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It’s still #PlasticFreeJuly and, admittedly, I haven’t been paying enough attention.
I had good intentions, but about one day in, I looked at the carryout container I brought home from a local restaurant, noted its plastic appearance, and slapped my hand to my forehead in shame.
If you’ve been paying any attention to what is cleverly being termed “Plastic Strawgate,” you may also be thinking about plastic use in your everyday life. With England and other
countries planning to ban straws
and multinational companies like
(plastic lids??), plastic is all anyone in the sustainable fashion community seems to be talking about. And while that’s a good thing, it can also be shaming and unproductive.
Pollution is a systemic issue
, after all, and we’ve been fed the lie that our waste is being
, so who can blame us for being confused? And then we’ve got the issue with straws, which we use, more often than not, because they’re handed to us outright or put directly into our drinks. Saying no is not a long term strategy, because it’s not an individual problem – it’s a collective one. That means that we need to question everything from the marketing to the suppliers to the infrastructure, and dedicate more effort to long term change than we currently are.
Nevertheless, it’s much easier to make small, concerted changes when we are armed with the tools to do so. When it comes to straws, use them if you need them for medical reasons. Otherwise, say goodbye. When it comes to coffee cups and saran wrap and takeout containers – or even clothing – a little bit of forethought goes a long way. Invest in things that last if you can and lay off the guilt trip if it’s not financially or structurally within your means to do so. We in the conscious community have your back.
5 COMPANIES THAT MAKE GOING ZERO WASTE FASHIONABLE & ACCESSIBLE
For zero waste storage & supplies…
1 | EarthHero
On its way to becoming my #1 one-stop-shop for sustainable goods, EarthHero offers a huge, carefully curated selection of goods meant to make zero waste easier, from BeesWrap to food containers to skincare to clothing.
Recycled Plastic Food Storage Containers
For zero waste clothing…
2 | Tonle
Using factory remnants and employing rigorous zero waste processes to ensure that every last scrap is used in their designs, Tonle makes fashionable, artisanal clothing for women that is anything but ordinary.
3 | Purse for the People
Using specialized software, Purse for the People offers custom, made-to-order woven basket bags with minimal waste. Additionally, the bags are created using traditional artisan techniques that honor the cultures of the people who make them.
SHOP PURSE FOR THE PEOPLE HERE
For eating on the go…
4 | ECOLunchBox
With a strong emphasis on zero waste for families, ECO Lunch Box sells bento boxes, lunch bags, flatware sets, and more to ensure you can go zero waste when eating outside the house.
For bespoke fashion…
5| Zero Waste Daniel
Fabric scraps never looked so good. Zero Waste Daniel makes one-of-a-kind garments with fabric leftover from New York City’s garment industry through a zero waste process.
For the market…
BONUS | Eco-Bags
Specializing in canvas shopping totes and string bags for produce, Eco-Bags is your one stop shop for bags that will last. I’ve only just recently come to understand the wonders of a well made canvas bag, and I have to say they’re so much better than those flimsy polyester grocery totes they sell in the grocery store checkout line.
Note that when it comes to buying “zero waste” storage products, these items are likely not produced using zero waste practices. Rather, they ensure that, in the long term, you will become less reliant on single use plastic and other non-biodegradable or wasteful disposables. It’s important not to over-consume zero waste products because they still create waste during production. Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.