Sustainable students: How easy is it to be more environmentally-friendly?

Helen and Will

Plastics challenge

The students were challenged to reduce their plastic use by 75%, which they found difficult.

“It’s hard when you’re on a student budget, getting anything not wrapped in plastic is so much more expensive,” Amy explained.

Plastics guru Lucy Siegle gave them a helping hand, swapping their countless shower bottles for sustainable versions of shampoo, toothpaste and soap bars.

She also gave them reusable items like coffee cups and cutlery and told them to change their shopping habits.

Image caption Amy Fitzgerald and Jay Maheswaran were tasked with reducing their use of plastics

But Amy said they found supermarkets a particular problem as “everything was wrapped in plastic”.

“And going to the butcher’s was more expensive than getting pre-packaged stuff,” she added.

At the start of the week, Ms Siegle weighed the plastic in the students’ home, which totalled 2.8lb (1.3kg) – a figure she described as “rather a lot”.

With her advice, the students reduced it to 1.5lb.

Image caption Ms Siegle was not pleased with the house’s reliance on clingfilm, and confiscated their roll

“I’m still really pleased with them,” she said. “Especially as when I saw all the bottles they [initially] had in their bathroom, I nearly gave up.”

Ms Siegle said she thought the group had adopted the mindset shift really quickly, experiencing outrage over everything being plastic.

She urged them to be more militant by unwrapping products at the supermarket checkout and leaving the plastic behind to make the point.

“We need to take a stand,” she said.

Fashion challenge

Marcus Rudd, one of the housemates, had hoped that his shopping habits – buying 10 to 15 T-shirts a year, combined with some designer pieces – were environmentally friendly.

Then he learned that it took 3,000 litres of water on average to make only one T-shirt.

The fashion industry – which makes 100 billion garments each year – is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, water pollution, air pollution and the overuse of water.

Image caption Marcus was won over by charity and vintage shops, picking out this striking jacket

It is exacerbated, MPs say, by so-called “fast fashion” – inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers.

Sustainable stylist Alice Wilby taught the students to reuse, repair and recycle, encouraging them to swap fast fashion for second-hand.

She challenged Marcus and his housemate Goby Chan, who regularly buys clothes she does not wear, to make a new outfit from old clothes to model at London Fashion Week.

“We buy so much stuff and half of it sits unworn in the back of the wardrobe,” Ms Wilby said.

“Before we buy anything else it’s great to see what you’ve already got, and fall back in love with your things.”

Image caption Marcus and Goby modelled recycled clothes for a Mother of Pearl show at London Fashion Week

Goby enjoyed the challenge. “I was shocked by what you can do by reusing a garment and making it into something new which is actually really fashionable. I actually love it.”

  • The students modelling recycled clothes
  • Quiz: Are your clothes damaging the environment?
  • The students with a food waste problem

And Ms Wilby said they did well.

“Considering Marcus had never set foot in a second-hand shop before – and thought they were smelly places with clothes you would never want to buy – by the end of the week he was finding pieces he really loved. That was a really great victory.

“These two shop a lot, and over the past month [since the challenge] he has only bought one item.”

Energy challenge

The students took dramatic action to reduce their energy usage – and it worked.

They used much less heating – switching it off at night; wearing jumpers, coats and blankets; and generally keeping the house a little bit cooler.

It made a huge difference to their gas usage – cutting it by a whopping 48%.

They also lowered their electricity usage by 15%. This added up to a 44% carbon saving – around a tonne of carbon in all.

“It was a massive effort – it was freezing in our house,” said Marcus Golby.

Image caption The students were able to drastically cut their home’s energy bills

“[Before] we weren’t communicating when things were going on and going off, so you ended up with the heating on the majority of the time,” explained Amy.

“This month we’re having more of a balance of keeping warm and keeping the heating off when we’re out.”

Dr Rosie Robison, an energy expert from Anglia Ruskin University, said it raised wider questions on whether the focus should be on individuals using less energy or the “wider responsibilities for landlords or homeowners, housebuilders and government for thinking about how our homes can require less fossil fuel in the first place”.

