Times are changing. The sins of the throwaway fashion industry are now well-known and finding clothes designers who use sustainable materials is getting easier. Buying second-hand clothes, repairing and recycling have also become common practice. But what about the fashion items you buy that aren’t garments? The manufacture and disposal of fashion accessories also has a detrimental impact on the environment. These are four of the worst culprits and a few things you can do to avoid them.
The mining of precious metals and stones disrupts the environment, causing soil erosion and deforestation. Companies mine areas for their worth then abandon them, leaving pits filled with stagnant water behind. Abandoned mines disrupt the local ecosystem and have a negative impact on the communities they used to rely on for labor.
Some jewelry companies are taking a stand against these mining practices with a simple approach; using only recycled materials. Pandora is one such company. Famous for their modern take on the charm bracelet, Pandora produces an estimated 122 million pieces of jewelry every year. More than 90 percent of the silver and 80 percent of the gold they use comes from recycling.
Using lab-created stones is another way jewelry companies can minimize their environmental impact, but only if non-toxic chemical processes are used. The best eco-friendly jewelry brands also pay attention to how their shipping procedures can impact the environment.
Tapping into the fashion industry’s love for all things nostalgic and child-like, jelly sandals have come back to haunt us. Showing up on the catwalk in a number of designer’s Spring 2019 collections, the humble jelly sandal has been elevated to high fashion. Cheap to produce and available in tons of colors, it’s easy to see why jelly sandals could be this summer’s most desirable footwear.
However, there is great concern over the environmental impact of the jelly sandal. Most sandals are made from petrochemical-based material PVC, a highly toxic substance. As this environmental campaigner asks, “Why would you want to be seen in something made purely of fossil fuels, most likely from fracked gas, in the middle of a climate emergency?”
Sunglasses trends can change as quickly as the weather. One minute large, dark frames are all the rage and the next everyone’s wearing tiny nineties shades. It’s impossible to keep up. Those who try, buy many pairs of sunglasses every year, often at cheap retailers who produce quantity over quality. Most sunglasses are made from plastic and even if they can be recycled, the manufacturing process has a huge environmental impact.
Cutting down on waste is one way we can all contribute to slowing climate change. Studies have shown that you should replace your glasses lenses every two years. Lenses UV-filtering ability lessens over time, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy a new pair of glasses. Use an online store like this company store and cut the number of fashion accessories you throw away each year.
Raising animals for leather is a costly and hugely polluting process and that’s not to mention tanning. Even eco-friendly leather has been through an intense chemical tanning process that creates hazardous wastewater. In some tanneries in developing companies this wastewater is not properly disposed of and is dumped into local waterways.
Innovative designers are turning to vegan eco-leathers, alternative materials that are not derived from animal skin. Made from things like paper, cork, rubber and tree bark, these leather alternatives are durable and waterproof. One of the most exciting new vegan materials on the market is pinatex, a textile made from the fibers of pineapple leaves that is being used to make shoes, clothes, handbags and even furnishings!
Avoid the temptations of throwaway fashion by making conscious choices about the accessories you buy.