plastic bottles. As well as this, it is dyed with SpinDye technology which ‘radically reduces’ the amount of water, energy and chemicals used.
Aside from the bag, the Eco-Shell coat is another addition from the company and refrains from using materials that harm the planet. Eco-Shell is also made from recycled polyester and unlike many other products on the market,perflourinated chemicals are not involved in the creation.
The Netherlands: Wasteboards: Skateboards
Putting a spin on the traditional skateboard, Wasteboards use bottle top lids to create the skating platform.Research has suggested that there are 20,000 plastic bottles are being bought every second, this forward-thinking company collect plastic bottle tops to create the deck of the board.
To create the skateboard itself, the local people are encouraged to collect the desired waste from public places. As well as this, fishermen who use the canals in Amsterdam are also asked to collect as much as they can.
Because of its signature style, young people are enticed to buy the product with the knowledge that they’ll also be helping the planet. This company loves the idea of being sustainable and being able to sell a sustainable product, so even if your wasteboard breaks — they’ll recycle the broken plastic and create you a new one!
UK: Traidcraft Shop: Recycled Tableware
Handmade Christmas decorations suppliers, Traidcraft, sell beautiful glassware from Ngwenya Glass. Originally set up as a Swedish Aid Project, Ngwenya Glass now trains over 60 people in the art of glassblowing to create one-of-a-kind pieces of ethical homeware.
The company has a real sustainability commitment. too All products are handcrafted from 100% recycled glass, sourced from throughout eSwatini by local people. Ngwenya Glass encourages communities to come together for clean-up days along main roads in the area to gather discarded glass. Most of the glass used to be soft drink bottles!
To give back to the community, Ngwenya Glass pay people who collect waste for them by the kilo. The business also works with local schools to educate young people in the importance of environmentalism and recycling, and supports schools with building materials and learning resources.
There’s a lot more businesses turning to more sustainable methods of production too. This just proves that the ability to be creative and think outside of the box can truly have admirable benefits that help both people in the planet — could you become more ethically focused?