How to reduce your carbon footprint: FOOD

how to reduce your cabron footprint

If you’ve already taken a carbon calculator test, you should know approximately what the emissions are for your diet. If not, here’s a list of different ways of eating and how big or small the carbon emissions are per person per year.


Diet

The charts above are very clear and it might not come as a surprise to many of you that a plant-based diet is more climate-friendly.

Now, I’m not going to push you all to become vegan. But I do hope you will try to eat fewer animal products and more plants. It’s better for your health, the animals and the planet.

Meat production has increased 4 times in the last 50 years. And in many countries, it is common to eat some sort of meat with every meal – breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.

UN experts say that to be able to eat meat in a sustainable way, we should rather aim for having meat for ONE meal a WEEK.

Cow and lamb meat are the worst when it comes to environmental impact and should be cut down dramatically to reduce your personal emissions.

But it’s so much bigger than just about the amount of CO2 it creates. It’s not even all about the greenhouse gases (cow farts release high quantities of methane gas, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide).

The consumption of animal products is also the main cause of deforestation in the rainforest. One of the planet’s most vital “lungs”, which captures the CO2 to then release oxygen. So the animal agriculture both emits an immense amount of greenhouse gases and remove the natural machines that suck CO2 from the air. It’s a double negative that doesn’t become a positive.

Another part of animal agriculture that worries experts is the high usage of antibiotics, which increases the risk of bacterias building up a resistance to it.


Food Waste

Did you know that 1/3 of all food that is produced for humans goes to waste? Tossing out edible food that took both resources like water, land use and creating greenhouse gases. Just imagine how much CO2 could be saved if we could stop food waste!

But of course, not all food waste happens in the home by us, the consumers. Edible food is first wasted when they don’t fit the aesthetic criteria (being too small, too big or too wonky). And then supermarkets sometimes order more food than they then accept, leaving literally tons of edible food going to waste before it even has a chance to be sold. And then as many of us are already aware of, many grocery stores throw away edible food to either make room for new items on the shelves. One broken egg makes the whole box being thrown away or when one of many vegetables or fruits in a pre-packaged bag is bad, they are all thrown away. Or perhaps it’s food related to holidays like Christmas or Easter that aren’t interesting for consumers after the holiday is over. It’s also common for products to be thrown away when it gets to close to “best before”-date even though the food will be good to eat long after that set date.

It’s calculated that in Sweden, the average worth of edible food thrown out each year per person is €400-600. Not only will minimizing your food waste save the planet, but it will save your wallet too. What would you do with an extra €400-600/year?


Location

Where your food was produced, packaged and shipped from also matters. Some food is flown in, others are shipped by cargo ships and others can be produced locally to where you live!

Try to opt for a diet with products that can and is being grown in the country where you live, or as close to it as possible.


Seasonally

If you opt for food that is in season, it’s both cheaper and there’s no need to grow it in energy-intensive greenhouses. Of course, eating seasonally and locally is the best, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that not all food that is shipped from overseas is in season from where it was grown either. So try to learn, or print a guide that shows you what food is in season when to make it easier for you to plan your meals accordingly.


How it is grown

In the hunt of creating genetically perfect crops and crops that aren’t attacked by any type of insects, the soil was left out of consideration. Monocrops and pesticides stripped the vital soils of nutrition and biodiversity, leaving it unable to

As Project Drawdown puts it:

“Conventional wisdom has long held that the world cannot be fed without chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Evidence points to a new wisdom: The world cannot be fed unless the soil is fed.”

And this is where Regenerative Agriculture comes in.

Unhealthy/dead soil can’t absorb and hold carbon, the ability to hold and infiltrate water decreases which leads to higher risks of drought and floods. The earth also loses its nutritional value and this leads to a loss in life and biodiversity in the soil which makes it hard to impossible to grow food.

When soil is healthy it absorbs carbon, helping to fight climate change. Healthy soil also holds and attracts water more easily. When the soil is healthy the biodiversity and nutrition it high, making it great for growing food.

This means that the way we grow things can either be part of the cause of creating climate change or be one of the most efficient ways to fight it.

Try to research if there are any farms in your country or near you that do regenerative farming and try to support them.

If you want to learn more about Regenerative Agriculture, you can join the nonprofit community Kiss the Ground.

I also recommend this post about Regenerative Agriculture by Holly Rose


Packaging

Plastic has gotten a terrible reputation when it comes to food packaging. And in many cases, the plastic packaging is unnecessary and non-recyclable but what a lot of people miss in this discussion is that the emission of the plastic packaging is tiny compared to the carbon footprint of what is IN the packaging.

Meaning that if the plastic packaging keeps the food fresh for longer and therefore minimizes the risk of food waste, it is saving the planet.

Now, there are of course other issues with plastic than the carbon footprint. It is made from fossil fuels and can’t biodegrade, which basically means it will never disappear completely once its been made. And even if the plastic is recyclable, it should rather be called downcycling, as it can only be recycled very few times, and each time it loses its quality until it is no longer usable.

So when it comes to products that won’t go bad quickly, getting it package free is the best option. But if it comes to fresh produce that quickly go bad – plastic doesn’t necessarily have to be that bad. If it does keep your food waste down, that outweighs the downside to the footprint of the packaging.


Sources:

https://ourworldindata.org/meat-production

https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/food/regenerative-agriculture

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/food-waste

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antibiotic-resistance


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

How to reduce your carbon footprint: Part 1

If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you first need to know how big it is today. You need to know which parts of your footprint are the largest and how large they are in order to shrink it.

It can be extremely hard to know which changes you make that have the biggest impact. Knowing this ensures that you don’t spend most of your time and energy on something that will make a very small difference in relation to your emissions.

That’s why we are creating a series of blog posts showing you how to lower the different parts of an individual’s footprint, with the numbers and comparisons to show you where it might be worth making your changes, as we all have different lifestyles and our carbon footprints are all different.

Step 1 – calculate your carbon footprint

Here are some different tests you can try out. We suggest you try a few of them, as they are all different from each other and will together give a clearer picture of your ecological and carbon footprint.

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

https://www.footprintcalculator.org/

https://www.klimatkalkylatorn.se/ (SWE)

https://klimatkalkylatorn.viskogen.se/ (SWE)

https://www.klimatkontot.se/ (SWE)

https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ (UK)

https://www.conservation.org/carbon-footprint-calculator#/ (US)

https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/consider-your-impact/carbon-calculator/ (US)


In the upcoming parts, we will dig into the different categories below, providing examples of changes you can make and how much of a difference they can have.

Housing

Transport

Food

Consumption

Money/Savings

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

what is planned obsolescence made to break


British Dictionary definitions for planned obsolescence:

The policy of deliberately limiting the life of a product in order to encourage the purchaser to replace it: Also called: built-in obsolescence.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

Contrived durability

This kind of planned obsolescence is of using physical material that will break or deteriorate faster than other options.

An example of this in electronics is for producers to purposely choose to use cheap plastic or soft metals that have a shorter lifespan than other alternatives and therefore making the product less durable.

Prevention of repair

This a well known planned obsolescence used by for example Apple, where it’s hard to repair or change battery, where you need special tools to even unscrew the screws used in the devices making it even harder for customers to repair themselves.

When the products are made difficult to impossible to repair yourself, it is often cheaper to buy a new product than to pay a specialist to repair it.

Batteries is one of the most common pieces of electronics that are prevented to be repaired. While the design of phones for example can be thinner when the battery is placed in a way to be irreplaceable, making the phone itself stuck with an aging battery and therefor losing it’s quality while the rest of the phone is still fully functioning.

The lowered battery performance is often one of the main reasons people feel the need to renew to a new phone, since getting a new battery isn’t a choice, and in many cases if it is replaces the warranty of the product can be lost.

PS. Are you looking to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world? We would love to help! Take responsibility for the carbon footprint of your lifestyle now!

Perceived obsolescence

This is an obsolescence where consumers are made to think their product is no longer desirable or that it is old and out of fashion.

This is very common in fast fashion but also in the technology business, especially when in comes to mobile phones. Releasing new models once or more a year, with slightly better software or slightly different design quickly makes your new phone several seasons old.

Systemic obsolescence

This technique is to systematically make a product obsolete by altering systems or functions that won’t work with the older products.

Such as no longer being able to maintain or where the manufacturer stop supporting the systems.

Some examples:

New software updates that don’t work on older models or where old software programs don’t work on newer models as deliberate choice by the manufacturers.

Another example is where they remove their service to repair products of a certain age, and this is typically a problem with products that are designed not to be repaired by the consumer. Like with a built in battery for example.

However, luckily there are third parties who offer their service to repair most type of technology.

Programmed obsolescence

This is a very lucrative kind of obsolescence, where the products are programmed to stop functioning after a certain amount of uses. Such as x hours of use or x amount of printed papers on a printer.

Obsolescence by depletion

This example is where the products rely on secondary consumables.

One of the most common examples of this is the toners for printers that seem to come in an infinite amount of shapes. The manufacturers stop producing ink/toners for printer models after a certain amount of time, making it harder to find toners for your specific printer with time. Ending up creating a need to get an entirely new printer.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO COMBAT PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE?

France has recently taken strong measures against planned obsolescence, and businessmen will be liable to prison sentences and companies will be liable to fines of up to €300,000 if these kinds of practices are found to be performed.

  • Demand longer warranties for the products and spare parts guaranteed.
  • Recycle our electronic waste properly and demand manufacturers eliminate dangerous substances contained in these products.
  • Support those brands who are creating products that are made to last.
  • Don’t buy new. Go for second hand and vote with your dollars that you do not want to take part in this environmentally destructive business plan.

FOR MORE POSTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRONICS:

E-WASTE


MORE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRONICS COMING SOON:

MINING FOR MINERALS

INTERNET IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MODERN SLAVERY IN THE ELECTRONICS INDURSTY

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

PS. And remember, if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world, join us by taking responsibility for the carbon footprint of your lifestyle now!


Sources:

https://www.economist.com/news/2009/03/23/planned-obsolescence

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160612-heres-the-truth-about-the-planned-obsolescence-of-tech

https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-planned-obsolescence-definition-examples.html

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/23/were-are-all-losers-to-gadget-industry-built-on-planned-obsolescence

https://www.activesustainability.com/environment/planned-obsolescence-the-serious-problem-of-electronic-waste/

https://lexiconsystems.wordpress.com/tag/systemic-obsolescence/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

E-WASTE

what is e-waste what happens to electronic waste

ELECTRONIC-WASTE

How often do you buy a new phone?

Do you get a new phone when your old one breaks, is beyond repair or just because you want to update to a more modern one?

What do you do with your old phone, laptop or other electronics when they no longer serve you purpose? Do they stay tucked in a drawer somewhere in the house, do you sell it, throw it away or recycle it?

Did you know that electronics contains valuable materials like gold, copper, silver and palladium? As well a lot of metals and materials that are harmful for people, animals and the environment?

Photo is a print screen of Evelina on her phone from the ZDF documentary No Plan B

E-WASTE

When electronic products come to the end of their life, they become waste. Electronic waste.

In 2016, around 45 millions tons of electronics were thrown away.

But what happens to the product once it’s discarded of, or preferably recycled? 

“E-Waste is a term used to cover items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of re-use.”

WHERE DOES THE E-WASTE GO?

There’s a big chance it is shipped off to or dumped in Guiyu, China or Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Some people do run proper businesses recycling the e-waste that is shipped there according to agreements but in many cases, especially in Ghana a lot of the e-waste is illegally dumped there.

In the EU it is illegal to export e-waste to developing countries, and yet a lot of it does end up in these places anyways.

The way it is illegally imported is in disguise as used electronics (for second hand use) but the shipments are filled with or mixed with irreparable e-waste instead.

HOW IS THE WASTE HANDLED AND BY WHOM

In many places where e-waste ends up, it is poorly paid locals who disassemble the electronic waste, often in unsafe ways using toxic chemicals to separate the valuable components.

Many parts of the waste are also being burned, releasing heavy metals like lead, beryllium and cadmium which pollutes the soil, water and air.

While there are known health risks from dealing with lead and mercury, there has been little research on the effects on health and the environment with many of the other elements used in electronics.

But even when e-waste is recycled in safer conditions in countries like Australia, there’s still a high environmental cost from the industrial smelting.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE IT BETTER

The first step in making the life cycle of electronics safer and more sustainable, is to make sure the working electronics you have are being used by you or someone else, to make the need for new electronics smaller and to repair what can be fixed.

The second step is to recycle the electronics that are irreparable, and to make sure it is going to a certified e-recycling facility. When recycled, the components that normally takes mining to retrieve can be reused and therefore save resources and some pollution that comes with the mining. If you want to read an in-detail guide to the recycling of electronics, PCLiquidations offers great advice with a specific focus on the US market.

The third step is to stop changing your electronics before they are beyond repair. The cost of electronics is a lot higher than the price you pay in money.


OTHER POSTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRONICS:

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE


SOURCES:

https://info.mayermetals.com/blog/5-shocking-environmental-effects-of-e-waste

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vianneyvaute/2018/10/29/recycling-is-not-the-answer-to-the-e-waste-crisis/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste

https://www.eterra.com.ng/articles/impacts-e-waste-environment

collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:6349/PiP_Report.pdf


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

I WORE THE SAME DRESS FOR 31 DAYS STRAIGHT

i wore the same dress for a month

I came across “National Simplicity Day” which is all about simplifying your life, whether it’s decluttering your home or using your electronics less.

I saw this as a great opportunity to challenge my outlook on fashion.

I chose to wear one single dress for 30 days straight.

The dress is one of my favourite items – an organic dress from natural fibers that I got second hand from a clothing rental company that was selling off their old clothes to make space for new ones. So this dress has been pre-loved by many others before me.

Just imagine, not getting to or having to spend a single second for a month about what to wear!


30 days has passed, and I even wore the dress on day 31 because I wanted to.

But here’s my thoughts throughout and after this experience.

Oh but first. Yes, I washed the dress during this month. A few times. I have gotten this question so many times, so thought I’d put it here before getting started so you don’t have to read this thinking I walked around smelling bad for a month. Although it is worth mentioning that because the dress is made from natural fibers, airing it out worked perfectly fine the majority of the time.

You can read more on how to take better take care of your clothes so they last longer here:

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CLOTHES LAST LONGER

The Dress

WHY DID I DO THE CHALLENGE?

I personally quit fast fashion several years ago, moved to sustainable and ethical brands. But I realized after a while that it was still using virgin materials in most cases, and that’s when I decided to quit new fashion as well.

Second hand and upcycled clothing are very easy to find these days when you live in larger cities and through thrifting apps or websites.

So I started buying more clothing than ever before. Because it’s thrifted, so I can get as much as possible without any impact, right?

Well, not really true.

I realized I need to go back to my minimalist approach to fashion.


DAY 1

I noticed a change in my behaviour on the first evening. When it was time to go to bed, I hung the dress up instead of throwing it on the ground as I normally do. I felt I had gained a different kind of respect for the item, knowing how important it would be to me the following 29 days.


Things I’ve done in the dress

Worked

Travelled to Stockholm

Travelled to Läckö Castle

Gone on a date

Gone on a second date with the same person, wearing the same dress both times 

Been interviewed on Live TV

On live TV on the Norwegian show God Sommer Norge on TV2

CHALLENGES

I’m not gonna lie.

This wasn’t challenging for me at all.

I only experienced positive things during this month and I’d do it again.

As for weather conditions, I was lucky to not have a pretty stable weather throughout the month, but during colder days or evening I’d jump into a pair of stockings and put a turtleneck under the dress and if needed, a jacket on top.

I think that one of the things that made this challenge so easy was that I chose a garment that I already used a lot and knew that I loved and always felt good in. And that’s how I want all of my wardrobe to be like. Knowing that no matter what I put on, I feel great.

Having fewer items, but where all of them make me feel great when wearing.


WANT TO DO THE SAME CHALLENGE? HERE ARE MY TIPS

  • Choose an item you already wear often and that you always feel great wearing
  • Try to pick an item made from natural fibers

You can read more about natural and synthetic fibers here:

  • Since you’ll be washing the garment in the evening and let air dry during the night, try to opt for one that dries relatively fast
  • You can always mix up the look with the help of accessories and different hair- and makeup styles
  • Tell people about the challenge and why. Not only might it make you feel more comfortable seeing your coworkers or class mates every day wearing the same thing (chances are most people won’t even notice) but it also brings awareness to the cause
  • It doesn’t have to be a dress. It could be a pair of trousers, a blouse or other
  • Looser fit makes it less likely to get the item smelly from arm sweat (cause even with deodorant, it can happen)

For more posts about Fast Fashion check these out:

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

PLASTIC CLOTHING – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A sustainable fashion material guide

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? Here’s what you can do instead

HOW TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY – When you are living a very busy life


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

HOW TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY – When you are living a very busy life

To live a more sustainable and environmentally friendly life, we first need to educate ourselves on what changes we can make and which of our habits are the worst from an environmental perspective. But a lot of people don’t have the time to spend hours researching these things and need short, fast and easy guides on how to make better choices. Parents especially have less time to change to better habits that will be part of making the future for their children better.

So here is a guide on how you can shop what you need more sustainably.


Second Hand shopping online

Location: Not only does online thrifting allow more people to shop sustainably due to lack of time, but also bringing the option to those who do not have physical second hand-stores close to where they live.

Please do keep in mind to try to shop from within your own country, or as close to you as possible to keep the emissions for transportation down.

Search engine: A lot of the apps and websites where you can buy pre-loved items make it easier to find specific things you’re looking for, compared to wandering around in the physical stores trying to find x, y, z. Through the search option, you can search for specific brands, items and sizes. Especially the part of being able to search for sizes makes it easier and more inclusive for people with larger sizes, as most of what is sold in vintage and thrift shops are sizes S-L.

Notification options: If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can in some apps and websites choose to get notifications if an item is added that match your search word. This saves you time so that you don’t have to check for it every single day, but can rely on the notification to let you know.

Follow people with similar taste, size and hobbies: In some apps, like TISE and DEPOP, you can follow specific people making items put out for sale by those people being displayed for you. That way you can create almost like an app that shows you the items of your interests, size and style.


Sustainable and ethical stores

While shopping for items that are already on this earth, to lessen the need fo using new resources, buying pre-owned or upcycled items is not for everyone. Perhaps you are looking for a specific kind of item and you just can’t find it on any of the online thrifting options.

There are stores who’ve made it easy for you to save you time from researching for all brands who use sustainably sourced materials and who used ethical practices for their workers. These stores, which you can find both online and in some cities, have done all of that work for you as they only stock items from brands who make the cut.

As there are many readers here from Sweden, I’ll mention a couple of these physical store options for you here. That way you can try the clothes on before purchasing. These all do have online shops as well for those who do not live in any of those cities.

Stockholm has Ecosphere and Adisgladis for example, and in Gothenburg you have Thrive.

How to find ethical and sustainable brands

  1. You can go to some of these stores who sell only from ethical and sustainable brands, look at their list of what brands they are selling and go onto the websites of those specific brands and see all of their items, as the retailers with many brand only chose a few of the clothings from each brand.
  2. Check out the website and app GOOD ON YOU where they amongst other things, research on different brands and rate them on 3 points – Environmental Impact, Labour Conditions and Animal Welfare. For brands that have been rated badly, they often offer “Good Swap” by showing brands with similar style of clothing but by brands who’ve been rated good.
  3. Follow ethical fashion-gurus on social media. They often mention brands that are good, and call out Greenwashing when deserved. Some people I recommend following for ethical fashion is:

Aja Barber: InstagramPatreon

Verena Erin/My Green Closet: InstagramYoutube

Kristen Leo: InstagramYoutube

Venetia Falconer: Instagram Youtube


For more posts about Fast Fashion check these out:

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

PLASTIC CLOTHING – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A sustainable fashion material guide

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? Here’s what you can do instead

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CLOTHES LAST LONGER


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY

What does Earth Overshoot Day actually mean?

We’ve exceeded the allowed consumption of natural resources available for us in 2019. And this day occurs sooner every year. In 2018 Earth Overshoot Day took place on August the 1st, while this year it was 3 whole days earlier, on July 29th.

Source: Statista

This is the date for when the world had used up its resources, but many countries have their Overshoot Day sooner.

With the rate at which we are using our resources now, we would need 1,75 earths.

If everyone lives as the Americans, we would need 5 earths.

If we all lives as Australians or Swedes, we’d need 4 earths.

By using up our natural resources before they have time to regenerate, we are stealing resources from ourselves, and even more of the children who will grow up in a world where growing food is hard, where fresh drinking water is scarce and where biodiversity is at an alarming low. 

There is a campaign called #MoveTheDate started by Global Footprint Network, where we can all give tips or show how we work to Move The Date forward.


What can be done to lower our impact as a whole?

If we would cut CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning in half, Earth Overshoot Day would occur 93 days later.

If we reduced global meat consumption by 50% and replaced these calories through a vegetarian diet, we would move Overshoot Day 15 days

If every other family in the world had one less child, we would move Overshoot Day 30 days by 2050.

If we reduce our Footprint from driving by 50% around the world and assume one-third of car miles are replaced by public transportation and the rest by biking and walking, Earth Overshoot Day would move back 11.5 days.


To know what you as an individual can do to lower your Footprint, it’s best to take one or a few tests to see in which areas there’s room for improvement. You can take a test to calculate your footprint here:

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR

Source: Overshootday.org


10 things you can do to lower your personal footprint

1. Carbon offset your lifestyle. You can do that here on GoClimate.org

2. Fly less, or much better – don’t fly at all. At least skip the leisure flight trips

3. Skip animal products. Beef is the worst, but the entire animal agriculture industry is one of the most harmful to our planet in more ways than just carbon emissions.

4. Shop less. We buy way too many things these days, which is made by using resources we now need to be extra careful with. And then the shipping across the world has a toll as well. Only buy what you need, and try to get it second hand.

