What Sustainability Means For Me in 2019
The current buzzword in every industry, not just fashion, is sustainability. There’s abundant conversations around what sustainability means and how we should pursue it. I’ve thought about this topic a lot over the past few months - and to be honest, I’ve rewritten this post multiple times because there’s so many areas that we can positively impact (and truly need to). But it’s not always that easy - so here, is just a brief insight into how I’m approaching sustainability this year in my life and with The Good Wear.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
With so avenues to pursue on the top, I am truly no expert. The reason to talk about it and why it matters to me is because of my personal care on the impact that we can have on people and the world we live in - both environmentally driven and community minded.
Based on Google’s definition, Sustainability is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” Therefore, because this is such an inclusive word, we know there are, and always will be, areas to sustainably maintain in our lives; Including - sustainable culture, sustainable work habits, sustainable environment, sustainable impact, sustainable fashion. So what do we do about it now?
What SUSTAINABILITY MEANS To Me
Sustainability is choosing manageable ways to be conscious of my impact on the environments around me. Whether that is clothing related, material related, food, waste, etc. Each of us have the opportunity to look for ways to implement our own viewpoint and values to better our home and our communities.
One issue that has arose within sustainability is that there’s often a lot of guilt around the conversation - it can cost more money than we have, or some current situations in our lives limit us, and most feel like they can not do enough; Or even feel judgement from others others for not caring in the “right” ways. But I believe it’s all about our conscious efforts in small ways. Personally, I slip up in many areas - I throw out food even though I’m attempting to start a compost with my roommates. I purchase coffee in to-go cups even though I have reusable containers. I use plastic baggies out of convenience when I’m in a rush. But the more we are aware of these decisions, the easier it is to choose a sustainable option the next time. It’s a learning curve to break down habits that are engrained within us.
And the same goes with clothing. It matters that we are paying attention to our clothing, fabrics, and overall environment impact the industry is doing in making our clothes. But it also matters what we’re doing with our clothing, shoes and accessories when they' are in our home. A personal goal is to continue conscious decisions towards purchasing items that will last for years rather than just a season. As well as seeking out ways to recycle clothing that is no longer used or worn. These are small sustainable initiatives and habits at home that we can impact pretty quickly.
Overall, whatever area of sustainability you relate to or are attempting to learn more about, there is always room for growth and learn. That’s where support of one another comes in to root each other on in our choices and seek healthy reform.
So, HOW CAN WE MAKE POSITIVE CHANGE?
Most of us have the power to make changes where we are at today. Being conscious of the world we live in and how our habits impact ourselves, the environment and those around us is so important. And we have more influence on those three factors in ways that we may not know yet.
Here are some easy ways :
Use a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and regular glassware at meals - stay away from the single use stuff!
Say no to the plastic straw - this has been a widespread initiative to stop using single use plastic straws, as well as debated as some individuals need these to drink depending on their function or health level. But overall many of us have the privilege in saying no to a straw at a restaurant going a long way in keeping plastic out of the landfill and our oceans.
Use reusable bags - this is probably the easiest and most practical change for most of us, we just need to remember to bring them along to the grocery store, packed lunches, etc. My favorites are from Baggu.
Say no to shopping bags. Instead, carry out your items when shopping or if you do need one, reuse it to at another time for gifting, traveling, etc.
Travel with reusable utensils, straws, and containers.
Donate clothing to local consignment and donation spots - as well as finding your local Goodwill (truly, they do their best to help find your clothing a home!).
Use old T-shirts, pillow cases, etc. as rags to clean around your house - they work perfectly for wiping down services and as dust rags!
At work, ask your company if you can start recycling or take steps to make environmentally friendly decisions involving paper, reusable materials, travel / carbon footprint offsets, etc.
A fun one - bike to work!
Follow along for sustainability ideas here on Pinterest. Trust me, I’m right there with you starting from the very basic. Just remember, we don’t have to be perfect but we can be conscious of our decisions and continue to do better!
For more encouragement and ideas, we can follow along with companies that exist with sustainable initiatives. At this point, there isn’t really a 100% “responsible” or “sustainable” company because of the amount of areas a business impacts - think shipping items, energy and water use, material production, plastic and cardboard, textile waste, etc. Many companies are choosing at least one of those areas to focus one in order to make a difference within a heavily polluting, excessive industry. Here are a few of those brands and their effective initiatives:
United By Blue : the outdoor brand was actively founded to make changes in the industry with our environmental impact. From their beginning, they have worked towards environmental initiatives impact and change our environmental industry when making products. Read more about their projects including their tree planting initiatives.
Patagonia : A well-known favorite, Patagonia works to make enviornmental changes not just with their products and internally within their company but have been advocating for political and global changes to better our world for decades. Read more about their vast sustainable initiatives here.
Everlane : The popular brand creating basics and wardrobe staples for both men and women has always been dedicated to a transparent supply chain, production process and now further with their material impact. Read more about Everlane’s mission to cut out new plastic by 2021.
Reformation : Creating clothing and dresses out of overstock fabric, Reformation is working to lessen their carbon footprint as a company and releases information quarterly about their progress within the industry. Read more about their environmental impact here.