What makes something sustainable?
The word sustainable gets thrown A-LOT these days but what does it actually mean?
Well, according to EPA its "Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimise negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources. Sustainable manufacturing also enhances employee, community and product safety"
In short - the more resources, labour and carbon it takes to make something, the worse it is for the environment.
So what should you look out for?
What is it made from? Plastics and non biodegradable materials require a lot of carbon to produce and take decades to break down. If like our bags, the materials used are from waste sources, then this increases the longevity of a material AND diversion from landfill/ waste outlets... making it more sustainable than making something new.
Where was it made? Is it being shipping from China or other corner of the world? And how is shipped to you? If by air... consider the emissions used to get it to you.
Who made it? Where is your money going? If you can find out the factory where something is made, then great! See how your money could be benefit a local factory
How was it made? Interesting one this - sometimes factories will send products to other FACTORIES... so the product your buying could've covered some serious KMs before getting to you. And what sort of culture does the company have? Are they adopting new technologies, paying a good wage and generally quite progressive? If you can unearth supply chain information like this, then you'll have a clearer understanding of how something is made.
Will it last? When are you likely to need another one? Many companies obviously want you to buy more stuff from them. The longer something lasts the less resources are required to make more. More and more companies are offering repair services and lifetime guarantees.
Ever since we started making bags in 2012, we wanted to make sure our bags were as sustainable as possible by increasing the lifecycle of the materials we repurpose. We also went in search of factories that made products to a very high standard to ensure our products lasted years!
Too many companies are using the word sustainable as a smokescreen to cover up unsustainable practices. This is commonly called "greenwashing".
How can we combat this? Well It's up to you (yes you, the customer) to call them out when you think they're trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Over and out.