We applaud all of you that came up with creative ways to reduce your plastic usage in July. Keep it up!

This month, we thought we would start discussing something many of us don’t think about when it comes to plastic waste reduction (climate change and greenhouse gases too)…FASHION.

All of us, approximately 8 billion people globally, need fabrics. After water and food it is a top necessity but did you know that approximately 64% of our clothes are made from plastics (polyester, acrylic and nylon)?  Plastics are byproducts of fossil fuel and to convert fossil fuel into fabrics, significant amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) are released.

By sharing some facts about plastics in our clothing and best practices, we hope to encourage a discussion that helps reduce our carbon footprints. Feel free to share your ideas at info@sustainablewellesley.com.

One option is to discourage production of new synthetic fabrics by reusing, repurposing and redesigning what we already have and introducing the concept of circular economy in fashion.

Another option is up-cycling — instead of only re-cycling. By mixing old synthetic fabrics with other old fabrics embellishes the new product and creates new markets for beautiful clothing, hand-woven floor mats, bathroom mats, house shoes, ribbons and more.

Luckily, there are fashion designers out  there using their creativity to repurpose the plastics we already have created, instead of sending old clothes to landfills and oceans. Consider buying these types of products instead of brand new items.

For example, leading fashion brands and manufacturers are working to transform the way they produce jeans, tackling waste, pollution, and the use of harmful practices. By doing this, we can create a circular economy and produce sustainable fashion. Learn more about it here and watch the video here.

Finally, don’t forget there is a consignment shop here in Wellesley and many in neighboring towns such as this one in Natick and few in Needham and Newton too where you can find pre-loved fashion and reduce the amount of plastic created. There are many children and men’s consignment shops as well.

We welcome your creative ideas and suggestions. Write to us at info@sustainablewellesley.com.

Big thanks to Enku for inspiring this blog post and bringing this important topic to light with research, as well as Kelly for some good tips!

 

The documentary Stink! that was shown last week got us thinking about how we can eliminate chemicals in our homes. 

Today, we live in a technological synthetic society. We are surrounded by chemicals everywhere, many of which are not good for the health of humans, animals or the environment.

The folks at Naturepedic Organic Mattress Gallery here in town shared some of the following information about toxins in our homes.

The home can be particularly harmful as far as chemical exposure is concerned. Our homes are sealed environments which amplifies exposures to any chemicals present. We spend so much time living, eating, and sleeping in our homes. Controlling what we bring into our homes is the best way to make our home a safer healthier environment.

The home contains all kinds of chemical substances that are mixed into consumer products during the manufacturing process. Examples of these chemicals are:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

    • VOCs are found in furniture, couches, mattresses, plastics, building materials, carpeting, cosmetics, shampoos, paints, and more

      • VOC exposure has been associated with cancer, birth defects, respiratory irritation, headaches and more

  • Flame Retardant Chemicals (FRs)

    • FRs are found in almost all consumer products including clothing, furniture, mattresses, plastics, memory foams, toys and more

      • FR exposure has been associated with cancer, reproductive & development damage, thyroid disfunction and more

  • Per-fluorinated Chemicals (PFCs)

    • PFCs are waterproofing and stain-resistance agents. They are found in many consumer products including mattresses, carpeting, clothing, furniture fabrics and more

      • PFC exposure has been associated with reduced immune system function, multiple organ damage, developmental problems and more

  • Phthalates

    • Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics, such as found in vinyl mattress covers, and as fragrances in cosmetics and cleaning products

      • Phthalate exposure has been associated with reduced fertility, increased risk of breast cancer, allergies, asthma and more

  • Lead

    • Lead is a toxic heavy metal and found in a few cosmetics, paints, and textile products and more

      • Lead exposure is associated with reproductive and developmental harm; muscle disorders; organ problems

When purchasing consumer product to bring into your home, make sure that you are not bringing in toxic chemicals. To do this you need to educate yourself and make healthier choices as to which products and which brands you purchase. Every product group mentioned has a corresponding alternative available from companies that strive to reduce and/or eliminate toxic chemicals in their products. 

There are MANY suggestions that came from the Stink! film — click here — such as when buying skin care products (skin being our largest organ), try the Environmental Working Group’s useful Skin Guide or their household cleaning guide here.

Many products on the market use terms like “organic” or “non-toxic” or “eco-friendly” or “natural” to advertise their products. More often than not, these words are unsubstantiated claims. The only way to know is to check the validity of the claim through objective sources, i.e. certifications and lab testing proof.

Feel free to email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com with your thoughts on this topic and suggestions on reducing toxins in your home.