Food challenge

A third of all food made for human consumption is wasted every year – costing the average UK family £700 each year, estimates suggest.

The students were challenged to cut their food waste by 50% and move to the planetary health diet – a plant-based diet with small amounts of meat and fish.

Image caption Helen and Will cooked vegetable bolognese for the house, as part of adopting the planetary health diet for a week

Dr Elliot Woolley, a senior lecturer in sustainable manufacturing at Loughborough University, encouraged them to store their food more carefully to stop it becoming spoiled, plan their meals and prepare the right amount of food for the people eating.

He said that they found the challenge hard, but had reduced their food waste from 8.1lb to 6.8lb, which he described as “a fairly small reduction”.

Image caption The contents of the students’ food waste bin, before the challenge

Dr Woolley added: “One of the things it shows is even when you’re aware of the problem and you’re trying to reduce waste, it’s so ingrained into how we waste and use food that actually we continue with these large amounts.”

Housemate Will Smith said their waste totals were boosted by food bought before the challenge which had started to go off, but admitted: “I don’t think we did too well.”

But he said it had changed his mindset and he would continue trying not to waste food in future.

The Sustainable Students series was produced and directed by Owen Kean and Tom Yeates, with research by Curtis Gallant and Simon O’Leary.

[“source-“bbc”]

Sustainable Fashion Searches Surged In 2018

Story image for Sustainable Fashion Searches Surged In 2018 from Forbes

Think of your most recent clothing purchase: do you know where it was manufactured, whether the people who made it were treated fairly, whether any animals were harmed or the environmental impact of its production?

Though most people couldn’t answer these questions, there’s an increasing proportion of consumers that are becoming conscious of what they’re buying.

Ethical spending now accounts for £81.3 billion of the UK retail market, according to Ethical Consumer, and KPMG’s latest annual retail survey noted that almost 20% of shoppers were drawn to retailers that they know ethically source their goods.

Although high street brand

Think of your most recent clothing purchase: do you know where it was manufactured, whether the people who made it were treated fairly, whether any animals were harmed or the environmental impact of its production?

Though most people couldn’t answer these questions, there’s an increasing proportion of consumers that are becoming conscious of what they’re buying.

Ethical spending now accounts for £81.3 billion of the UK retail market, according to Ethical Consumer, and KPMG’s latest annual retail survey noted that almost 20% of shoppers were drawn to retailers that they know ethically source their goods.

Although high street brands such as H&M and Zara have launched conscious lines, shoppers who are clued up on sustainability are growing frustrated with fast fashion brands who only dip into the ethical retail world.

Instead, these are three retailers who provide conscious consumers with a huge selection of clothes, accessories and more, all of which is produced ethically and sustainably.

Gather & See

Every ethical shopper is different: one might care more about the workers behind the products; another might be concerned about buying only environmentally-friendly items.

s such as H&M and Zara have launched conscious lines, shoppers who are clued up on sustainability are growing frustrated with fast fashion brands who only dip into the ethical retail world.

Instead, these are three retailers who provide conscious consumers with a huge selection of clothes, accessories and more, all of which is produced ethically and sustainably.

Gather & See

Every ethical shopper is different: one might care more about the workers behind the products; another might be concerned about buying only environmentally-friendly items.

[“source=forbes]

Three Ethical Retailers For Your Next Sustainable Fashion Purchase

Think of your most recent clothing purchase: do you know where it was manufactured, whether the people who made it were treated fairly, whether any animals were harmed or the environmental impact of its production?

Though most people couldn’t answer these questions, there’s an increasing proportion of consumers that are becoming conscious of what they’re buying.

Ethical spending now accounts for £81.3 billion of the UK retail market, according to Ethical Consumer, and KPMG’s latest annual retail survey noted that almost 20% of shoppers were drawn to retailers that they know ethically source their goods.

Although high street brands such as H&M and Zara have launched conscious lines, shoppers who are clued up on sustainability are growing frustrated with fast fashion brands who only dip into the ethical retail world.

Instead, these are three retailers who provide conscious consumers with a huge selection of clothes, accessories and more, all of which is produced ethically and sustainably.

Gather & See

Every ethical shopper is different: one might care more about the workers behind the products; another might be concerned about buying only environmentally-friendly items.

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Gather & See understands that, and the store allows its customers to shop by their priority.

Not only can people filter its products by type or designer, but they can also select them by choosing one of the retailer’s five founding philosophies: fair trade, organic, eco-friendly, small scale production and heritage.

Gather & See adapts to each shopper’s ethical priority.Photo: Gather&See

The shop stocks clothing, accessories and jewelry that fits every budget, from affordable fashion to luxury, targeting the fashion-savvy, ethically-minded customer.

Gather & See is a relatively new retailer, founded four years ago by two fashionable women who were fed up of feeling disconnected from the production process.

Now, they ensure each of the more than 40 designers featured on their site produces clothing that fits into at least two of Gather & See’s philosophies. For them, it’s just as much about the ethics as the aesthetics.

People Tree

Founded 27 years ago, People Tree is one of the most well-established ethical retailers around. The shop’s mission is simple: to be 100% fair trade throughout their supply chain.

But what does “fair trade” mean? It’s a way of doing business that guarantees workers aren’t discriminated against. They are provided with good working conditions, their rights are protected, and they are paid sustainable prices for their products.

That means People Tree’s wide range of women’s fashion, that offers everything from cozy knitted jumpers to party dresses, is created by workers in the developing world who are treated well and not exploited.

People Tree is 100% fair trade throughout their supply chain.Photo: People Tree

Not only does People Tree strive for its stock to be ethically-sourced, but it’s also aware of the environmental impact of fashion.

You can trust that its clothing is all made with organic cotton and other sustainable materials, and colored using safe dyes. Even better, as many of its products as possible are shipped by sea, in order to reduce the retailers’ contribution to global warming.

[“source=forbes]

Sustainable Fashion Searches Surged In 2018

Veja trainers

Sustainable trainer brand Veja appeared in the top 10 shoe searches and top 10 Insta brands for 2018Veja

Consumers have been putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability as Lyst’s year in fashion, out today, shows.

The fashion search engine tracked more than 100 million searches on their shopping site over the past 12 months to analyze the biggest trends and most buzzed about brands.

Lyst has reported a 47% increase in shoppers looking for items that have ethical and style credentials with terms such as “vegan leather” and “organic cotton”.

What’s more, several brands with a strong stance on sustainability made the ‘most searched for’ roundups for the first time.

Trainer brand Veja took the number one spot in the ‘Insta brands’ ranking which looked at search spikes compared against Instagram mentions and tags. Searches have reportedly increased 113% year-on-year. Veja’s V10 sneaker also made the year’s list of top 10 most searched-for shoes, alongside long-established brands including Prada, Nike, Gucci and Balenciaga. The French brand, founded in 2004, works with more environmentally-friendly materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and B-mesh made from recycled plastic bottles as well as supporting fair trade in its supply chain.

Made-in-LA label Reformation has appeared in the top search rankings for Lyst in the past, but 2018’s roundup shows it’s going from strength to strength. As well as coming second on the ‘Insta brands’ list, their Thelma dress was in the top 10 most viewed dresses for the year. Loved by influencers, Reformation uses sustainably-sourced materials, rescued dead stock fabric and upcycled vintage clothing to create its line.

Another new arrival, ranking at number seven on the hottest Insta brands for 2018, was Nanushka. The Budapest-based brand made its New York Fashion Week debut in February and its vegan leather clothing has been a hit with magazine editors and cruelty-free fashion lovers alike. The brand also joined the Ellen McArthur Foundation in May to make steps towards a circular supply chain to cement their dedication to becoming more environmentally friendly.

[“source=forbes]