3 BILLION pairs of feet polluting the planet

Yesterday, I threw away a pair of flip flops. They were still quite new, but the soles have smoothed out with wear and were thus slippery.  They wear out very quickly, these flip flops.  No big deal, as I have another three pairs scattered around. They are very cheap, after all, especially in Thailand. A passable pair of fake Havaianas cost less than £1.50.

But let’s pause to think about this throw-away item of modern life:  a whopping 3 BILLION people wear flip flops, which inevitably end up in oceans.  Here’s a creative project transforming used flip flops into gorgeous art, thereby saving the planet from more pollutants:

 

Cash for old clothes

Whilst we worry about plastics, we seldom worry about old clothes in landfills that are choking up the planet.  Our overconsumption and fast fashion  has brought about a massive rise in textile waste dumped in landfill sites. And these days, garments often have nylon bits in them, that will take 40-50 years to decompose.

My daughter recently sold off her mountain of old clothes at her school’s car boot sale. She was selling almost-new tops, dresses and trousers off for THB20, which is less than 50p. Apart from giving a lot of joy to the new owners, she was also minimising the strain on landfills (and earning herself a little sum in the process as well).

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Recently, John Lewis announced a buy-back scheme for the old clothes it sold:

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You can read the full story here.

We strongly applaud its action and urge more retailers to follow the lead.

But as consumers, we can do our bit by taking the following steps:

  1. Buy less. Resist impulse buying.

  2. Buy ethical. Opt for items of clothing that are ethically sourced and do not rely on slave labour.

  3. Donate.

  4. Re-sell.

  5. Repurpose. Read our article about turning a holey dress into a bag here.

Repurposing a holey dress

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Clothes these days are dirt-cheap. But look closer. What do you see? Sweatshop labour and harmful chemicals polluting the environment. And these cheap dresses don’t last long.

This lovely-looking dress (impulsive beach buy) lasted a few washes – admittedly, I wear them hard – before holes started appearing.

Fortunately, I have a very practical partner-in-crime (Jane) who came up with the idea of repurposing the dress into a reusable cloth bag:

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It took less than 5 minutes to make this (no stitching involved), and I have used my “new” bag twice in the last three days:

…and Jane made a scarf for herself, too 🙂

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Why was she tittering? Watch this video, which gave Jane the inspiration in the first place. Highly recommended (*thumbs up*) and may it inspire you too (*wink wink*).  Looking forward to seeing more repurposed dress-bag around ….. and stay posted for more ideas, giveaways and fun.

Good food from waste food

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In an ideal world, we compost our uneaten fruits and vegetables, including the peelings. But reality is not many of us have a compost heap. Food waste breaks down and emits greenhouse gases in landfills, including not only carbon dioxide (CO2) but methane (CH4) – a gas 25 times more potent than CO2.

You can buy composters (you can read a review of composters for kitchen scraps here):

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Or you can do this:

Keep a “soup bag” in the fridge and fill the with vegetable remnants. Whenever you have chicken carcass or stock bones, you can boil these up to make a really delicious, nutritious and versatile broth that you can use as a soup base or stock. You’ll never need to buy those salt-laden, mass-produced stuff again!  

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Photo: soup bag in my freezer.

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Photo: carrot and celery pulp from juicing is a wonderful soup thickener.

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Photo: simple broth.

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Photo: Gourmet soup from the simple broth made from waste food.

Related post: Leftover Queens

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