After so many years of billions of people mistreating the planet, something needs to be done to reverse the damages. At Bags of EthicsTM we are intent on making positive changes, both to our business, and our lives, in order to reduce things like our single-use plastic consumption, carbon emissions and our non-recyclable waste.
One way in which we can help reverse some of the damage done to our environment is through reducing our single-use plastic consumption.
Approximately 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into the ocean every day, which means that there many now be around 5.25 trillion micro and macro pieces of plastic floating in our oceans. What makes plastic so dangerous is its inability to fully decompose. Plastic will never completely biodegrade, and instead will just be broken down into smaller and smaller pieces – or micro-plastics. These, as well as larger macro-plastics make their way into the watercourse, and end up in our rivers, canals and oceans. With over two thirds of the planet covered by ocean, home to hundreds of thousands of species, these plastics pose a threat to those which inhabit these waters. With 12 million tonnes of plastic making its way into our oceans every year, equivalent to a full rubbish truck load every minute, this plastic pollution is doing its damage in a number of different ways.
Large pieces of plastic are mistaken as food by marine wildlife such as seals, turtles, dolphin and marine birds, which ingest the plastic that then forms a choking hazard, and has catastrophic consequences on the lives of these animals. Larger pieces of plastic such as plastic bottle rings trap many marine animals, which can cause them to drown as they cannot get to the surface for air, or will entangle baby turtles causing their shells to become deformed.
Micro-plastics are also ingested by marine wildlife, which as they are smaller, make their way through the animal’s digestive system, with adverse effects on their health, and their lives. The plastic also poses further reproductive threats to marine wildlife. Plastics contain chemicals that disrupt the hormones and the reproductive ability of marine wildlife.
Images of dead sea-birds with their stomachs filled with plastic populate the internet, and whilst these plastics pose a great threat to all inhabitants of the oceans, they are also going full-circle and making their way back onto our plates. These invisible plastics are being ingested by the people who wasted them, and with a lack of research on the effects of micro-plastics on human health we do not know to what extent this will damage our bodies.
Therefore an effective way of reducing your single-use plastic consumption is by using a reusable bag. All of our bags can be reused over 5000 times, and most are 100% biodegradable. One tote bag will save over 5,000 plastic bags, which if implemented by even a small amount of people would have a dramatic effect on the amount of plastic making its way into our oceans.
Supporting the Planet
Whilst single-use plastic poses a great threat to our oceans, there are also many more human habits which are having an adverse effect on our planet. We have been told for many years that we need to limit our CO2 emissions – and this has now reached a critical point. With the earth’s temperature set to rise by 2.5-10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century, we need to act fast to limit and stop these dramatic temperature increases in order to eradicate issues like melting ice caps and world famine. At Bags of EthicsTM we do everything possible to limit our carbon emissions, such as using less electricity, and where possible shipping orders via sea freight rather than air.
We also offer organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. This means that the farmers who grow the cotton are not using pesticides which contain nitrates – nitrates easily enter the watercourse and have an adverse effect on biodiversity, soil and public health. Other fabrics that we offer have been produced with materials grown by farmers who are part of communities which protect the land they use to grow the cotton. We also use non-toxic inks and dyes that are REACH compliant. REACH is a regulation of the European Union adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals. It also promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce animal testing.
In our offices both in London and India, we encourage our team to be as sustainably minded as possible, both at work and at home. We regularly send around emails with tips on things like how to reduce single-use plastic usage, and encourage recycling within the office. We also have a team lunch every Wednesday which reduces food and packaging waste, and encourages the team to bond over an eco-friendly meal.
We are constantly working on finding new ways to be more eco-minded, sustainable and environmentally friendly. We are always trying to find new materials that are 100% biodegradable, finding more ways to reduce our CO2 emissions, and spreading the message of sustainability in order to educate more people on how they can make small changes that will have a big effect on our planet.
Recently we have been working extremely hard to implement more strategies that will have a positive effect on the environment. We now use 100% renewable energy in the UK as part of our electricity consumption. We have developed a 100% biodegradable lamination inside our bag made from vegetable starch. We do our best to upcycle waste fabric. We have access to Global Recycled Standard Certified recycled cotton and non-woven mesh. Most of our water-based inks are vegetable based, and are also REACH compliant. Our factory no longer pack samples in poly-bags, instead we use cotton envelopes and newspaper stuffing to maintain shape. We encourage sea freight rather than air freight which is practiced by many of our clients. We use one of the premium dyeing houses in India, which is certified by the Environmental Board of India to not cause any toxic effluents. And we have introduced a high-quality vegan leather option, and have vegan certification of our products and production processes. We are still working hard to find more eco-friendly alternatives to our current practices, and will never stop further development in order to benefit the planet.