The U.K. introduced a 5 pence Plastic Bag Tax in 2015 to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated from the country’s consumers.
Since then, there has been a reduction in the number of bags issues by 85 percent.
This has led to government plans to not only increase the tax to 10 pence but to apply to ALL Retail brands. Previously, all brands with less than 250 employees and those who were service only, such as take-aways and dry cleaners had been exempt.
It remains to be seen the full extents of the increase, but it is already been described a “profiteering”.
But when you consider the implications of plastic waste contaminating the oceans and recent reports of a Whale’s stomach containing 30 plastic bags, an additional 5 pence and a change in human behaviour by taking ‘bags for life’ to the supermarket, perhaps it’s a small price to pay.
U.K. dry cleaners take note…
By: Garry Knox
When we think about things that aren’t sustainable, most of us think in terms of what’s good or bad for the environment. And generally, what comes to our minds are manufactured chemicals, or large quantities of materials that are toxic, or substances that aren’t “natural”, or even catastrophic events of nature like volcanos and forest fires.
But recently an example of a very small quantity of a product we’ve all used most of our lives to protect us from the sun has been deemed to be upsetting to the environment and is no longer considered to be sustainable for aquatic life. For as it turns out, even the small quantity of suntan lotion that we use outdoors can be dangerous to the coral reefs in Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Island and Israel.
In May, Hawaii became the first state in the U.S. to pass a law prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate that scientists have found contribute to coral bleaching when washed off in the ocean. The new Hawaiian rules will go into effect January 1, 2021.
So it isn’t always large quantities of certain chemicals that cause environmental problems. Of course, we at GreenEarth are committed to using a medium that is scientifically proven to be environmentally non-toxic. And while the GreenEarth silicone dry cleaning fluid is the same silicone that is used as a major ingredient in sun tan lotions, we think it’s important to note that the ban on these lotions is not because of our silicone chemical but rather the small amount of two of the other chemicals used in the product. And so, small amounts of certain chemicals can be much more dangerous than large amounts of other chemicals! Each has to be evaluated scientifically based upon the impact they cause.
By: Ron Benjamin
The Fourth of July is here, and it’s time to break out your red, white, and blue! But don’t forget your green. This holiday is about celebrating our beautiful country, so doesn’t it make sense that we also should be conscious of how we care for it? Check out these tips on letting freedom ring in a sustainable way.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of reusables
Disposables may be convenient when hosting holiday festivities, but they’re far from friendly to the environment. Bring down the reusable plates, bowls, cups, and silverware! A few extra dishes at the end of the night is all in the name of a cleaner planet. If you must use disposables, though, choose materials you can easily recycle, like paper, glass, and aluminum. There’s even dinnerware you can buy that’s been recycled once already—just make sure to keep it going!
Grill that I love
If you’re like me, barbecue is pretty much a must on the Fourth of July. However, there are greener ways than others to prepare your mouth-watering American fare. The majority of scientists have come to the conclusion that gas grills trump charcoal. Lump charcoal requires the cutting down of mesquite trees. And on top of the deforestation affect, it also takes more fuel to produce and transport than propane. Apart from these most common models, electric and solar-powered grills are even better in terms of eco-friendliness.
Sweet land of carpooling
When it comes to those who are traveling for Independence Day, try cutting down on gasoline emissions by taking as few vehicles as possible. Or go by public transit, instead. Either way, you’ll be helping the planet and traffic buildup. It’s really a win-win!
From sea to shining sea
Wherever you are this Fourth of July, spend it outside. Turn off the TV, put your phone down, and enjoy the summer weather. Set up some lawn games for a little friendly competition. Organize a hike to a breathtaking lookout spot. “Amber waves of grain” or “purple mountain majesties”—nothing gets you in the patriotic spirit quite like America’s nature.
Stars and stripes…and sparkles
It’s hard to imagine the Fourth of July without fireworks. Unfortunately, after the spectacle, fireworks fall back to the ground and release a number of pollutants into our water, soil, and air. It’s best to just forego the sparklers, rockets, roman candles, and whatever else you may find inside those brightly-colored, one-time-a-year tents. At the very least, gather at a community-hosted event to minimize the number of releases.
By: Zarah Eads
British Frozen Food store ‘Iceland’ is looking to ban Palm Oil in its own branded products by the end of 2018. One of the food retailers outside of the big four Supermarkets, feels that the production of Palm Oil in South East Asia, is not sustainable and in fact it’s their opinion that harvesting Palm Oil is having a devastating effect, which is why they have taken the decision.
They will still however continue to stock products by other brands that may contain Palm Oil but hope their decision might influence others. Iceland have also committed to removing plastic from its own branded products by 2023.
After the end of the year, their own products will carry a ‘No Palm Oil’ sticker, which features an image of an orangutan.
Chances are Palm Oil is found in many products found around the home, from Biscuits to Soap and Iceland were first alerted to the full details of Palm Oil harvesting by Greenpeace.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland has stated:
“Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil’. We don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘sustainable’ palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy”
Why is Palm Oil considered to be controversial?
- Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about 8% of the world’s deforestation between 1990 and 2008, which also has a knock on effect on the wild life that live there.
- Burning large areas of forests to clear areas where oil palms can be grown has also been blamed for high levels of air pollution in South East Asia
- Some experts say eating palm oil is unhealthy because it is high in saturated fat
EU labelling laws were changed in 2014 so products must now state specifically if they contain palm oil.
Iceland Frozen Food’s annual commitment to Palm Oil is 500 tonnes. Whilst this is a drop in the 400,000 tonnes that comes into the U.K. each year, it is definitely a step into the right direction.
By: Garry Knox
The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, or GreenEarth Day as we like to call it, and currently this celebration is recognized as the largest secular observance in the world.
There are an estimated over 5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries focused on educating and activating the world’s population to encourage policy change and influence positive human behavior.
The participants worldwide for Earth Day are estimated to exceed well over 1 billion people.
Countless conservation and sustainability projects are being promoted on every possible channel imaginable focused on this day.
With the culture and mission of GreenEarth Cleaning so aligned with the spirit of Earth Day, it is understandable that it takes on the feeling of a birthday celebration for the GreenEarth family.
GreenEarth Cleaning sees our focus to help this industry follow our lead in promoting year-round attention to sustainable garment care.
The message below went out to all our Affiliates worldwide in advance of Earth Day was meant to be shared with all and the message bears repeating.Happy Earth Day
What’s your one thing?
Why not make everyday Earth Day by making a resolution to take at least one positive green action each and every day? Doing one green thing each day is an easy enough promise to make, and you’ll feel good about keeping it
GreenEarth Affiliates, their employees and customers are aware of the positive impact that our commitment to sustainability benefits the environment.
On this one day, it feels right to merge our names here on this day, joining with the Earth Day celebration and proclaim that: GreenEarthDay is Everyday!
By: Joe Blaha
On Thursday 12th April GreenEarth® Cleaning hosted a Business Briefing on the subject of ‘Sustainable Aftercare for Garments and Textiles’ at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London.
Keynote speaker for the day was GreenEarth President Tim Maxwell, alongside Louann Spirito of SGS and myself.
It was a great opportunity for us to talk a room of retailers, manufacturers and testing houses about the GreenEarth® difference and how it can make a difference to how retailers operate and to our planet.
Following the introductions, Tim talked to the delegates about what GreenEarth® is, who we are as a team and how important a role we play in garment aftercare. Talking not only about how at worst GreenEarth® performs as well as other solutions and in a lot of cases much better, because of no colour loss, no shrinkage and most importantly because it is non-toxic… particularly important for the planet and for those who work in the aftercare industry.
Tim highlighted how more and more dry cleaners around the world are using GreenEarth and that D5 the purest form of liquid silicone used for dry cleaning, is also used in many products found in most households, such as body lotions, shaving foam and deodorants. Then going onto make the point that GreenEarth is mostly recycled, loses less energy than other solutions and ensures that clothing and textiles can last longer – drawing comparisons with the key fundamentals of the circular economy.
Next to speak, was Louann Spirito, Director of Technical Support for the Softlines area of SGS. Louann gave an insight into the business and also her years of experience working in testing labs. Her recollection of how Perchloroethylene would melt the tongs she would use for textile testing, really got the delegates’ minds turning! Louann relayed how the use of the GreenEarth machine in Guangzhou, China has really made SGS look at testing within its global business.
