A ‘take, make, waste’ economy has driven the production and consumption of ‘stuff’ for years. But this has rightfully come under scrutiny from all corners of society. No more so than from us – the customer.
The moment we pause to think about what we buy and where we’re buying it from, we become conscious consumers. And there has been a real surge in people making decisions, no longer just based on price and value, but on social impact. How has the product been made? What is it made from? And will it have a life after its original use?
The pandemic has also contributed to people wanting to create a better, healthier world. Accenture found that 60% of people are actively making more environmentally friendly or ethical purchases since March last year – and 90% of these will continue to do so. People really want to do their bit.
But are we seeing an ethical and environmental consumer revolution that is here to stay? We reckon so. And there are some remarkable brands out there rethinking and redesigning the way they make stuff to help move us towards a circular economy – one where we reduce, reuse and recycle.
With around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste being dumped in the world’s oceans each year, we all have responsibility to minimise our personal plastic footprint. That accountability lies with brands too.
Ksoni is a beauty company inspired by the individual experiences of founders Joti and Banasa who wanted to offer a natural, 100% plastic free bathroom product. Their shampoos and body washes not only use natural, vegan and sulphate-free ingredients, but come in an aluminum can. Pretty quirky, right?
But there are important reasons as to why they made this choice. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable, and the infrastructure exists in the UK to recycle every. single. can. Boom. What’s more, 75% of aluminium ever produced is still in use today.
One of the smallest eco-friendly changes we can make which has the biggest impact, is to re-use.
That’s the ethos at the heart of homeware brand black + blum’s product design. The materials which make up their beautiful range of water bottles, lunchboxes and thermoses were carefully chosen with environmental impact and longevity in mind. An easy and cost-effective way for you to ditch single-use plastic while investing in a product that will be for life, not just for Christmas.
Alongside a rise in mass-produced products can come a lack of concern for the care of said products.There is a lot to be said for simply looking after your existing possessions to prolong their life for as long as possible, rather than just chucking them away . We’ve been really inspired by the work of Manchester-based brand Attirecare, who produce shoe, garment, home and lifestyle care products using organic, chemical-free ingredients. And it goes without saying these solutions all come in 100% recyclable packaging. Win win.
Fast fashion is one of the most harmful industries affecting our planet. The speed at which cheap, stylish clothes are produced means that more and more are binned, creating a scary amount of textile waste. ILK + ERNIE have made it their mission to source fabric thrown away by large fashion corporations and turn them into the glorious range of clothes you can find on their website. This saves greenhouse emissions and the millions of litres of water used to produce fabrics worldwide every year. Plus, the left-over samples and unused pieces from the brands working with their factory are collected and distributed to homeless children in Delhi. The perfect example of how a circular economy should and can work for the greater good.
A similar approach can be seen from men’s clothing company SIRPLUS, which does exactly what it says on the tin – takes surplus fabric from shirt-makers and fashion houses, and turns it into lifetime companion pieces. From upcycled boxer shorts to functional wardrobe staples. Love it.
Do your bit
It all comes down to a choice. And by making the right one, we can all do our bit to put a purposeful foot forward towards a more circular economy.
We’ll leave you with the wise words of Tim Minchin, who perhaps says it better than we ever could – make decisions with a conscience – and please take your canvas bag to the supermarket.