The textile and fashion industries are some of the most polluting in the world. From dye illegally being washed into our water systems to plastic particles from our polyester clothing building up in our oceans as we wash them. The sea is the lifeblood of our ecosystem and we are destroying it! Every year more than 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean. If you want to be an eco designer you need to know the cost of many of these processes and how you can adapt your designs and lifestyle to better benefit people and the planet.
Just check out this infographic from the team at DIVE.in showing us the real human cost of all this marine pollution.
What Can We Do About It?
No matter where you live or work, your actions have a knock on effect on the ocean in ways you’d never thought. Start following these tips to lessen your impact on marine life. Think about how you as a designer may be affecting the water supply.
1. Stop Washing Away Chemicals
What happens to dye or printing paste when it is finished with? More often than not they are filled with chemicals and if you’re washing it away down the plug hole, it eventually ends up in the sea. How about using water-based inks or dyes that are less harmful. Like most of our fabrics on Offset Warehouse, make sure you are using Azo-free dyes.
Natural dyes could also be the way to go, but remember sometimes the metal mordants can be just as harmful as their chemical counter parts. Think about exhaust printing or dyeing so you use every last drop from the water that you can. Or why not use dyeing or printing methods that use little or no water. And while we’re on the topic, think about what you do with household cleaning products, batteries and pesticides: They can all threaten our water systems.
We make sure all our dyed or printed fabrics in our fabric shop are low impact in some way, whether they are naturally dyed, printed with Azo-free pigment, or the dyes are low impact, low water and VOC-free.
2. Reuse and Recycle
Opt for no, or minimal plastic packaging when possible. Carry a reusable water bottle, carry a cotton tote bag and recycle! How about making your collection from recycled fabrics? Our recycled polyester is made from old plastic bottles. Think about the end of life of your products to minimise the impact they have when your customers don’t want them anymore.
3. Use Organic
Pesticides from the textile industry are a huge huge huge problem. Not just for the oceans but for the people growing the fabrics too. Going organic will minimise your impact. Check out our range of organic fabrics to get you on your way! Think about buying organic food too.
4. Eat Sustainably
Overfishing, loss of habitat and market demand has decreased fish populations. When shopping or dining out, choose seafood that is sustainably sourced.
5. Respect the Beach
Take your rubbish with you after a day at the beach, and don’t remove rocks and coral.
6. Explore Responsibly
Be mindful of the marine life around you next time you’re off on a dive, cruise or kayak. Find some eco-friendly tours and packages that respect the marine environment. Some even teach you about the natural habitat.