By Cora Hilts
Originally from the Maine countryside, Cora spent five years in Paris and New York City intermittently working in luxury fashion and studying Politics before ending up in London.
Minimal Waste, Maximum Benefits
We at REV are very aware that operating a fashion retailer means incurring packaging and plastics that we would rather not have. We are feeling particularly guilty now as it is Zero Waste Week, which is the annual awareness campaign for reducing landfill.
The global consumption of plastic is rising shockingly – by 2050, it is estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Every person in Western Europe consumes 136 kilos of plastic per year alone. On a global scale, plastic consumption per citizen showed a 50% increase between 2005 and 2015. To make it even worse, at the production level most plastics are produced using petrol and natural gas which is bad for a number of reasons. Besides being non renewable, they are highly pollutant for ecosystems. Furthermore, due to the complexity and costs of the recycling process, the great majority of the world’s plastic ends up in landfills.
We also are contaminating our waters to an alarming degree. In a recent scientific study by Orb Media, tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation of plastic. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres. Meaning the vast majority of our drinking water is now filled with plastic particles. Big corporations do not want to stop producing such a cheap and lucrative resource, so it comes down to largely us as the consumers to decide to make changes about our plastic consumption.
Below you will find some of our top tips for change our habits.
Tip 1. Always refuse plastic forks, knives and spoons when you are dining or taking out.
We are always offered these things when eating out, and it is one of the most easily avoided faux-pas. Simply bring a set of cutlery with you in your bag or leave it at your desk for when you get take out. Always refuse or say in advance not to include any plastic utensils with your orders.
Tip 2. Try and invest in recycled or up cycled furniture
This is one of the top things we love to do at the REV office – all our furniture is pre-owned. It keeps things looking interesting when you have some mismatched pieces and there are so many beautiful pieces of vintage furniture out there. Avoid all the packaging and stress of Ikea (we all hate it anyway) and enjoy a day out at a flea market or local vintage store for some good finds. In the age of Uber, you can get things home (likely in a Prius!) and feel great about it.
Tip 3. Always bring a cloth bag with you and refuse plastic bags.
Ouph. 50 billion plastics bags are getting thrown away globally every year. Totes are much cuter and now readily available, just make sure you always have one in your purse and you are sorted!
Tip 4. Always bring with you a reusable bottle so that you don’t need to buy plastic disposable ones.
We really need to stop with the bottled water, it is so unnecessary. Especially when we have super cute alternatives, like BKR water bottles. Also just FYI, bottled water may not provide a microplastic-free alternative to tapwater, as the they were also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water tested in the US.
Tip 5. Buy local! Going to the Farmers’ Market is not only a great way to support your community but is also one of the easiest ways to shop without packaging!
Tip 6. Ditch all the plastics in your bathroom.
Never ending supplies of shampoo, conditioner, body washes and deodorants…that’s what most of our bathrooms look like at the moment. All these substances do not have to be encapsulated in plastic. We recently found an amazing company here in the UK that does soap and shampoo bars, and everything else in refillable glass bottles. Tried and tested by us, find them at Living Naturally.
Tip 7. Bye bye plastic tooth brush, hello bamboo!
We are so sorry to share this story but feel it’s a must. Plastic toothbrushes have been found inside the carcases of dead baby birds who choked to death when their mothers fed them the remnants of our old tooth brushes. These closely resemble the things they feed their chicks, so they mistakenly are feeding their babies our plastic remnants. It has resulted in mass loss of bird life on islands around the world. Bamboo tooth brushes are such a great alternative, and oftentimes much nicer. Our favourites are these Humble Brushes.
We need to make changes for the health of our planet and of humankind. We appear to be drinking and eating microplastics all the time. Does it matter? No-one knows, but research on marine plastic contamination raises cause for concern. Sea creatures that consume microplastics can be harmed by them and not just by physical obstruction.
Plastics often contain a wide range of chemicals and many of these are toxic or hormone disruptors. Plastics can attract other pollutants too like dioxins, metals and pesticides. As a more intimate consequence, the conditions in our guts enhance the release of pollutants from microplastics. A recent scientific review says, “there is evidence that particles may even cross the gut wall and be translocated to other body tissues, with unknown consequences”.
We love to think that these are steps we believe anyone can take. Small investments in a what we hope will result in a better way of life for us all!
As a company, we are looking into all aspects of how we operate to cut down on waste. With our new basics line, we will not be wrapping the clothing in plastic at any point of production, and they will be delivered simply in recycled tissue paper. We are asking designers to ship orders without excess plastic but are still in the process of figuring out how to protect items in international shipping – stay tuned! We are asking our beauty designers who still use plastic to consider switching to glass bottles. We also have gotten rid of all plastic clothing hangers and have replaced them with recycled cardboard hangers (we love them). We will keep you updated with other efforts we make behind the scenes!
We cannot clear all the plastics already in our eco-systems, but we can all do our best to halt further waste. Please join us in this journey to protect the very delicate natural system we all rely upon.