How to make little changes that have a positive impact to our planet
Sustainability is back on the agenda for 2021, with consumers demanding that brands show more responsibility for the environmental landscape, and are being held accountable for their choices. Debbie Plumridge, founder of Shop No Plastic, discusses.
More than two-thirds of the British public vowed to be more environmentally friendly this year according to a survey carried out by E.ON UK, which is music to our ears. Companies now have to make some big decisions on everything from manufacturing, sourcing of materials and packaging or risk being left behind in a consumer driven landscape. So how do we assess a product’s eco-friendliness?
The first question to ask is if the product is produced sustainably, for example, using renewable energy to power factories, reducing water usage during the production process, and using paper and wood sourced from certified sustainable forests.
Then we need to ascertain if materials are ethically sourced? Ethical questions include are the items made with fair working conditions, and are the workers being paid fairly for their services?
We need to ensure there is sustainability through longevity – we have become a throw-away society, buying for convenience rather than staying power, and to address sustainability, we need to make choices on the length of life the product will have.
Sustainability through longevity helps offset the carbon footprint by designing products to last.
Does the manufacturer/supplier support eco-initiatives, e.g. Plant a tree, WWF, MCS UK, Water Aid, Period Poverty to name just a few? A lot of companies are invested in counteracting what they take by giving back to the world, and these are companies we need to choose. Our purchasing power can influence the decisions these brands are making,
Other aspects to consider include: Is the product cruelty-free, vegan friendly, made from recycled material? Is the packaging eco-friendly? Can the product be purchased locally?
Changing habits of a lifetime takes time and perseverance, and my advice to anyone who would like to reduce plastic would be to take it slowly. We all make mistakes along the way, and unless you are very disciplined and want to progress to zero waste, there will be some products you will feel you can't replace.
Choosing companies that have a commitment to helping the environment and saving the planet is easy to do, and by making small changes we can all reduce the impact we are leaving on our world, and protect it for future generations.