You can get tips on how to shop less newly produced things here:

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD

5. Where does your money go? Most banks fund industries which most people would never knowingly support. Like the fossil fuel industry as well as weapon industry to name a couple. Look over your savings and try to move them to a bank that invest in a brighter and greener future.

6. Sell your car, if you have one. Is it possible for you to walk, cycle or take public transportation to work/school? Then save money and the planet by selling your car. You will then only drive when absolutely necessary and then you can borrow or rent a car. If you can’t get rid of your car, try to fill it when you use it. Try not to drive alone. Do you have any neighbors going the same way? Any colleagues who live one the way to work you could pick up?

7. Live smaller or with more people. A lot of energy goes into warming and/or cooling your home. The more people per square meter, the better. A bonus is that mental health often improves when living with others.

8. Waste less food. While avoiding plastic packaging might be getting more attention when coming to food when trying to live more sustainably – the food wasted has a way bigger impact than the actual packaging. Here’s a post where you can read on some things you can do with your food waste instead of throwing it away: http://www.earthwanderess.com/stop-food-waste/

9. Switch to green energy

10. Use your technology less. The internet requires an immense amount of energy so use it shorter and use it wisely. The tech industry is not sustainable at all, and you can expect some posts about that in more details during August.


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CLOTHES LAST LONGER


Nowadays clothing has become somewhat disposable. The majority of the clothing produced today are made with poor quality, without longevity in mind and in many cases even planned obsolescence(made to break within a certain time with the intent to create a need for the customers to buy new)

This is a guide of how you can give your clothing a longer life, keeping them looking new for as long as possible.

REPAIR

  • Do it yourself if you have the skills or if its small and can be done by hand. Or you can look for guider or videos online to see how you can fix something yourself even if you haven’t done it before
  • Get a professional to do it. Support your local tailors.
  • Opt for visible repair, partially because you don’t have to worry about the mending looking perfect but it also adds to encourage fixing what’s broken. Let’s make it a trend! #VisibleRepair is a very active hashtag, so you can find a lot of inspiration of what you can do on Pinterest or Instagram.
  • Remove pilling to make your garments look like new again. Rent, borrow or buy a pilling machine, or try using a razor to see if that works.
  • Repair as soon as possible, so it doesn’t get worse and therefor harder to fix.
  • Dye bath when colours are faded instead of buying new
  • Cover stains instead of throwing away if they won’t go away with any tricks. Another version of Visible Mending. Maybe use iron-on-pads or find other creative ways to cover those stains.
  • Snip loose strings and threads as soon as you see them (I know it may be tempting to pull in those loose threads, but that can actually make the problem worse. Snip the thread off as soon as you notice it.)

LAUNDRY

  • Wash less often (Washing adds wear and tear to your clothes. While necessary when clothes are dirty, unnecessary washing shortens the life of your garments.)
  • Always check label guidelines to make sure you are following instructions
  • Liquid laundry detergent wears off the fabric less than a powdered one
  • Wash with colder water
  • Skip the fabric softener/conditioner
  • Hand wash if possible
  • Use a lower spin cycle
  • Wash your garments inside out
  • Air dry (direct sunlight can fade colours) If you have the time, drying in natural sunlight and air is usually best. Dry whites outside and dark colours indoors. 
  • Always wash similar colours to remain the garments colours as long as possible
  • Use delicates bags for your extra sensitive items, like lace underwear

DAY TO DAY

  • Hang or fold correctly (try to fold along the seams of the garment)
  • Airing your clothes can be enough for several uses with natural fibered clothing
  • Use a steamer instead of an iron – or hang garments in shower room when usingth shower or spray with water, hang up & let wrinkles unfold with the help of gravity
  • Spot clean small stains instead of washing the whole garment
  • Invest in good hangers as the thin ones can cause the shoulder parts of your clothing to misshape
  • Store clothes in a dry space
  • Fold your knitwear. The weight of jumpers can cause them to lose their shape.

BUY QUALITY

  • Materials that don’t smell, can me aired out. You can read our guide on materials here:

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A Sustainable Fashion Material Guide

  • Quality that stay in shape and don’t lose colour etc
  • Also holds a better second hand value

Here is a great video giving tips on how you can recognize quality clothing:


For more posts about Fast Fashion check these out:

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

PLASTIC CLOTHING – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A sustainable fashion material guide

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? Here’s what you can do instead

HOW TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY – When you are living a very busy life


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD

Whether it’s for financial or environmental reasons, you may consider doing a period of not purchasing any new stuff, or at least new clothes. But how do you keep your love or need for fashion if you don’t shop anymore?

There are actually several different option, so here’s a guide for you, along with some tips of apps and website where you can thrift, swap or even get things for free.

Picture by: Caroline Franksjö

SECOND HAND

Buying second hand is a great option to get (to you) new clothes considering the situation we’re in where the business models of fashion is to produce an abundance in clothing, using precious resources, land and energy.

It’s a lot better to use what we already have than to use new resources.

As second hand shopping is become more popular, I’m hoping that people will shop their clothes with the second hand value in mind. Quality will keep its value for a long time, while cheap and poor quality fast fashion items will have little to no value after a short time of being used.

In a world where we every day get marketing in our faces of what is trendy and not, avoiding trends and looking to thrift stores makes it easier to find your own personal style.

The downside to shopping second hand online is that you can’t try things on before buying it. But there are many pros about thrifting online, like being able to search for specific items and sizes, saving time and for many people – stress, and of course not everyone have many second hand shops near them. In some website or apps you can even set to get a reminder if a specific item comes up for sale.

