When the final episode of David Attenborough's Blue Planet II was aired, viewers were left shocked. The scenes of a pilot whale carrying its dead calf, a calf that had been poisoned by plastic contaminants within its mother's milk, affected the nation.
A massive campaign to get rid of single use plastic straws in all restaurants and bars was set up. It was met with unrivalled success. Even the Queen got involved, banning plastic straws and water bottles from her estate. Paper straws are now found everywhere within the UK, and everyone owns a few tote bags made from recycled materials.
It's one step closer to creating an environmentally friendly world. But surely there's a lot more that can be done to combat the waste in our oceans? Can't we make our clothes and accessories eco-friendly as well?
Wearing eco-friendly clothes doesn't just mean being conscious about the material that they're made from. Sustainable clothing is also concerned with how the fabric and clothes are made.
The resource that it's most important to consider when looking at sustainably sourced clothing is water. Making a single t-shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water. This is good, clean water that could be put to better use elsewhere. Of course all clothing is going to use some amount of water, so nothing you wear will ever be 100% sustainable and eco-friendly. But brands are now looking at reducing the amount of water their fabrics take to make. The more conscious we are about this issue, the more we can work to combat it.
Another avenue to look at is who is making your clothes, and what conditions they are working in. Can a brand really be eco-friendly if they are using sweatshop workers to produce their garments? Or if they are taking a natural material and then dying it using harsh chemicals that pollute the water?
When talking materials, the most sustainable are always vegan. Not only does using vegan fabrics reduce the environmental impact, it also ensures that no animals are ever harmed for what you wear. Here at LaBante, all of our products are 100% vegan, we even use vegan glue!
All of your clothing and accessories have the potential to be made from something more sustainable. It's even possible to get recycled rubber handbags. Lets take a look at some of the best materials to look for when buying eco-friendly clothing or accessories.
Linen has been used for centuries, and recently it's come back into fashion once again. It's great for summer wear because it's so breathable and works to keep you cool in the heat. Made from flax, it uses surprisingly little water to grow, and is also naturally moth resistant.
Everything hemp is popular at the moment. While this material comes from the cannabis plant, it doesn't contain THC. Hemp is another classic material that has been used for years to make ropes. It's great due to the fact that you don't need to use any pesticides on it, cutting down on another harmful environmental factor.
When cotton is organic, it is a wonderfully eco-friendly material. Unfortunately, the majority of cotton that you see on the high street isn't organic, and contains a lot of chemicals. Make sure that you check the labels before buying! Cotton is a great, warm material for winter months.
Vegetable leather is completely vegan, and is made from cotton waste and natural rubber. Not only is it eco-friendly, it also helps sustain the communities who tap the trees for the special tree sap.
Anything that can be recycled to make accessories or clothing is doing its bit to help the environment. If we can get more than one use out of an item, even if it means undergoing further processing, it is still going to be less intensive that producing something new. Even carrying purses made from recycled fabric is a step in the right direction
The clothes and accessories that we wear daily aren't always that eco-friendly, but there are brands out there who are championing this cause. Yet there is one item that still permeates our society. One that has become a symbol for environmental harm. The plastic bag.
In both the UK and the US, it is common to have to pay 5p/5c for every plastic bag that you buy. Yet people still do it, over and over again. Is it because we are just forgetful? Or is it that we don't really care enough about re-using bags?
There are a variety of eco friendly purses as well as eco bags out on the marketplace now. The most common of these is the grocery bag or 'Bag For Life'. Strong and durable, these are made to be used hundreds of times. Removing the need for disposable plastic bags for good.
There are a lot of grocery bags available, from supermarket brand ones, to bespoke made.
Many of the re-usable bags that you see look as if they are just made from a thicker type of plastic, but in general this isn't the case. For example, supermarket brand leader Tesco makes their bags from 100% sugar cane, which is a completely renewable resource that has minimal environmental impact. Not only this, but they are also 100% recyclable. So if you ever do tear one, it can still be reused. Many supermarkets will even replace your bag for you if you bring them in to the store.
Tote bags made from recycled materials have to be one of the most popular options for a shopper. Not only are they great for groceries, they also come in a variety of styles. You can help the environment while looking fashionable doing it. Canvas bags are great to bring anywhere, and it means that you won't be pulling out a bright green or orange bag in the middle of River Island!
The tote bag has been popular for years now. So much so, that you see them almost anywhere. Companies give out tote bags and re-usable water bottles at all of their events, but in reality, how often are these used? And how often do these supposedly environmentally friendly goods end up in landfills?
Another issue with tote bags is their size. Generally, they are too small to help much shopping, and they are a lot less flexible than the plastic that we have become so comfortable with. If fact, a 2014 poll found that over half of us still use plastic bags, even when we own re-usable ones. The rule here is if you have them, use them, but don't buy more than you need.
So we've looked at bags to carry your shopping in, but what about handbags? The staple fashion statement of any girl's closet, the handbag is an accessory that none of us can do without. So why not consider a recycled handbag? Why shouldn't it be an environmental statement as well?
The majority of designer handbags are made from goods that are the opposite of eco-friendly. Using leather and dyed with dangerous chemicals, our trusty laptop bag or clutch was most likely made by someone working in sweatshop conditions. Our handbags are already an item that we use everyday They get re-used often, and aren't going to end up on a landfill after a month. So it makes sense for them to be made from sustainable sources and for us to realise that eco friendly designer handbags are possible. Purses made from recycled materials are available, you just need to know where to look
Here at LaBante, we focus on sustainability. Using recycled materials as much as possible in all of our bags as well as a zero waste packaging system. Not only this, but all of our handbags are 100% vegan! When you carry a LaBante London handbag, you know that the people who made it are working for fair pay, and in good conditions. Check out our range of eco fashion bags now.
Obviously we don't expect everything in your house to be eco-friendly, but buying some staple items that are from sustainable sources is a great way to start. So now you have some clothes in your closet, and purses made from recycled materials. You know that these items have caused minimal impact to the environment during their production.
What's next? Now you can start looking at some of the other items you wear everyday. Sustainable fashion is here to stay, so consider eco-friendly jewellery, and leather free shoes. If we all make some steps towards this, we can make our world a better place, and help the environment too.