Yes, it’s recyclable, but did you know it can take a plastic bottle 450 years to break down? Have a look in your bathroom at how many products are packaged in plastic. Do any of them contain microbeads as well? Used in exfoliating products and toothpastes, these nasty micro plastic pieces go down our drains and into our oceans – and into the mouths of our marine life. Whilst other countries have banned it, Australia still allows for the use of microbeads in products and the government has only endorsed a voluntary phase out in the industry.
No, we aren’t kidding. The Aral Lake in Central Asia is almost completely dried up from being used as irrigation for things like cotton farming. According to Fairtrade, cotton production also accounts for $2 billion worth of chemical pesticides a year. So, what are our options?
We recommend: Organic cotton – it is made without toxic chemicals and uses natural pesticides. While it uses more water, it is actually rain-water and not irrigated so it isn’t depleting natural resources. Choose organic cotton products from brands like Kowtow who use natural dyes to prevent more toxic chemicals entering into our environment!
Bamboo is another great alternative. Unfortunately, many bamboo-based fabrics are still made with toxic chemicals but those that have been certified guarantee eco-friendly manufacturing processes. So, if you’re buying bamboo clothes, choose brands like Bamboo Body who have Oeko-tex Certification, meaning the fabric is free from chemicals and pesticides.
Many companies are tapping in on the word ‘natural’. Don’t be fooled though – many are only using a few non-renewable natural substances whilst still pumping the products full of chemicals. The rise in demand for more of these natural resources has increased farming and mining which not only depletes them but uses more pesticides too.
Every year, Australians send 500,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill. In fact, we are the second biggest consumers of textile products, right after the U.S. (which says a lot, considering how much smaller our population is in comparison to most nations). With fast fashion being cheap to produce and purchase, it usually has a shorter lifespan. Consequentially, our society has developed a throw-away culture that has become seriously harmful to our environment.
Most of these products are also made with synthetic materials such as polyester, full of toxic chemicals and do not breakdown. Maybe you send your excess clothes to charity? Did you know around only 15% of what is sent to charities is actually sold with the rest ending up in landfill?
We recommend: shop less, repair more and invest in better quality products that aren’t made of synthetic materials. Shop from brands like Reformation and KITX who are committed to sustainable practices, using eco-friendly and recycled manmade materials.
Keep an eye out for ingredients such as P-phenylendiamine (found in dark hair colouring and lipsticks), cosmetic preservatives BHA & BHT, Dibutyl Phthalate (found in nail polishes), Triclocan (used in skin cleanser & deodorant) and Diethanolamine (found in most cosmetics & skincare). These nasty chemicals have been directly linked to issues such as genetic mutation and death in sea life. Try to read to the ingredients before you purchase and help keep these chemicals out of our waters.
Story by Paige Murphy.