Plastics and packaging seem to have been very much in the media focus since the start of this year, with hundreds of MP's calling on supermarkets to reduce packaging and putting curbs on plastic bottle and packaging waste. This is an attempt to protect the seas from the "devastating effects" of plastic pollution, evidence of which is being washed up daily on our beaches.
Our little Cornish village, Perranporth, has a beautiful three mile long beach and each year the plastic washed up is gradually getting worse; sadly we have seen a number of seals entangled in this waste and it's heart breaking to think this is all man's doing. Proudly Perranporth has just achieved Plastic Free Coastline Status becoming the 2nd in Cornwall and the 5th in the Country to gain this status. How cool is that!!
Plastic Free Coastlines Perranporth are doing a commendable job in raising awareness with their volunteer work and groups in the local area. They are also organising beach cleans on a regular basis, so if you live in our area pop on down and join this fantastic group of people, who show solidarity in protecting our beaches.
The charity organisation Surfers Against Sewage have been around for many years and have highlighted this problem with their fantastic work and organised beach cleans whilst raising awareness and educating about the plight of pollution on our beaches.
At Seathrift Preloved we strive to promote a sustainable ethos, and love the fact that the majority of the clothes we sell are second hand. Recycling our lovely ladies items gives us great pleasure in the knowledge that extending the life of each garment is reducing our carbon foot print. Surely it makes common sense to buy quality second hand items, rather than cheap fast fashion that is often mass produced in factories using cheap labour.
This brings me to my next point, plastics in fashion!! Man-made fibres were first introduced to us back in the 1930's with the introduction of nylon, a revolutionary fabric that was easily manufactured compared to the lengthy process of producing fabrics like cotton, wool and silk. Not only that but it was easier to wash, dry and iron.
Take tights for instance, they were originally made from silk, they were very expensive and laddered easily. With the introduction of the plastic fiber "nylon" it replaced silk in women’s stockings, which themselves took on the generic name "nylons."
Over the years more and more man-made materials have been introduced into the fashion industry, many of them containing plastic and fibres that will not degrade and will end up in land fill sites and eventually our seas. If we all looked at the labels in the clothes we are wearing right now, the fabrics would have a certain percentage of man-made fabrics containing plastic. Nylon, lycra, rayon, polyester, spandex, chiffon, viscose, sequins, glitter, lace, acrylic ..... the list goes on! Just think about everything we wear from our head to our toes, from our shoes to our sunglasses!
So what can we do to help?
We are not saying go through your wardrobe and throw out any garments that aren't ethically made from natural fibres, that in itself will only exacerbate the situation, but maybe just think before you buy! Think about waste and the products that are used, think about looking after your garments and making them last, think about washing at low temperatures, think about buying from second hand stores or having a clothes party to recycle with friends, and where possible buy garments that will be sustainable. Maybe next time you need new glasses, just replace the lenses and not the frames, or if you need new shoes or boots, get them re-heeled instead of buying new.
WRAP UK have some fantastic guidelines to help with recycling and reusing, particularly with clothes. They have introduced SCAP, a "Sustainable, Clothing Action Plan" revolutionising the clothing industry, using collective action to minimise the environmental impact of our clothes. It's worth a read and is certainly food for thought.
What are we doing?
Here at Seathrift Preloved HQ we are taking steps to reduce our plastic waste and environmental impact also. We are very mindful of how we dispose of any business waste, and we donate any unsold items to charity, giving them yet another opportunity to be recycled. We currently use plastic bags but are phasing them out and replacing them with recyclable paper carrier bags (although we do encourage you to use your own reusable bag). We have stopped using plastic mailing bags for our on-line orders, and use plain recyclable paper instead. Did you know it takes nearly 100 years for a plastic bag to fully degrade.... that's horrific!! We also use wooden coat hangers and all of the shops fixtures and fittings are made either from driftwood or recycled scaffolding boards, including our sign!!
Hopefully in the future we will see much less plastic waste in our seas and on our beaches, in the meantime we can all do our best to help to improve and preserve our coastlines.
This brings us back to our favourite Aesops' quote: