We’re all familiar with the Great Barrier Reef—a site of remarkable beauty that is home to the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, but what about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Well you should, because you’ve most likely contributed to it.
Approximately the size of Eastern Australia (twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France), this massive pile of floating garbage (consisting of un-biodegradable materials like plastic) is the largest of five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. Each second, an estimated 1500 plastic water bottles are put in landfill and the ocean. That means, in the past 30 seconds that you took to the read the above, 45,000 plastic bottles were just added to the rapidly growing continent of waste.
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With fashion being one of the largest polluting industries, brands and designers who are taking measures to minimize their carbon footprints need to be named and praised. These five brands are making the world a better place one design at a time:
1. Ralph Lauren
In lieu of Earth Day, Ralph Lauren launched an eco-version of its famous polo shirts, titled Earth Polo— made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and dyed through a process that requires zero water. Each shirt requires an average of 12 bottles which may otherwise end up in the swirling trash pile. Impressed? This is just the beginning for the American fashion House—they are committing to removing at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans, and will make the transition from virgin poly-fibre to recycled poly fibre by 2025. The line will be available globally both on and offline by April 18, 2019.
In 2018, Adidas gave ‘reducing carbon footprints’ a literal spin, producing more than 5 million pairs of shoes containing recycled plastic waste, in partnership with Parley. In that year alone, they also saved more than 40 tons of plastic waste across all boards—from offices to distribution centers, replacing them with more sustainable solutions. This year, they plan to more than double the number of shoes produced with recycled waste and have agreed to reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Check out the Adidas x Parley Collection and learn more about the brand’s sustainable innovations.
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If you’re on team #Nike, you’ll be happy to learn that your favourite sneaker brand too, has a line of shoes made from recycled plastic. In fact, 75% of all Nike shoes and apparel now contain some recycled materials, and of that percentage, Nike Air is one of the brand’s most sustainable innovations. The materials are branded as Nike Grind, born out of recycled manufacturing scraps, plastic bottles and sneakers collected through the company’s Reuse- A- Shoe Program.
Learn more about Nike Grind
Recently founded in 2010, this American clothing retailer is already defying the reign of fast fashion giants such H&M and Zara with its ethical approaches to retailing. Affordable, high-quality and ethically-sourced, fans of the brands include celebrities like royal-of-the-moment, Meghan Markle. Committed to “radical transparency”, Everlane only engages fair-wage factories and offers its customers a glimpse into the hands of those who made the garments. With a price breakdown of each product, every piece of clothing is fully traceable. On top of that, they ship everything without plastic!
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Sturdy yet trendy, this hiking shoe (which has become an airport fashion staple) has joined the sustainable fashion bandwagon, making its own environmentally-conscious footwear. For its S/S ‘18 collection, the global lifestyle brand collaborated with Thread, a certified B Corporation that transforms plastic bottles collected from canals and streets of Haiti and Honduras into fabrics. That’s not all—apart from saving the planet one Timberland at a time, this Timberland x Thread supports some 1,300 bottle pickers in Haiti, promoting transparency into the supply chain.
Learn more about Timberland’s partnership with Thread