The world’s recyclable plastic is being shipped to Asia where it is illegally dumped, buried or burned in the country with the lightest regulations, environmentalists warned on Tuesday calling for greater transparency in the global waste trade.
A report by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Greenpeace East Asia analyzed the top 21 exporters and importers of plastic recyclable waste from 2016 until 2018 – before and after China stopped taking such waste last year.
It found that plastic waste imports into Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam jumped from mid-2017 to early 2018, leading to illegal operations dumping and open-burning, contaminating water supplies, killing crops and causing respiratory illnesses.
“For the first world, it makes them feel good about their waste supposedly being recycled but in reality it ends up in countries that cannot deal with the waste,” said Beau Baconguis, a plastics campaigner at GAIA in Manila.
“So the pollution is heading south to countries that do not have that capacity,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. As pollution and environmental damage linked to the rise in plastic waste became known in countries like Malaysia and Thailand during 2018, protests led to tighter waste regulations and import restrictions by authorities, the study found.
Large volumes of plastic waste then diverted to other countries in the region, like Indonesia and India, where regulations on the waste trade are more lenient, the study said. “Once one country regulates plastic waste imports, it floods into the next un-regulated destination,” said Kate Lin, a Hong Kong based campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia.
“It’s a predatory system, but it’s also increasingly inefficient,” she said. “Each new iteration shows more and more plastic going off grid – where we can’t see what’s done with it – and that’s unacceptable.”
China was the leading importer of plastic waste until it banned imports at the start of 2018 after a string of scandals. This disrupted the flow of more than 7 million tons of plastic scrap a year, valued at about $3.7 billion.
The top exporters of plastic waste analyzed for the report included the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan.
Members of the Basel Convention, the main global pact regulating the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste, will meet in Geneva from April 29 and decide on a proposal from Norway to create greater transparency in plastic waste trade.
Sustainable fashion and sustainable living have become a spoken trend among influencers and the young millennial generation. In an industry which is accountable fro so much industrial waste, the focus is to go sustainable. From sustainable tags to eco-conscious conversations on social media, sustainability has taken center-stage, among every consumer across the globe. But beyond tags what does it actually mean?
Arpit Srivastava, Marketing and Branding Manager, South Asia & Thailand at Lenzing Group gives us a complete guide to your sustainable glossary, while IANSlife shares a few sustainable brands you can check out.
A – Absorption
Absorption is one of the key features in modern-day fashion – it is nothing but the fabric’s ability to absorb moisture from the body to keep the wearer cool.
B – Botanic
Botanic refers to anything which originates directly from nature.
C – Conscious living
Conscious living is one of the growing trends seen among consumers and brands, incorporating sustainable practices that have a lower impact on the environment.
Brand Button Masala uses just buttons and rubber bands, no scrap fabric and no stitching, to create products which means there is zero wastage and also has workshops where you can see the fabric.
D – Decompose
Decompose in fashion refers to the products that can biodegrade naturally in soil, water or compost. Faster this happens for a product better it is for the environment. A major issue in the fashion industry is the waste products ending in landfills which take years and decades to decompose.
E – Eco-responsible
Eco- responsibility in fashion is when you make choices that bring about less damage to the environment. One can be eco-responsible by using products that have a lower impact in terms of raw material usage, production process and biodegradability.
Shift by Nimish Shah is an eco-responsible. The brand uses sustainable materials and a conscious pattern cutting technique to reduce waste. There are many Bollywood gals that swear by this bran
F – Fast Fashion
Fast Fashion is a term for fashion products that update quickly and are very close to the latest trends – from runway to rack. These products are manufactured in very short timelines across supply chains. Trend alerts and fashion look book that are used to feed the young fashion minds are not just building heaps of fashion outfits globally, but also building to the ecological footprint.
One of the world’s leading fast fashion brands H&M has realized to remain relevant there needs to be a shift in its product range. It has now launched H&M Conscious a line of sustainable clothing sustainable materials and embellishments.
G – Green Impact
Green impact in fashion is by creating fashion that is safe for the people as well as the environment which is made through sustainable practices that reduce water consumption and waste production.
Ethicus looks at the cotton farmers and traditional artisans to ensure they get their fair share. The use of inclusive measures wherein growth is a sum total of the improvement of the standard of living of all those in the food chain. Each piece carries a tag with the name and picture of the artisan who made it.