But please do keep in mind the shipping when purchasing online. While thrifting is a sustainable way to buy clothing, if you have them shipped from far away the carbon footprint of the transportation could become quite large. So try to buy second hand as locally as possible.

I know it can take some time and getting used to the idea of buying pre-used clothes. Personally I used to get very stressed by being in thrift shops as they were often disorganised and very busy. When I was younger I used to think it was unhygienic.But can we just take a moment to address that a lot of the people who think it’s not fresh to buy used clothes seem to have no issues staying in hotels, sleeping in sheets slept in by hundreds of people before them, or eating at restaurants with glasses and cutlery also been used by hundreds, if not thousands of people. Clothes can be washed too, right!?

Here are some links to where you can thrift online. These are just a few options, there are so many more and as thrifting is becoming more popular, even more are popping up. Use your computer or phone to find options near you, both for physical and online stores.

There’s a separate list for swedish apps and websites, as we have a majority of Swedish readers at the moment.

ONLINE:

Facebook Market

Facebook groups

Depop (app only)

Ebay

Poshmark

ThredUp

Swap.com

Swedish:

Tise (app only)

Blocket

Tradera

Varié

Myrorna Webshop

Sellpy

Erikshjälpen webshop

SWAP

One person’s trash is another one’s treasure

Have some clothes in your wardrobe that you’re not using? Perhaps they don’t fit anymore, your style has changed or you’ve grown tired of it. Well, most people do and just imagine what treasures are out there not being used and appreciated.

Want new stuff but don’t want to spend money?

Let me walk you through the concept of a clothing swap.

Either organised by a company, organisation or simply between friends – people bring clothes they no longer enjoy or can use and then you can swap with each other.

A strategy used by Stories behind things of which I’ve been to a clothing swap event, you leave your things and get tokens for them. Depending on what kind of item, quality and brand you get different amount of tokens. This way there will be no loss in bringing quality items, as you could get either another high quality item or several more simple items. As long as they’re whole and in good condition you can leave them for tokens.

The items then have a “price” of x tokens, depending on the qualities mentioned above.

Do some online searching to see if there are any clothing swap events or organisers near you, or you can check out an app called Bunz which works in a similar way. It’s based on users actually using it, so in some places there’s no one who’s gotten started yet but if you start by putting your things in and then encourage others in your area to join too, you can swap that way.

Or why not create an event with some friend who have similar sizes and do it less formal over dinner or coffee.

ONLINE:

Bunz

Source: Stories Behind Things

GET FOR FREE

Another way to get things for free is to simply ask your friends and family if they have anything they’re not using and ask if you can look through it and pick some stuff, either to keep or simply to borrow from them.

There’s actually people giving things away for free somtimes. Check to see if there’s a local facebook group of people giving things they no longer want for free, or on market place in your area as some people put things up there too.

Especially after the hit series Marie Kondo where she shows how to declutter and get rid of stuff, more people than ever are getting rid of their belongings so get more space (physically and mentally) in their home.

ONLINE:

Facebook market

Facebook groups

RENT

Sharing economy is a term for a way of distributing goods and services, a way that differs from the traditional model of corporations hiring employees and selling products to consumers. In the sharing economy, individuals are said to rent or “share” things like their cars, homes and personal time to other individuals in a peer-to-peer fashion.” – Wikipedia

As our resources and the use of them are becoming more crucial, the idea of a shared economy where co-owning an renting rather than everyone owning everything themselves is becoming increasingly popular.

The time for buying an entirely new outfit for a single event became more accessible and popular with the growth of fast fashion brands offering the latest fashion for an unreasonably low price needs to end. You can read more about what fast fashion is here and why it is so important that that business model changes.

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

If you ever need to wear something once for a specific event, like a job interview or a wedding, or if you just really like to dress in different items often, clothing rental is just the thing for you.

Clothing rental is no longer just about renting tuxedos or fancy maid of honour dresses. It is becoming more common with rental companies offering more day to day clothing, an instead of just for one specific event, to subscribe and use the rental as more of a clothing library where you can borrow new items every month.

Perhaps you find something you really like and want to invest in, but want to try it out in person before making the commitment to buy an item that is rather expensive (as the quality and working conditions most likely are much better than the fast fashion options most people wear these days)

Here are some options to clothing rental companies in the UK, US, Australia and Sweden. But there are many more options out there so search online to find what options there are near you. Remember that it is not sustainable to keep shipping clothes for swaping or thrifting across the world, so try to find an option as locally as possible.

ONLINE:

Hirestreet (UK)

HURR Collective (UK)

Gwynnie Bee (US)

Rent the runway (US)

Armoire (US)

Her Wardrobe (AUS)

Glam Corner (AUS)

Swedish:

Somethingborrowed

Sabinaandfriends

Kladoteket

Stadsmissionens REMAKE

Houdini Sportswear

REPAIR

Do you too have a pile of clothing that you love but need some kind of repairing or alterations?

If the mending it beyond your personal skills, you can either ask someone you know who does, or you can support your local tailors.

The same goes for altering clothing. Maybe you have some items you love but they need to be shortened, sewn in or in other ways be modified. Try doing it yourself or as mentioned above – take it to a tailor to make it fit you as perfect as possible with the help of a professional.

Have a stain you can’t get rid of? Hide it with a pin, pad or do something called visible mending – an upcoming trend to make the mending of your clothes obvious but do it in a creative way. For inspiration see the hashtag on Instagram or Pinterest.

In Sweden, there’s a repair company called Repamera where you can send your clothes for mending that requires the skills of a professional, they fix it and send it back to you. There might be a similar option in your town or country, so that could be worth checking out if you don’t have a physical tailor close to where you live.