SGS have had the machine in operation for over 2 years and has worked well to service retailers and manufacturers, particularly in the far east. Their evaluation is consistent with the excellent consumer experience of GreenEarth and again particularly around embellished items and leather garments. There are many challenges facing the Testing industry, which Louann talked through and one of those challenges is Sustainability.
The GreenEarth and SGS relationship is one that will last long into the future.
Tim then took to the stage again and talked about new developments within GreenEarth, particularly the increased use of the Activated Clay Filtration (ACF) programme. Using Activated Clay Filtration powder combined with environmentally improved detergent (Sustain) and Spotting Agent (Prime), affiliates around the globe are seeing even better results from GreenEarth with a reduction of energy and water usage by 50 per cent.
GreenEarth is now in over 40 countries via over 1800 dry cleaners and 2018 is looking like a year for continued growth and development.
It was my turn to speak to the audience, demonstrating some of the differences that we had seen on silks, leathers and other items, stressing how important it is to test to get the best results for them and the customer.
Sustainability has crept up the agenda of Fashion retailers significantly over the last 18 months and that has shown through the enquiries and meetings that we have had. I talked through the work that I have done over the last 3 years and how there are options to attend technical meetings or indeed for me to present to garment technicians at head offices.
Testing is fundamental to the performance of the garment and the customer experience. Delegates were able to see test results for themselves, the GreenEarth difference on leather swatches and pieces of embellished materials.
Attendees were able to understand how they could promote GreenEarth on their care labels, followed up with colleague and customer communications, informing them what GreenEarth is and how it can be accessed globally. The support that GreenEarth® is able to be in a position to give to retailers and affiliates alike is second to none, due to their customer loyalty and reputation.
Over the last 20 years, GreenEarth® has established its own heritage as a sustainable form of aftercare. It is by far the most credible alternative option to perc. Other entrants to the market may have an advantage over perc… but fail to tick as many boxes as GreenEarth® – the performance and environmental statistics speak for themselves.
As we approach Earth Day, we are proud to green and completely clean.
If you’d like to attend future GreenEarth® events, please visit our Events Page.
By: Garry Knox
The brisk wind that blew over Kansas City last Thursday evening was all too fitting for a fall/winter runway. But the warm glow of the chandeliers inside The Grand Hall at Power & Light easily made up for it.
High heels. Glitzy makeup. Bright camera flashes. Kansas City Fashion Week was everything a fashion show ought to be—plus some.
Eight designers took to the U-shaped catwalk that night. From Liv’s fierce designs for women wearing sizes 12 to 36 to Nokota.Style’s distinguishable equestrian flair, this time inspired by the moon. With each and every collection, the venue’s art deco backdrop faded, only the runway in focus. By the last designer—LENZANITA Couture—the marbled floors, elegant columns, and gold accents were but a bokeh.
If I had to pick a favorite, this would be it. Anita Kealey’s fashions are truly pieces of wearable art. And her brand is entirely backed in sustainability. But it’d be hard to even guess that her creations used scraps from a local balloon manufacturer or now-obsolete media tape; it’s natural among otherwise classic shapes and lines.
As excited as I am for springtime, the olives, plums, slate blues, and heather grays LENZANITA featured had me yearning for a pile of fallen leaves. Any of the wools (from South Dakota-raised sheep, no less) would be a perfect pairing with those ankle boots in my closet, I daydreamed, sitting front row in my off-the-shoulder multi-colored maxi dress. When Kealey, herself, walked out, just imagine me as the heart-eyed emoji.
Chalk it up to this being my first fashion show, but LENZANITA is something special. I’m not the only one to notice, either. Publications like Midwest Living and Martha Stewart have already spotlighted Kealey’s work.
It’s exciting to see a Midwesterner making their mark—or the lack thereof—in today’s fashion. The industry’s future lies in brands like LENZANITA. The industry’s future lies in environmental consciousness.
By: Zarah Eads
While I like a good pub crawl as much as the next person, I’m currently more tuned in to the up-and-coming Record Store Crawls across the globe.
Get it? “Tuned in.” …Sorry.
