With news of natural disasters, global warming, and climate change constantly circulating, it’s more important than ever to consume as ethically and sustainably as possible. We all love our planet and want future generations to experience the wonders of our environment. So undoubtedly, most of us make environmentally conscious choices and buy goods from brands that utilize sustainable resources. Or are we?
What exactly makes these resources so sustainable? How can we know that brands aren’t just greenwashing or being disingenuous about their sustainability practices?
Thankfully, you can look out for signals when you go shopping to help identify what companies actually take advantage of sustainable resources and practices. We’re here to guide you and help you understand what makes a resource sustainable.
To help guide you, we’ll take you through a mini-dive into the world of sustainability, point out a few common sustainable resources to look out for, and share some tips to help avoid brands that greenwash and use unsustainable resources.
What Is Sustainability?
Before we give you the whole rundown on sustainable resources, it is crucial to define sustainability first.
If you ask a dictionary, they will tell you that sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.
Sustainability is essentially an umbrella term for the practice of trying to reduce harm to the environment, primarily by avoiding wasting and using up natural resources.
The natural resources in question can refer to water, oil, forests and trees, iron, and much more. These resources naturally come from the earth and are often exploited to make our material goods.
Of course, we need to take advantage of many of these natural resources to survive! Not only do we need clothes, shelter, food, and water, but also oil to drive our cars and heat our homes, or wood to build our houses.
Unfortunately, within the past 100 years, we have used those natural resources in excess in a way that has caused extreme damage to our planet. With climate change on the rise, sustainable practices are becoming more and more common.
Thankfully, there has been a lot of research done on how to create the things we need out of sustainable materials. So, instead of using up more natural resources, we can find other means to produce goods to protect and improve the natural environment.
Sustainability is critical now more than ever. Fortunately, brands like KOKOLU are changing the fashion industry which is one of the most wasteful industries. We produce clothes and accessories out of sustainable materials instead of taking more from the planet’s resources.
Is the Resource Renewable?
A useful question you can ask (and easily find the answer to) is if a product you are considering buying is made from renewable resources. Renewable resources refer to sources that have an unlimited supply and will replenish themselves even after being used.
A classic example of a renewable resource is the sun. The energy that radiates from the sun creates solar power used in the place of many nonrenewable resources. For instance, solar panels are a common way to create electricity and power in buildings using solar power.
The best part about relying on solar power as a resource is that the sun won’t disappear anytime soon. For that reason, it’s an ideal source of renewable energy.
Though your shoes or jacket won’t likely be made from renewable resources like water or sunlight, you can research the companies where you shop and see if they use renewable sources during production.
The method of producing clothes and other goods is just as important as the materials used to create them. So, if you see that a company you shop from takes advantage of solar power, you can rest easy knowing that they utilize sustainable resources!
Is the Resource Recycled?
Unfortunately, there are excessive amounts of waste on our planet that contribute to the current climate crisis. Plastics make up a large chunk of that waste, primarily because they don’t decompose quickly. It takes over 400 years for plastics to decompose!
Thankfully, companies across the globe have actually started utilizing recycled plastics to create new products. Recycled plastics are an extremely sustainable resource for companies (since there is so much of it!)
Recycled materials are the ultimate sustainable source because they repurpose waste that would otherwise pollute natural environments, which means fewer natural resources get used.
KOKOLU’s Comfort Knit Sneakers are created out of recycled plastics and are a great example of a brand making sustainable choices by using recycled goods. And there is no sacrifice with fashion or comfort. KOKOLU’s sneakers are designed with on-trend style and feel-good comfort put first!
To sum it up, recycled plastic is a sustainable resource because it helps minimize the depletion of natural resources while also minimizing waste. The beauty of products made from recycled materials is that once you are done using them, you can recycle that product and let the cycle continue.
Is the Resource Organic?
Many of the products we buy are made out of synthetic materials and cheap cotton, which only harm the environment and create flimsy products. Synthetic materials and fabrics contain microplastics that pollute the environment and end up in landfills and are manufactured using natural resources like oil.
Organic resources, on the other hand, use up significantly less natural resources and use fewer harmful chemicals in the production process. Synthetic materials often use toxic chemicals in the production proces, which heavily contributes to pollution and climate change. Removing these chemical from production is a huge step towards sustainability.
You might be wondering, what makes these fabrics organic? It’s really all about the farming process. Organic farmers aim to use less natural resources like water and land when raising crops. They also do without toxic chemicals and harmful pesticides. Organic fabrics also lack the plastics and other synthetic materials you might find on synthetic cotton.
Examples of organic materials and fabrics might include:
- Organic cotton
- Organic linen
- Organic hemp
- Organic bamboo
When you see any of those fabrics and materials listed as a resource on a company’s website, understand that they are making sustainable choices.
Things You Can Do To Shop Sustainably
Monitoring the resources brands are using to create their products is a great way to become a more environmentally conscious shopper. While shopping and promoting sustainable brands is important, there are even more things you can do to ensure you are making the most eco-friendly choices possible!
Thrifting your clothes is possibly the most sustainable fashion choice you can make. Instead of purchasing something new and potentially creating more waste, you can rock some pre-loved clothes and prevent further waste on the planet.
There are many, many outlets for thrifting these days — so it’s convenient for anybody. There are online thrifting shops, marketplaces, and consignment shops all around the world. You can even swap clothes with your friends!
However you choose to do it, thrifting is a wonderful way to replenish your wardrobe while making sustainable choices.
Only Shop When You Need To!
This tip goes without saying, but it is an important reminder. Over-consumption leads to more waste in pollution, which only further harms the planet. We all know that the allure of new things can be tempting (because, who doesn’t want a cute KOKOLU tote bag?). However, unless you know you need it and would actually use it all the time, you should avoid unnecessary shopping trips.
If you see something you like, make a note of it and if you still want it in a month, buy it! But try to avoid impulsive purchases. Your overflowing closet will thank you, but more importantly, the planet will thank you.
Sustainable Resources for the Win
At this point, everybody is well aware of the climate crisis and how we should all do our parts to make environmentally friendly choices. Changing our shopping habits is a great way to start making more sustainable choices; all it takes is identifying brands and products that use sustainable resources.
Sustainable resources help minimize the depletion of natural resources and usually avoid using toxic chemicals in the production process.
From now on, pay close attention to the resources brands use; notice when companies use organic fabrics or recycled materials and shop from them when you need to!
Making more environmentally conscious decisions is as simple as paying attention to the resources used, and now that you know what makes resources sustainable, nothing is stopping you from becoming an ethical consumer!
The Increasing Dangers of Corporate Greenwashing in the Era of Sustainability | Forbes
Sustainable Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster
A Brief History of Solar Panels | Smithsonian Magazine