By LIAM JONES
What is a zero waste shop?
With the recent BBC documentary ‘Drowning in Plastic’ shining a light on the growing sea pollution problem, people are becoming increasingly concerned about how they can help. Many people are turning to zero waste shops–so what is a zero waste shop and how can it really help reduce promote sustainability?
A zero waste shop, in essence, is a plastic-free shop. However, a good zero waste shop not only promotes plastic-free products but every single product should be eco-friendly. Want to support non-leather industries? Want to make a commitment to purchasing products that plant trees? Or how about if your plastic-free products not only avoid using use plastic but actively take plastic out of the ocean? A Zero waste shop is the most eco-friendly way to shop.
Here is our quick guide to the 8 Benefits of Zero waste shopping:
1. TAKE PLASTIC OUT OF THE OCEAN
95% of all the plastic ever created is still in existence today.
The majority of the plastic that you have ever used is still in circulation today, whether its in landfill sites or somewhere in the ocean. In fact, More than 90% of refuse found on beaches is plastic.
It’s just not being recycled. So what can we do?
When you shop, make sure that your product takes plastic out the ocean and re-uses it for something purposeful. For example, choose a clothing line that actively takes plastic out the ocean, shreds it down until it’s a soft fibre that can be used in clothes. Imagine if everyone did this, if everything you bought took plastic out of the ocean? What would that do for sea pollution…
2. PLANT A TREE. SAVE OUR RAINFORESTS.
We lose 3.5 to 7 billion trees to deforestation each year
A number so big our brains struggle to put it into context, so let’s try to understand it a little more. Snap your fingers. In that second 1000 trees were completely wiped out. In fact, every second 1000 trees are wiped out.
Wood seems like a sustainable product, chances are, you would never hear someone say “be careful with that–it doesn’t grow on trees” because well you know…
But what if it’s not being replaced? We are taking that much out of the environment that it’s not even being close to being replaced. Shop for products that guarantee they are being replaced. All these products have a tree planted everytime they are bought.
Why does it matter? Trees are vital to sustaining life, from supporting millions of animals and ecosystems including human life to reducing and in the long run reversing global warming effects through photosynthesis.
3. STOP THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH.
When we think of ocean plastic we think of it in some far away place; however, it could be right on your shore.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific trash vortex is the biggest collection of ocean plastic in the world and is located between Hawaii and California. The GPGP covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometres, an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France. What’s the weight of it?
80,000 tonnes, which is 4-16 times more than the last few estimates and it’s only getting bigger and at a remarkably quick pace. When you shop make sure that the products you buy contain little or no plastic. Just by this one small habit you can make sure you’re not adding to polluted areas.
By committing to shopping only at ‘zero waste shops’, you stop the Pacific Garbage Patch from growing. But you can do even more by committing to purchase products that actively take the plastic out of the ocean and repurpose it for something better…
4. MAKING ALL THIS PLASTIC ‘STUFF’ REQUIRES ENERGY.
It feels like everything we do has a negative impact on the environment. Often there are consequences we don’t think of; for example, all this plastic not only fills our oceans and makes environments uninhabitable but it requires energy to make all of our products in the first place. Where does most of this energy come from? Largely from sources that contribute to global warming.
This can be solved by buying products that come from recycled materials. For example, this T-shirt uses recycled cotton from the textile industry that is re-spun into brand new T-shirts.
5. ZERO WASTE ITEMS ARE OFTEN LONGER LASTING
What is happening to all this plastic waste? Some ingenious people use it in their products. For example, in some countries the local government uses it pave their roads. The downside of plastic is that it doesn’t biodegrade quickly. However, this downside has a silver lining, as a product that reuses this plastic will last a long time. At the same time because of the low price of recycled plastic, it cuts down on cost. Could this be goodbye potholes?
6. DISCOVER GREAT ALTERNATIVES THAT MAY JUST BE BETTER.
A Zero Waste shop can expose you to many great alternatives to help you become more eco-friendly. Not sure about giving up leather? There are some beautiful alternatives to leather that may just be better without affecting the environment.
Ever heard of waxed canvas? Did you know it was created 200 years ago as a way that Scottish sailors could keep dry from the elements and not ruin their clothes whilst being exposed to the unforgiving North Atlantic winds?
Designed to be durable and waterproof, waxed canvas even ages like leather. This means that every year that passes, it will look even better–making it a great alternative to leather.
7. THEY PROTECT WILDLIFE
Every year, more and more species go extinct because of our consumption habits.
Earlier this year, Scientific American documented that the Bramble Cay melomys—a tiny island rodent species that few people had ever seen or heard of–recently became extinct due to rising sea levels and climate change. Zero waste shops help by reducing the generation of waste products in addition to reducing pollution leading to climate change and sea level rise.
8. YOU WILL LOOK AWESOME.
Sustainable products not only take away plastic waste, plant trees, and recycle discarded products into something new and beautiful is another plus to sustainable fashion: every time you buy a sustainable product and you receive a compliment on the item, it’s a chance for you to tell the S O N D E R story and share the reasons behind your commitment to environmental sustainability.
Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on https://sonderkrafts.com/blogs/a-zero-waste-shop-blog/8-reasons-why-you-should-use-a-zero-waste-shop