Dark side of Clothing

This video sparks some interesting points…

Clothing is one of those everyday things that slip under the cracks. When people think of clothing it is usually about finding the best deal, what’s stylish on oneself, and heck, finding what fits best—because shopping for a well fitted slack is impossible!

Things to start thinking about: 

Right now. Grab a piece of clothing, any clothing, but make sure it has a tag. Now examine the tag and what do you see? No, this isn’t home economics.

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Key things to look at -> Material used and Where it was made.

Why does material matter? Common synthetics like polyester, acrylic, and nylon are made from synthetic materials, being cheaper and easier to produce. BUT, these synthetic materials are harmful to the Earth, to people you indirectly affect, and yourself.

Synthetic fibers are formed mainly from raw materials such as petroleum-based chemicals or petrochemicals. They can catch fire easily, are toxic when burned, non-biodegradable, can be damaged easily by heat, and add microfibers to water supplies and oceans. YES. You probably have plastic floating around in your body. Thank you chemical engineering, you are the gift that keeps on giving.

‘That dress is so vibrant and is perfect for Summer!’ Well, that dress also was made with toxic dyes, by people in poor living conditions who experience the harmful effects of chemicals used during the dying process.  Cancer, occupational asthma, allergic reactions and yet again we see another pollutant to water. 

Sweatshops, we’ve all heard this before and they have evolved. Many workers have poor working conditions, make little money, and work long hours.

‘Made in the USA’—Why is this important? First off, help support local businesses and buy locally whenever possible. But make sure they do their best and find businesses that source their material fairly and sustainably. You can even go a step further and buy your clothes from a local thrift shop—Bonus points if it is a not-for-profit! 

Thrifting is a fun activity and is like a hunt for treasure. When you find that perfect shirt, dress, or even pants, you will be so ecstatic and your brain will release some happy-inducing chemicals. Plus, you can find fun, vintage clothing and even brand name clothing that is brand new. Have fun with it!

Finally, buy quality over quantity. Make a purchase not based on the latest style, but rather for quality, sustainability, materials, necessity, and comfort. 

Make informed decisions and don’t buy something on the whim. Your conscious purchase will benefit the planet, those who live on it, and help build a sustainable future for the next generations.

Note: Rayon is also known as a synthetic fiber but made from cellulose, so it isn’t AS bad.

Good luck conscious shopper!

Your purchase counts

I just watched a video about the destructive nature of the palm oil industry.  This led me down a trail of thoughts which sparked the importance of thoughtful shopping.

When you make an informed purchase you are protecting the forests from being destroyed for palm and other crop production, consume consciously, save lives of thousands of people and animals dying due to home displacement and pollution, make healthier food choices,

Your buying habits effect peoples lives all over the world and the planet, and as sentient beings we have the responsibility to care for and sustain this planet.

If you discover there is a flaw in a product you purchase such as:

Unsustainable ingredients

Unfair trade

Unfair labor

Wasteful packaging

High carbon footprint

Over process

Cruel to animals

Toxic

Unhealthy

You should, at the least, stop purchasing that item but if you want to take another step into the right direction then notify the grocery store and then notify the business.  I typically send messages to the direct product’s customer service and let them know my thoughts.  Usually I get thoughtful responses in return describing their goals, values, considerations, or current plans. At least then it seems like my voice is being heard.

Oh, I also recommend providing positive comments for products you buy to reinforce your values and to just give them a nice ol’ pat on the back.

If you want to go for another step forward then use the tool of social media! # products you like, enform others of your values and educate people about the importance of conscious buying.  You can even go down the negative side and publically shame a business that sells a product against your values.

How do I know my values?

I try to make informed purchased by evaluating the product, avoiding specific ingredients, materials, wasteful packaging, and its benefits to my wellbeing.

I cannot express how important research and self education is to the working world around oneself and the urgency to product this planet, so it can remain sustainable.

 

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste While Dining Out

Note: The best way to avoid waste while dining out is to not eat out.

Think about the last time you “ordered out”.  What did you eat?  How was it packaged?  The amount of waste used for most takeaway is often unnecessary and most of the packaging is landfill or sometimes with recyclable or compostable materials, but how often does recycling actually make it to recycling?

Disposable takeout.jpgSometimes eating out can be very wasteful.

Photo Source: istock.com | Milkos

Eating out uses valuable resources and our goal is to have zero waste.  

  1. Try planning your dining out experience to eat-in whenever possible, ESPECIALLY when they have reusable dishes.
  2. Carry a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE.  This is good for all parties, so stay hydrated, prepared, and avoid wasting a cup for only a single use.
  3. Carry reusable utensils.  Include a fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, reusable straw, and napkin.  You’ll be impressed by how convenient this is, and who doesn’t like convenience?!
  4. Carry a collapsible container if you plan on dining in and decide to take leftovers home.
  5. REFUSE straws when you order a drink.  I do this almost by instinct with an occasional slip up that usually results in a straw.   Nothing really makes me stressed as straws. Probably because they are so wasteful and the abundance of them is maddening.

Be firm, confident, friendly, and to the point when you ask for no straw.   

If the person reacts uncomfortably, laugh it out to help ease any tension.   I never have issues refusing straws and sometimes you meet someone who is happy to hear this request.

feminist poster vintage girl

You’re probably thinking, “wow this broad wants me to carry a massive bag full of supplies for survival”…  Well, this is a fight for survival!

**Make sure to support local restaurants that have sustainable practices and support a greener planet.


Be savvy about it and ultimately prepare for what you plan on doing. 

For example:

If you will be dining at a familiar restaurant and know they have reusable plates and disposable utensils, then bring your pouch of reusable utensils.

Or, if you decide to get a massage and the host offers you a drink, just say, “Is it ok for me to use my reusable bottle?”

Regardless of your current routine, taking the steps to dine consciously will blossom into a rewarding experience.


If you are using anything disposable at home, STOP NOW. 

There are a lot of alternative products which not only help reduce waste but also helps you save some hard-earned money.


A fun game I like to play is called, “Oh, where have you gone to my lovely”.  Where I ponder about an object’s journey before landing in my possession.  This game usually ends with an interesting, whimsical, and sometimes dark revelation.  

For example:

Even a simple paper plate uses many resources.

Water to grow the tree.  Gas to cut the tree.  Gas to transport tree.  Power to process tree.  Gas to transport tree pulp.  Power to make the plate.  Packaging to wrap the plate.  Gas to transport the plate.

Did you think it would have so many steps or waste so many resources?  This doesn’t include the biodiversity harmed during the whole process.

Try this game out and take a moment to reflect on any object you have in your possession.  Focus on the object’s journey from start to ultimate end. 

Let me know what you learned and if any of it shocked you.  


Check this out: 

The clothing industry is filthy, and no I’m not talking about dirt.  This documentary that explores the impact of the global clothing industry on people and the planet.