REMAKE or UPCYCLE – alter clothes or fabrics to new items. There are also plenty of brands and people creating new clothes from fabric scraps or other unused old fabrics. Search online to find what options there are near you!

Here’s a pyrmaid to keep in mind when wanting or needing something


For more posts about Fast Fashion check these out:

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

PLASTIC CLOTHING – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A sustainable fashion material guide

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CLOTHES LAST LONGER

HOW TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY – When you are living a very busy life


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A Sustainable Fashion Material Guide

When it comes to buying clothing, the material can matter even though it’s second hand and after reading this blog post you will understand why and have some tools as to what to think about when you buy new clothes – thrifted or new.

PS. Are you looking to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world? We would love to help! Take responsibility for the carbon footprint of your lifestyle now!

There are two types of textile fibers. Natural and synthetic.

The natural fibers comes from nature, like cotton and flax or from animals, like silk and wool.

Synthetic fibers are, well, made from synthetic fibers.

There’s also something that is often referred to as semi-synthetic which are made from natural materials like cellulosa from trees but the fibers are made artificially.

The most common synthetic fibers are made from fossil fuels, the most common material is known as polyester.

Source: sweguide.com

SYNTHETHIC FIBERS

ACRYLIC:

Acrylic is artificially made by petroleum and is a kind of plastic. In the making of acrylic, it takes a lot of toxic chemicals and needs a lot of resources which makes this kind of synthetic fibers one of the worst in terms of environment.

The fabric is very sensitive to heat and often gets pills, those tiny little balls appearing on the surface of the fabric.

As with all synthetic fibers, they release tiny microplastics when they are washed which are entering the water systems, out into the ocean creating a lot of health issues for animals an humans alike. You can read more about how to handle synthetic fibers to minimise the release of microplastics into our waters here:

Plastic clothing – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

+

  • Warm
  • Machine washable
  • Cheap
  • Lightweight

  • Pills easily
  • Doesn’t breathe
  • Static builds up easily
  • Can’t be recycled and is not biodegradable
  • Release microplastics
  • Energy intensive
  • Highly polluting and uses toxic chemicals

ELASTANE / LYCRA / SPANDEX:

This material is super stretchy and is very often mixed in with other fibers to make the clothing more elastic, both natural and other synthetic materials.

+

  • Very stretchy
  • Helps to keep the shape of clothing
  • Great to give a snug fit
  • Perfect for swimwear and tight athletic wear

  • Loses stretchiness and quality over time(with good quality it can stay elastic for very long though)
  • Release microplastics
  • Energy intensive
  • Highly polluting and uses toxic chemicals

NYLON / POLYAMIDE:

The only difference is that nylon a name by a company and the fiber is polyamid.

Polyamid is a strong and elastic material that doesn’t wrinkle.

+

  • Strong and durable
  • Weather resistant, makes for great windbreaker or rain jacket
  • Machine washable 
  • Cheap
  • Versatile

  • Non biodegradable
  • Release microplastics
  • Toxic chemicals are used
  • Polluting
  • Energy intensive

POLYESTER:

This is not only the most common synthetic fiber, but nowadays the most common fibre in clothing overall. Especially used in Fast Fashion, as it is such a cheap and versatile material. You can read more about Fast Fashion here:

What is Fast Fashion

  • Cheap
  • Durable
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Colours last
  • Hydrophobic which means it dries fast
  • Keeps its shape

  • Release microplastics when washed
  • Heat sensitive
  • Static easily builds up
  • Doesn’t breathe
  • Doesn’t biodegrade
  • Loses a lot of its quality when recycled
  • Toxic chemicals are used
  • Highly polluting
  • Energy intensive

NATURAL FIBERS

PLANT BASED

COTTON:

The most common material for clothing and while this is a natural fibre and can be grown organically without pesticides the cotton plant need a colossal amount of water to grow.

Properties: It takes up moisture easily which makes it good as towels or sheets but makes it not so good for workout clothing or swimwear as it soaks up the water and becomes very heavy. It also wrinkles easily.

+

  • Soft
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Good moisture absorption 

  • Needs a lot of water to grow
  • Tendency to shrink
  • The biggest need for pesticides
  • If organic it need even more water and land to grow
  • Loses a lot of its quality when recycled

HEMP:

Hemp comes from the plant Cannabis Sativa and it might be the most sustainable and environmentally friendly option for textile and had been around for 10.000 years although it is not as common anymore due to law regulations of growing the plants.

Growing it is easy as it doesn’t need that much nutrition in the soil, and there’s no need for pesticides either. It can even be good for the land to grow the material as it binds the soil with its long roots, helping to prevent soil erosion. It’s also a nature fiber that is completely biodegradable and requires very little chemicals to create the fabric. The material is stronger than cotton and resembles linen is aesthetics.

So why is hemp such an unusual material in clothing, you might ask.

It wasn’t always like that. Linen and hemp were the most common materials in clothing way back and there are many theories in why hemp has been criminalised to grow in many parts of the world.

+

  • 3x stronger than cotton
  • UV resistant
  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Can be grown without fertilizer or pesticides
  • Doesn’t need that much water to grow
  • It binds the soil with its long roots, helping to prevent soil erosion
  • Grows fast
  • Completely natural and easy to recycle
  • Softens more over time

  • Can sometimes be rough
  • Wrinkles easily
  • Hard to find as it is illegal to grow in many parts of the world

FLAX(LINEN):

The fabric linen is made from flax and comes from the stem of the flower of the plant. It’s a pretty stiff fabric and looks similar to the fabric made from hemp.