H – Healing garments
A recent trend of upcoming fashion brands using non-toxic fabrics treated with ayurvedic herbs in the form of essential oils to create their collections.
I – Innovation
Innovation in fashion refers to new products with unique benefits like wrinkle resistance, super softness, etc. It is created by using advanced technology and design methods in the manufacturing process. The most significant modern-day innovations revolve around different aspects of creating eco-friendly fashion.
J – Jeans
The famous five-pocket denim outfit, known to create and define many classic styles and trends over decades. This indigo (popularly) garment notorious to its manufacturing process across the globe, is now creating more eco-friendly variations to cut down on its water consumption issues.
K – Kidfluence
Kidswear being a major segment in the fashion industry is creating a huge fashion wave with the introduction of brands and fashion trends through kids’ fashion shows.
L – Lyocell
A cellulosic fiber made using wood pulp. This fiber is extremely soft, breathable, light weighted and comfortable to the skin and known for its strength. TENCEL is the most well-known brand of lyocell fibers which is made using wood sourced from sustainably managed plantations and processes having significantly lower usage of water and energy.
M – Modal
Modal fiber is also another type of cellulosic fiber from wood and has revolutionized the fashion industry with its exquisite softness and comfort. Invented by the Lenzing group, modal is most preferred for products where softness is the most important factor – innerwear, bedding products, towels, etc.
N – Natural Dyes
The age-old method of using natural resources such as flowers, leaves and natural coloring agents to dye products. These are sustainable as compared to the mass-produced synthetic dyes available which leave a lot of waste effluents in the manufacturing process.
O – Organic
One of the highly used lifestyle terms used to depict sustainable options in both fashion and living which are produced chemical/toxin-free across all steps of manufacturing.
Made from organic seeds without the use of synthetic pesticides or GMO, the No Nasties brand is a forerunner in organic fashion. The trade terms are fair to farmers and the factories are governed by sustainability norms.
P – Performance
Performance in fashion refers to end-use benefits for wearers like a super stretch, breathability, moisture-wicking, thermal regulation, anti-microbial, etc. Many designer brands have been incorporating these into their fashion, making it a key aspect of their clothing lines.
Q – Quality
Qualitative fashion is when fashion adheres to high standards of production without creating an imbalance in the ecological footprint. It not only means that your clothing is free of any defect, is made using the best quality raw materials, but also is not impacting the environment and people in this pursuit.
With single minded focus Ruchika Sachdeva’s Bodice is a line of classics through modern tailoring and Indian textiles. Wardrobe staples innovative, sustainable and out do all trends.
R – Recycle
An effort of reusing and repurposing outfits to reduce the negative impact of the industry. Many leading fashion brands have been incorporating this effort by having textile recycling programs in India as well as on a global level. These include using wastes post-consumer use and post-industrial wastes.
The use of post-consumer waste has resulted in a complete wardrobe for Chola The Label. This celebrity favourite has monochrome and asymmetrical silhouettes that are statement pieces.
S – Slow Fashion
Slow Fashion is the movement of creating fashion that encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste. Slow fashion aims to create products that are of high quality and have longevity.
Tamil Nadu-based Nool by Hand uses 100 percent natural fabric which is handwoven leaving only the ‘tiniest carbon footprint’.
T – Trendy
Styles that are fresh-off the ramp or have been in the likings of consumer groups for some time. Trends have a habit of making a comeback after a certain period.
U – Upcycle
The art of using old scraps of fabrics and other materials which are incorporated into existing outfits to create a new look altogether. Many young designers have identified this trend and are incorporating them into their collections.
V – Vegan fashion
One of the recent buzzwords among millennials across social media. From lifestyle patterns to clothing choices, the incorporation of fashion by not harming the environment and living a sustainable lifestyle is one of the key goals practiced.
W – Waste management
The fashion industry is known to be a huge polluter, because of the way it manufactures clothing and also the amount of waste generated by consumers. Ways to curb this issue is to use clothing made from sustainable fibres which are made using processes that recycle almost all raw materials and biodegrades in the end.
Doodlage makes products from factory waste and creates pieces that are packaged in 100 percent biodegradable plastics.
Y – Yarn
A long continuous length of interlocked fibers used in making fabrics. The common man may refer them as threads. Most yarns originate from fibers which are the basic elements of the fashion supply chain. Some popular fibers are cotton, wool, lyocell, modal, viscose, etc.