Brookline has already banned single-use plastic bags and polystyrene, will Boston be next? You decide! A petition on Change.org already has 20,000 signatures and is looking for just 5,000 more to make a convincing argument to Mayor Walsh and Boston City Council. Sign now and make your voice heard.
As we all know by this point - plastic isn't great. It leaches potentially hazardous chemicals, is derived from petroleum, and worst of all it NEVER. EVER. EVER. biodegrades. On the up side, it is less energy-intensive to recycle than glass or most metals, and if consumers keep that in mind and only purchase good quality, recyclable items, they can reduce their waste. Below are my picks for the best (plastic) holiday gifts that help people reduce their need for disposable plastic in the long run.
BAGGU SHOPPING BAG
Always keep a reusable, washable, cute shopping bag on hand with one of these adorable Baggu totes. Perfect for everything from groceries to clothes, Baggu completely voids your need for ever using a disposable plastic shopping bag again. Plus, they fold up very tidily so they don't take up too much room in a purse or gym bag.
CONTIGO COFFEE TUMBLER
This is my FAVORITE iced coffee tumbler because it doesn't leak. I just purchased their hot beverage tumblr which I'm also excited about because it has a lock features that means you can toss it in a bag without it spilling everywhere. Bag-friendly coffee tumblers are super portable, convenient and reduce the need for paper, polystyrene, and plastic to-go cups.
Did you know most candle wax is derived from petroleum?! Ew. That means you're basically burning artificially scented plastic in your home. So. many. toxins. Forget that and switch to electric candles. They provide a comforting flicker without screwing with your indoor air quality and can be left on without becoming a fire hazard.
TRIA LASER HAIR REMOVER
How many disposable razors do you go through in a year? 10 years? 20? What if there was just ONE plastic item that would prevent you from buying plastic razors ever again. Yup. The Tria is an at-home laser treatment that is safe for men and women with dark hair and fair skin. Learn more on their website to determine if Tria could be your hair removal solution.
November 30 - December 6
- Forum on Fossil Fuel Development
- Showing of 'This Changes Everything'
- Follain's Mo-vember Party
- Prepare for Winter: Renew Boston Comes to Roslindale
- Impact Hub Holiday Party
December 7 - 13
December 14 - 20
- Net Impact Sustainability Breakfast
December 21 - 31
Enjoy the holidays!
Amanda Yanchury is the founder of Cause I Run, a Cambridge-based sportswear company devoted to producing high quality, sustainable apparel that allows each runner to give back. I am honored to have her share a guest post on Boston Green Blog today. Enjoy!
The State of Fashion
Recently, I attended a screening of “True Cost,” a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the current state of the fashion industry and the distress it’s imposing upon the planet and poor communities.
From extraordinarily high rates of suicide among Indian cotton farmers, to shocking statistics about Americans’ insatiable appetite for cheap clothing, the message was appalling but clear: When we take out our wallet to buy a $5 scarf, we are contributing to a system in which nobody wins except for major fashion retailers -- and the majority of Americans don’t know it.
They don’t know that the fashion industry is second only to big oil in greenhouse gas emissions that are wreaking havoc on our climate. Old, outdated factories produce garments with cheap materials – that last only a wear or two -- and even cheaper labor, with disregard for the workers’ needs or safety (or anything else, really, besides the bottom line).
And when the bottom line is the only consideration (and not the lives of the workers, or the quality of the product), it makes sense that companies are operating this way. If consumers will only buy cheap clothing, then you must produce and sell more of it to keep up. It’s just business, right?
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a system I want to support. The maddening part, though, is that fast fashion is ubiquitous: Most of us don’t know where our clothes come from, and finding out can be nearly impossible. Companies can write up policies saying that they have a commitment to being environmentally friendly – without actually incorporating any sustainable practices.
When you add in lingering post-recession attitudes toward cutting back and not spending money on items perceived to be unnecessary (such as new/trendy clothing), getting a deal on a cute top or pair of pants is a great feeling – you get the reward of a new item without the guilt of making a major investment. The fashion industry recognizes that it’s in our nature to enjoy getting something new for a low cost.
And even though I personally am equipped with this information, it’s still difficult. I find myself taking the easy route from time to time, because it’s cheap and convenient to do so.
So what can be done?
The best answer is to start with one thing at a time. For me, that has meant simply becoming more conscious about my shopping habits. It means not spending a day at the mall, and instead spending time outdoors. It means thinking ahead to what my next “staple” clothing item should be, and doing the research to see whether there is a local, sustainable, ethically-produced brand that meets that need.
The one thing that everyone can do right now, today, is to educate themselves and spread the word. Change will only come to the fashion industry when consumers demand it. And that requires all of us.
American Apparel recently filed for Bankruptcy, citing competition with fast fashion made abroad as a main reason. Is this a big backstep in the ethical fashion industry in the U.S.? What are some of the lessons learned? WERS invited me to join them in a discussion about the state of American made clothing along with Factory45 and Green Line by K. Listen to the clip here:
The Nature Conservancy's amazing Boston speakers series continues tonight with their panel, Making an Impact! Tickets will be available at the door.
Learn how the Nature Conservancy and other nonprofits are using impact investment to prompt social and environmental change.
Impact investing is an exciting approach that seeks to attract new resources for critical conservation work with the intention to generate measurable environmental and social impact alongside a financial return.
Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, 5:30 pm reception, 6:30 – 8 pm talk
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA