Natascha Moy

Plastic Not So Fantastic

Plastic Not So Fantastic

Plastics are made from non-renewable natural resources such as crude oil, gas and coal. According to the 2002 Nolan ITU Report for Environment Australia on Plastic Shopping Bags - Analysis of Levies and Environmental Impacts; just 8.7 plastic checkout bags contain enough embodied petroleum energy to drive a car 1 kilometre.

Plastic bags are recyclable. If plastic is not recycled, this embodied energy is lost from the resource chain.

Use of Plastic Bags in Australia

Plastic bags have been around for 30 years now. It is estimated world wide that 1 trillion bags are used and discarded every year.

Australians use 3.92 billion plastic bags a year, that's over 10 million new bags being used every day. An estimated 3.76 billion bags or 20,700 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in landfill sites throughout Australia every year. Australians dump 7,150 recyclable plastic bags into landfills every minute or 429,000 bags every hour.

It is estimated that around 50 million bags enter the Australian litter stream every year. Unless they are collected, they remain in the environment and accumulate at a staggering rate. If these 50 million plastic bags were made into a single plastic sheet, it would be big enough to cover the Melbourne CBD.

Production of Waste in Australia

Australians are the second highest producers of waste, per person, in the world with each of us sending over 690 kilograms of waste to landfill each year (the United States is the highest waste producer). The amount of waste placed in landfill each year in Australia is enough to cover the state of Victoria.

Plastic Waste and Clean Up Australia Day

Plastic has remained the most common category of rubbish picked up on Clean Up Australia day over the last 20 years. In 2009, it made up 29% of all rubbish found. Of the plastic rubbish found, 17.6% were plastic bags with an average of 40 plastic bags being found at each Clean Up site. 

That means there is an average of half a million shopping bags collected every year on Clean Up Australia day.

What Can I recycle?

There are 2 types of plastic bags:

  1. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bags - They are the thin singlet bags used by over 80% of retailers, including supermarkets. These can be recycled at most supermarkets. Generally they are not collected through your local kerbside recycling, however one or two local councils are currently trialling their collection - contact your local council first to see if they collect plastic bags.
  2. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) bags - These are the thicker bags used by less than 20% of retailers, usually for luxury goods. While they can be recycled there are few collection points. Check with your local council to see if they collect LDPE plastics.

How does plastic litter harm the environment?

Many thousands of marine mammals and seabirds die every year around the world as a result of plastic litter. When the animal dies and decays the plastic is free again to repeat the deadly cycle. There are 2 major reasons that plastic bags are particularly problematic in the litter stream: 
1. They last from 20 - 1 000 years
2. They escape and float easily in air and water, travelling long distances

Litter Outcomes

Because plastic bags last so long, every year, the number of plastic bags in the litter stream increases. Currently, only 3% per cent of plastic bags used in Australia are recycled.

References

(1) Worldwide Home Environmentalists Network home.vicnet.net.au/~when/plastic.htm (2) Environment Australia, Plastic Shopping Bags - Analysis of Levies and Environmental Impacts (Nolan ITU, 2002) www.deh.gov.au/industry/waste/plastic-bags/bags-analysis.html

Hand Loomed Beauty

Hand Loomed Beauty

Here is an exciting sustainable business that is leading the way with its beautiful towels and pestamals made from Certified Organic Cotton and a blend of linen or bamboo. Founder Sandra Huckell fell in love with the craftsmanship she discovered in Turkey and made it her mission to share these beautiful hand crafted products through her online business Agean Loom.

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All the textiles sold through Agean Loom are woven on old-style shuttled looms using natural materials, such as GOTS certified organic cotton, linen, bamboo and silk. All fibres used are Turkish, the artisans are Turkish and all the weaving is done in Turkey. Just 20 years ago, weaving villages around Turkey were full of old-style shuttled looms, many found in family homes. Most of these small businesses have over time gone bankrupt when large manufacturers started to mass produce.

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Aegean Loom, supports the weavers who create handmade, hand-loomed Turkish towels and peshtemals. The quality designs are detailed and unique and are far superior to the manufactured products that look the same. Artisans are located in small villages scattered from the south to the southeast of Turkey, and they preserve the ancient art of weaving, by increasing production and bringing a sense of honour back into the profession.

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Hand-weaving a textile results in a higher quality product than factory-made goods. It benefits individual artisans, weaving families and impacts positively on the community. By encouraging and supporting artisan products we decreases our carbon footprint on the planet. Factories can produce up to 30,000 boucle towels in the same time it takes one artisan to make one boucle towel by hand but these can last up to 25 years if cared for properly. Today, 99.9% of the towels made around the world are made on large machines in large factories.

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Organic cotton is not exposed to harsh chemicals making its absorbency and durability superior to its non organic counterpart. It gets better with age and softer with every wash.

Pestamals

These would have to be the most versatile cloth on the planet, there are so many uses for them from, a picnic rug, perfect for a beach towel, a sarong, a wrap, a shawl, a scarf, take them to the gym, there perfect for traveling as there so light to pack. You can use them to throw over the pram or use them for a baby wrap

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What is G.O.T.S

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain

Founder Sandra Huckell shares her home sustainable tip

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“I like to buy Fair Trade products where possible although this is sometimes easier said than done. Many Fair Trade products are also organic, which means the environment, as well as the farmers, have been given a “fair go”. For more information Click HERE
Shoe Fetish

Shoe Fetish

I know I am not unique in my shoe fetish. I am just one of the millions of women out there who covet, dream and save for beautiful shoes. My passion runs from thigh high boots to old fashioned clogs but my go to loves are the ones that look hot and I can walk in. I am deeply in love with the way shoes make me look and feel. So when this happened I thought I was in heaven. Octavia shoes knocked on the door: handmade, beautiful and sustainable shoes in beautiful colours and designs. And all of them made to walk in.

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Octavia's designs are hand cut and handmade therefore reducing the use of machinery, minimising the usage of energy and reducing pollution. The shoe designs are manufactured by a fourth generation shoemaker family in the countryside of Guangzhou with exquisite attention to detail and quality.

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 Octavia shoes are beautiful and comfortable to wear and designed in the most beautiful colours. I have a pair of Smokey Pink, Osaka sandals that are my go to faves. I will actually wear clothes based on the shoes I love them so much. And then there are the Khaki Versailles that make my legs look sensational.

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The innersoles are made from cotton felt, so they breathe instead of a memory foam innersole (most commonly used), which does not. Creative Director and Founder, Elizabeth Zielinski, believes in maintaining a holistic business philosophy regarding social, environmental and economical sustainability. She believes sustainability not only encompasses environmental processes but also social responsibilities by empowering struggling communities as well as supporting charitable organisations.

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Octavia Shoes has nine stores in Melbourne, 10 in Queensland and three in New South Wales. The company is connected to the Australian Style Institute in Melbourne. Octavia shoes are supporters of CARE AUSTRALIA www.care.org.au where $5 from every pair of shoes sold from the website goes to supporting social and economic empowerment. CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring about lasting change to their communities.

For more information Click HERE

Camera and Editing by Jaime Graham.

*Shoes make my world go round and these are so beautiful and comfortable that my word will be turning for a very long time. The best thing is that these shoes keep the world turning for many artisans and sustainable suppliers along the manufacturing chain. Go to love that!

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