You won’t be surprised to hear that each year, we produce 2.12 billion tonnes of waste which is becoming a danger to our planet. Although authoritative bodies around the world have introduced schemes and initiatives to encourage people to recycle — 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. With all this environmental damage, it’s clear that it’s incredibly important to know how to reduce waste creatively for a healthier earth.
Ocean plastic is becoming a greater threat too — to both human and marine life — which is where a staggering amount of waste ends up. 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 that scientists have estimated that the amount of plastic will outweigh the fish by 2050.
The increased levels of waste is due to almost 100% of the items we purchase are binned within six months. Because of this, more businesses around the world are looking at more sustainable ways to create products in a bid to help better the world that we live in.
1. Traidcraft Shop: Recycled Tableware
If you’re a sucker for hand-crafted, hand made gifts, Ngwenya Glass has been making beautiful products since 1979. Originally set up as a Swedish Aid Project, Ngwenya Glass now trains over 60 people in the art of glassblowing to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
The company has ambitions to protect the environment which has been a boost in its success. 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!
To ensure people are appreciated for their help when gathering glass, the organization pay them by the kilo. The business also works with local schools to educate kids on the importance of environmentalism and recycling, and supports schools with building materials and learning resources.
2. Fjällräven: Re-Kånken and Eco-Shell
You can’t walk down the street without seeing a bright Kånken bag on the back of a university student. 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.
The design of the bag is extremely complex — which is definitely part of the appeal. 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.
From the same company, the Eco-Shell was introduced. Eco-Shell is also made from recycled polyester and unlike many other products on the market, perflorinated chemicals are not involved in the creation.
3. Wasteboards: Skateboards
If you want to take your skills to the street, purchase from Wasteboards and show off your skateboarding abilities — the company uses eco-friendly methods to create the product in Amsterdam. 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.
The company makes an effort to get the local community involved and encourage people to collect bottle tops to be used for the products! As well as this, fishermen who use the canals in Amsterdam are also asked to collect as much as they can.
Young people in particular adore an aesthetically pleasing product which is one of the main factors of purchasing — a handmade product that helps the environment by moulding different elements together. 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!
4. Lush Cosmetics: Naked Products
You’ll be familiar with Lush Cosmetics and love them even more because of their bid to improve the environment. 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.
Believe it or not, you use 200 pounds of plastic each year — 60 pounds of this is thrown away almost 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.
There’s all sorts of naked products, from shampoos to hair conditioner! As well as this, all of plastic used by Lush is 100% recycled.
There are many more businesses that are also making the move for a better environment. Knowing how to reduce waste creatively and think outside of the box can truly have admirable benefits. Prioritizing eco-friendliness in business can help both people and the planet at large — how can your business become more ethical today?