“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard
In our day and age, it’s become the norm to acquire and accumulate material things constantly. We crave the latest new thing and want to be a part of the latest trends. It’s resulted in us all pursuing an unsustainable path: we buy, we use, we throw away, and for a very long time, we didn’t think of the consequences. But that all needs to change. With sustainability discussions becoming more widespread and plentiful all over the world, these conversations are being had within government as well as in our homes, we are coming to realise that our actions reap devastating results for ourselves and our planet, and action needs to be taken.
When it comes to sustainability, there are many elements of it we need to address. Today, we’ll be looking at one of our most destructive habits, waste.
Being Aware - the campaigns we should be supporting
There are a number of campaigns and national days throughout the year that help bring a lot of helpful attention to sustainability topics. Waste is one that is weaved into many of these initiatives and there’s many important reasons why.
Annually, it’s estimated that “The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that—extremely conservatively—not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms.” Unfortunately, this number is predicted to continue to grow. And why is this a problem? Well, our waste, especially man-made pollution that is formed of non-biodegradable materials and chemical toxins, ends up being harmful to our planet and any living species, including us. Plastics litter our forests, affecting the natural growth of flora and often being mistaken for food by other animals which ends up being fatal. Chemicals seep into our water bodies, bodies we source for drinking water therefore affecting human health. Just because we get rid of our waste doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist anymore - to think ‘out of sight, out of mind’ will be our ultimate downfall.
However, our digital age has made these facts more accessible, we’re able to communicate faster and more widely than ever before and that means awareness has only grown for topics such as this. When it comes to waste, recently, World Cleanup Day was celebrated on the 19th of September and prompted conversations about it while encouraging people to take action in whatever way they can. It’s an opportunity for the social action program to spread their message and for those who take an interest to bring much needed attention to this global issue, creating conversations in their own communities to spur action and change.
Other notable annual days and campaigns you can help support include Earth Day, held on the 22nd of April which focuses particularly on environmental protection and conservation; World Environment Day held on the 5th of June which is another that encourages awareness and environmental protection and action; and World Oceans Day held on the 8th of June that focuses particularly on our treatment of our oceans!
There’s so many ways to get involved and what ultimately matters is that you use your voice. Change can only happen when we’re united, each and every one of us can make the world a little greener.
Better Systems - the initiative we should be taking
Within our many discussions at Sui, we have always done our best to lend our knowledge as much as we can by giving you tips on how to be more conscious in your daily life. In our ‘How to Stay Green’ blog section, you can find advice ranging from how to combat air pollution to ocean conservation to the importance of slow fashion support. This time round we wanted to talk more specifically about a concept that needs to be adopted by us but, more importantly, by our infrastructures.
If you have been participating in conversations about sustainability, especially within industry, you may have come across this term: circular economy. To put it simply, the term describes an industrial system that “aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system… It is based on three principles: design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; and regenerate natural systems.”
All in all, the concept works towards a more sustainable initiative that aims to guide any and every industry to make its core principle be the protection and conservation our planet. Watch this video here that helps define it clearly and shows how circular systems have always existed in nature:
It seems only natural doesn’t it. Our world has always existed in this way with every resource being vital and put to use in multiple ways, nothing is disregarded and the cycle goes on and on and on. However, how the majority of our society functions is too comfortable with allowing waste and pollution to go unchecked, we have created a system that we’re seeing now has devastating effects. And, although this may seem like a solution that needs to be carried out by companies and governments, we can also do our part! Here are a few simple ways:
- Food waste can be composted and used as fertiliser to grow plants, even fruits and vegetables anew.
- Non-biodegradable items can be reused in your home. Jars, bottles and more can be used again, whether that’s to store various things or repurposed for a decorative use like flower vases.
- Clothes or toys can be given away to someone else who can make use of them rather than being thrown away completely.
In your communities…
- Use your voice and ask industries and governments to make a change!
- Do your research and find out where your waste goes.
- Be vigilant in segregating your waste, it can be as simple as making sure you separating your compostable waste to reuse in your garden.
- Be vocal wherever else you can too, whether that’s at home or online, you can help bring others together in looking towards a better future for our planet.
Steps at Sui
Though we are young, from the start we have always made decisions in our process to produce as sustainably as we could. We craft small and slow, where we consider each production stage and make sure we are also working with partners and vendors who have those same values - you can check out this blog for more detailed statistics of our efforts.
A particular goal of ours is to become zero waste which, with every new collection, we always strive to rethink how we can get closer to that reality. Within our office, though each team member makes sure to make individual efforts by carrying their own water bottles and lunch boxes, we also provide glass bottles that are kept and reused. We do not use plastic within our packaging and opt for either recycled or compostable materials, moreover, we often craft packaging in which we encourage our green heart-er community to reuse in whatever way they can.
A big part of what has helped us grow towards this aspiration is upcycling. With each garment we create, it’s inevitable that fabric does fall to the factory floor and so while we craft each of our collection, we make sure to pick up every scrap for later use, which in our case is to make accessories. From earrings to headbands, bookmarks and masks, we have created a system that makes use of each piece of fabric that passes through our workshop. It’s something we have been doing from the very start of our journey in 2018 and we will continue to do.
Very soon, we’ll also be looking forward to releasing a whole new set of upcycled accessories, some of them will be our usual items crafted in our summer styles and fabrics which you would have seen through ‘Tropical Sunshine’, but we also have some all new items we can’t wait to bring you!
We hope we have shed a little more light on the problem of waste, but more importantly we hope this shows you that we can do better. It’s a collective effort and every little green act counts!There are so many ways you can be conscious, just check out our other blog posts for information and advice, you can also check us out on Instagram and Facebook where we share other related articles and information.