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What Impact Are We Having On This Earth?

There is No Planet B - the imact we are having on the Earth

New Zealanders create 15.5 million tonnes of waste every year. That’s 3,200kg per New Zealander.

Putting it into real terms, it’s like every New Zealander is cramming around 30 All Blacks into their rubbish bags and recycling bins every year.

That is a lot of waste.

Even worse than that, only 28% of that waste is being recycled. So, 11.2 million tonnes (or 22 All Blacks per New Zealander) is going into some form of landfill.

What impact is that having on our earth?

Well, if we continue at this rate, the results could be catastrophic.

So, let’s explore the impact unnecessary waste is having on the environment and what we are doing to change that at LOOP™ Workwear

What Impact Are We Having On This Earth?

Plastic pollution is one of the world’s biggest environmental considerations right now. And the problem is only going to grow. Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been created in the last 15 years and production is expected to double by 2050. [source]

The invention of plastic has revolutionised many industries, making things possible that had never been conceived of before. But, there is a cost with advancement.

Many plastic products contain additives that make them stronger and more durable. This extends their life, increasing the amount of time it takes for them to break down. Plastics can literally survive for hundreds of years. [source]

In fact, a single plastic button takes around 300 years to break down. And there can be up to 12 buttons on one shirt. That means every button that has EVER been made still exists on this earth, and will for another two centuries.

The thought is a scary one.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be our future. There are sustainable options out there that can reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and even repurpose some of that plastic waste. We are paving the way for these kinds of sustainable practices at LOOP™ Workwear.

For example, all of our LOOP™ Workwear is created from either compostable or biodegradable fabrics, or a fabric that is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. And, we even have a solution for the button issue. Every button we use in our workwear is crafted from coconut shell for a complete biodegradable option!

The Plastic Problem

Plastic landfill

Plastics are known to be harmful to animal and human health. And the amount of discarded plastic is only growing. This is hugely noticeable in the developing countries of Africa and Asia, where waste programs are not as established. But the problem is visible all over the world, especially in those countries with weaker recycling systems. [source]

Sadly, much of the waste ends up in our oceans. There, the salt, sunlight and wave action break plastic bags, bottles and containers into smaller pieces known as microplastics.

Microplastics have been found in every corner of the globe, from the peak of Mt Everest to the deepest trough in the ocean – the Mariana Trench. They are consumed by sea life and some of the smallest particles are even found in drinking water supplies. Those particles leach their chemical poisons into everything they touch.

So, what can we do to stem the growing plastic problem?

Part of the solution is finding a way to use that plastic in innovative ways. At LOOP™ Workwear, we have found the perfect solution. We give PET plastic bottles a second purpose. No longer relegated to a landfill, the bottles are recycled into a synthetic fibre to create a fabric.

Yes, such a thing exists – a fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Even better than that, the process for creating this fabric is certified as meeting Global Recycling Standards. AND it is a fabric that has all the same durability and colour-fast benefits of regular polyester. Now that’s innovation!

New Zealand Leading The Way

Though we are small, we are a mighty nation. This is proven by the number of New Zealanders who have influenced the world in remarkable ways. From Nobel Prize winning Ernest Rutherford to the unstoppable Sir Edmund Hillary, and pioneering Jean Batten to the revolutionary Kate Sheppard, Kiwis have changed the course of history.

And we are trying to do it again with our passion for sustainability.

We have taken the first concrete step of banning single-use plastic bags. Now, we are on a constant quest to reduce the amount of waste we create as a nation. These efforts are as small as minimising single-use coffee cups and plastic straws to large scale efforts of nationwide recycling processes and the use of renewable energies.

But, we can still do more. It is all about a mindset shift.

This is the kind of mindset shift we are encouraging at LOOP™ Workwear. We are supporting some of New Zealand’s biggest companies to select environmentally friendly workwear and uniform options. Workwear is an important part of business. Consciously choosing an environmentally friendly range over less sustainable alternatives can make a huge impact.

For example, did you know that there is a fabric that is certified compostable in marine, industrial, home, and soil conditions? We create all kinds of workwear items from it here at LOOP™. Made from wood pulp, this fabric is friendly to the environment and to your company as it is strong, comfortable to wear, and easily branded with your logo and in your colours. Once placed into compost, the garments will break down in just 90 days, just like paper!

What Can We Do Better?

It is about changing the way we do things. Instead of parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and working out ways to recycle the waste we have already created, we should be considering how we can create less waste to begin with.

A great way to do that is to embrace sustainable practices in as many different areas as possible. One area that is gaining huge traction in this is the realm of compostable clothing.

Fashion has developed into a very throwaway culture. Clothing items are discarded in favour of new ones, tossed into landfills or recycled into reusable shopping bags. But how many shopping bags does one nation need? Wouldn’t it be better if those clothing items could be returned to the earth or were a more sustainable option to start with?

That is what we are focusing on at LOOP™ Workwear. We create fully customisable workwear solutions from 100% recycled polyester, as well as biodegradable and 100% compostable fabrics. Instead of adding to the waste problem, we take away from it, recycling PET bottles into durable and effective workwear.

If you would love to know more about how our sustainable workwear could be a great solution at your workplace, then get in touch with us today.

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