According to research, we produce 2.12 billion tonnes of waste across the globe every year, and there’s no doubt that this is having a detrimental impact on our planet’s sustainability. Although authoritative bodies around the world have introduced schemes and initiatives to encourage recycling — 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.
Some studies have suggested that 1.4 billion pounds of rubbish ends up in our waters each year which is having a profound effect on marine life — so much so, scientists have estimated that the amount of plastic will outweigh the fish by 2050.
Because of this, more businesses around the world are looking at more sustainable ways to create their products in a bid to help better the world that we live in.
Ngwenya Glass are renowned for glassware products, and have been creating timeless pieces since the late 70s. 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 of ethical homeware that are sold alongside other products on Traidcraft’s website including fair trade food and organic coffee.
They’re not scared to commit to something either. 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 help local people, glass-gatherers are paid by the kilo and support the continued craftmanship of the products. The business also works with local schools to educate young people in the importance of environmentalism and recycling, and supports schools with building materials and learning resources.
A more natural approach to cosmetics
If you live in the UK, you will have heard of Lush Cosmetics — who are known as one of the most eco-conscious cosmetic brands out there. 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.
Each year, we use 200 pounds of plastic and dispose of 60 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. As well as this, all of plastic used by Lush is 100% recycled.
A different kind of skateboard
Rock the skatepark with a skateboard like no other from Wasteboards in Amsterdam — completely unique with the foot panel made from plastic bottle lids. 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.
Similar to Ngwenya Glass, this company asks locals to help out by collecting bottle tops. As well as this, fishermen who use the canals in Amsterdam are also asked to collect as much as they can. 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!
Fashion conscious in an eco-conscious way
Are you familiar with the Kånken bag? Originating from a small town in Sweden, the company Fjallraven 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.
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.
Another product from the company is the Eco-Shell coat which is also made from recycled polyester and unlike many other products on the market, perflourinated chemicals are not involved in the creation.
There are many more brands playing their part in helping the environment though. However, this proves that the ability to be creative and think outside of the box can truly have admirable benefits that help both people in the planet — could you become more ethically focused?