It’s not necessary to use pesticides when growing flax as it can grow in quite cold climates, where the risk of vermin is much smaller.

The process of making the linen is a time consuming process which can often bring up the price of it.

From an environmental point of view I’d call linen the second best material after hemp.

+

  • Extremely breathable
  • Perfect for hot weather and keeps you 3-4 degrees cooler than cotton
  • Very strong & durable. 2x as strong as cotton
  • Can be grown without fertilizer or pesticides
  • Doesn’t need that much water to grow
  • Completely natural, biodegradable and easy to recycle

  • Wrinkles very easily
  • Often needs special and delicate care
  • Sometimes is dyed with toxic chemicals

ANIMAL BASED

WOOL:

When speaking of wool it is from the sheep, other wools normally go under other names, like Angora from the Angora Rabbit or Cashmere from the goats originating from the area Kashmir in India. They all have similar properties though, and here they are:

+

  • Strong
  • Good for both hot & cold climates
  • Dirt & dust resistant
  • Breathable
  • Fire resistant
  • Water resistant
  • Absorbent

  • Shrinks easily
  • Can be itchy
  • Often requires special care
  • Can pill
  • Not vegan
  • Sometimes Mulesing* is used which is highly unethical
  • Many sheeps have been over bred, causing them pain and suffering

*Mulesing:

Mulesing is where they cut of, not just the wool but the whole skin around the anal anal an tail area of the sheep. As you can understand, this is considered highly unethical.

This is a technique used mainly in Australia and New Zealand to prevent a parasitic infection by fly larvae especially common among the merino sheep. As they have bred the merino sheep so hard to grow more wool, giving them wrinkly skin which can not only make some sheep collapse or die from heat exhaustion during hot summer months, but urine and moisture gets caught in the heavy wool and wrinkles which attracts the flies who lay their eggs in their skin. When the fly larvae has hatched it starts eating the skin on the sheep and that’s how the infection happens.

Luckily, New Zealand recently (October 1st, 2018) passed a new law to ban Mulesing. Now let’s hope Australia follows, as they are the biggest producer of wool in the world. 

ALPACA:

This is a type of wool from the animal called Alpaca, who originates from the Andes in South America. It’s a very soft kind of wool and is in many cases better for those with allergies as it, unlike sheep wool doesn’t contain wool grease. It has a very small environmental impact.

ANGORA:

The angora wool comes from the angora rabbits. It is an incredibly soft wool but even though it is possible to cut the hair off of the rabbits, there’s far too many cases where it is pulled off of the animals, causing them immense pain and suffering.

CASHMERE:

This material comes from goats living in Asia, originating in the indian region Kashmir. While the fabric is made from the shedded wool after the winter season, the goats themselves are not very good for the environment for the fact that they tear up the roots from the grass they eat, which eliminates the protection from soil erosion and water washing away the nutrients in the soil, turning the land into desert like landscapes.

Cashmere is a very soft material and if often quite pricey.

SILK:

Silk is made from the cocoon of silkworms. The most common kind is called Mulberry Silkworm. The textile was invented in China as long as 8.500 years ago.

+

  • Soft
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • Very strong
  • Good for both hot & cold climates
  • Is biodegradable and can be recycled

  • Expensive
  • Often boil the worms alive
  • Wrinkles easily

SEMI-SYNTHETIC FIBERS

VISCOSE/RAYON:

Viscose is made from cellulose from wood pulp. And while this material is natural, the process of making it into fibers involves a lot of toxic chemicals, therefore it is in its own subcategory of being a semi-synthetic fibre.

There are different kinds of viscose, depending on the process or what material the cellulose is derived from. The most common material is wood pulp from the fir tree from the Pine family, when beechwood is used it is called Modal.

+

  • Soft
  • Cheap
  • Absorbent
  • Anti-static

  • Wrinkles
  • Not very durable and easily lose its shape
  • Pills easily
  • Can cause deforestation
  • Toxic chemicals used

BAMBOO:

Bamboo has a great reputation in the sustainability market, as it grows extremely fast and doesn’t need pesticides to grow.

However the process of making the bamboo into fibers for textile requires a large amount of chemicals, many of them extremely toxic. Like carbon disulfide which is known to cause birth defects and difficulties procreating. It’s said to get 1 kg of bamboo viscose, it takes about 5,5 kg of chemicals.

+

  • Very soft
  • Breathable and absorbent
  • Plant grows very fast
  • Doesn’t require a lot of water or pesticides

  • Energy intensive
  • Requires a lot of toxic chemicals to make fibers

LYOCELL/TENCEL:

The difference from viscose is that Lyocell and Tencel are made in a closed loop system, so the chemicals are recycled. Tencel is like Lyocell but is an Austrian trademark and with this you can be sure the wood used is FSC certified.

  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Absorbent
  • Soft
  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Versatile
  • Biodegradable
  • Responsible of their toxic chemical use
  • Strong and machine washable

  • Energy intensive
  • Can lead to deforestation (unless it’s Tencel or specifically marked with FSC)

CUPRO:

This is a semi synthetic fibre, as it is an artificially made fiber made from natural materials coming from the cotton wate. The process is much like the making of the semi synthetic material viscose which you can read more about further down.


For more posts about Fast Fashion check these out:

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

PLASTIC CLOTHING – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? Here’s what you can do instead

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CLOTHES LAST LONGER

HOW TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY – When you are living a very busy life


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

PS. And remember, if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world, join us by taking responsibility for the carbon footprint of your lifestyle now!


Sources:

Svenska Konsumenter

Slowfashion.nu

PETA Australia

Good On You

Verena Erin

Sew guide