Just step into my husband and I’s 700-square-foot apartment, and our living room is dedicated to shelves of LPs (all organized by genre, artist, and release date, of course) and a silver Audio-Technica turntable.
These collection events start in New York and Berlin on April 21, aka Record Store Day, with other cities following anytime between May and October. As per “crawl” fashion, the whole experience is community-oriented. You’re shuttled from record shop to record shop surrounded by individuals who are just as nuts about vintage vinyl as you are. Hooray! Plus, there are live performances, gift bags, and—my personal favorite—discounts to look forward to.
With LP sales on the rise thanks to hipsters like me, even new artists are producing vinyl formats of their work. It may be nice to snag the latest release, but I’m honestly more interested in what used gems I can dig up. And I like to think of it as an eco-friendly choice too. Records have been made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) since the 1950s. If you know anything about plastics, PVC is notorious for ending up in landfills and staying there. By buying that old Rolling Stones 12-inch, Mother Nature is essentially thanking me.
Purchasing second-hand is always the environmentally conscious option—and not just when it comes to music. We could be talking fashion, home furnishings, or cars, and the principle is the same. Just because it didn’t first go into a blue bin doesn’t mean you’re not recycling. Your decision is still a diversion of wastefulness.
I’m not here to promote going on a Record Store Crawl. I’m not advocating for you to like records, for that matter. But everyone does indulge in a guilty pleasure from time to time. Just know that it doesn’t always have to be brand new for you to enjoy it.
By: Zarah Eads
What is the most sustainable way to wash your clothes? This seems like a simple question.
But consider a couple of important factors that bear on the answer. For instance, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular sustainable economy, the washing of clothing containing polyester, nylon, and acrylic fibers results in some half a million tons of plastic microfibers going down the laundry drains of the world each year. This is equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles being released annually into the ocean as a result of washing these textiles.
Just as importantly, disposing of garments quickly (as in the trend towards fast fashion) rather than caring for higher quality garments over a longer period adds significantly to the amount of textiles being discarded. In another report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it is estimated on a worldwide basis that currently one garbage truck of textiles is being landfilled or burned every second!
From a sustainability point of view, we believe that the closed loop nature of dry cleaning eliminates the down-the-drain problems associated with the release of plastic microfibers to our world’s oceans. And it permits the long term care of high quality natural fiber garments thereby minimizing the damaging effects on our world’s landfills and from the CO2 emissions attributed to much of the waste created by garments not cared for over time.
Thus, the answer to what is the most sustainable way to wash your clothes is actually a trick question. For the most sustainable way to care for your clothes, and the environment, is actually to dry clean them!
By: Ron Benjamin
The post What is the most sustainable way to wash your clothes? appeared first on GreenEarth Cleaning.
Sustainable Aftercare Business Briefing
By: Garry Knox
For several years, GreenEarth has been working either directly with retailers or alongside partners, to increase our awareness on the global aftercare stage. The aim being to get them to recommend our unique Sustainable aftercare process, either through care label artwork or via communications to their customers and employees.
GreenEarth® has done this by meeting with textile professionals, presenting to their teams or hosting technical visits to the U.K. GreenEarth® Master Licensor, Johnsons Cleaners. We are pleased to announce that GreenEarth® will be hosting its first ever business briefing on Garment and Textile Aftercare on 12th April, in London, England.
The seminar will be hosted by myself and the keynote speaker will be GreenEarth® President, Tim Maxwell.
Tim will be speaking about the evolution of GreenEarth® and how it contributes to the circular economy. Other areas being discussed in the session will be:
- Garment and Textile testing
- Care labelling
- Communication to Customers and Teams
- How sustainable aftercare can form part of any Sustainability strategy
- The role GreenEarth® plays in all areas of garment and textile care.
We will be joined on the day by representatives from Johnson Cleaners and SGS to talk about the role of GreenEarth® in garment rectification and observations on GreenEarth’s performance when carrying out garment testing for retailers and manufacturers.
Aimed at senior textile and suitability professionals, registration is free, and places can be reserved by booking through the GreenEarth® website.
Keeping your eye on the GreenEarth® social media activity for regular updates and an overview of the event itself.