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Research has suggested that on an annual basis, 2.12 billion tonnes of waste is generated each year. 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.
A lot of our waste ends up in the ocean, opposed to the designated landfills. 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.
This is becoming a greater problem across the world too. Statistics have shown that 99% of what we buy is rid of 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.
In addition to creating products more sustainably, many companies are also beginning to opt for a more environmentally friendly working environment. This can come in the form of going fully digital and ditching paper completely such as using electronic signature software to produce digital contracts which are electronically signed at a workstation tablet that can reduce paper costs by 60-80% as well as significantly cut waste too.
Traidcraft Shop: Recycled Tableware
Originally set up as a Swedish Aid Project, Ngwenya Glass specialises in environmentally friendly glassware products. The company itself now trains over 60 people in the art of glassblowing to create one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts that are sold on Traidcraft’s online shop alongside a wide range of fair trade food, ethical homeware items and handmade Christmas decorations.
The development of these items have sustainability in mind. 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!
Unlike a lot of companies, this business isn’t afraid of giving back and will pay glass-gatherers 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.
Fjällräven: Re-Kånken and Eco-Shell
These Kånken bags are everywhere, and the nation is falling in love with its eco-friendly message and its design. 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.
To ensure sustainable practices throughout the production, the design of the bag is 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.
As well as this, the Eco-Shell coat is making waves for sustainability. Eco-Shell is also made from recycled polyester and unlike many other products on the market, perflourinated chemicals are not involved in the creation.
In Amsterdam, Wasteboards craft skateboards out of bottle top lids. Benefiting the environment as 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.
People are encouraged to collect lids at events too, allowing the business to thrive with custom. As well as this, fishermen who use the canals in Amsterdam are also asked to collect as much as they can.
The bottle tops are moulded into a design to create a visually pleasing skateboard. 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!
Lush Cosmetics: Naked Products
It’s no secret that Lush Cosmetics is one of the most eco-friendly brands in the UK. 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.
It has been suggested that each year, one person will use 200 pounds of plastic — 60 of which is disposed of instantly. 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.
As well as this, all of plastic used by Lush is 100% recycled and there are plenty of products for you to try out.
These are just some brands looking at alternative ways to reduce their own business and general waste when creating products. This 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?