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sustainability Tag

Circular Economy News: Luxury Goods From Recycled Firehose

Garbage To Grandness

In our line of work we watch the circular economy news closely and as a result we get to see sustainable innovation at its finest. We never tire of seeing individuals, groups and corporations create profits from ideas that not only don’t exploit people or the planet, but actually provide benefit to both. This article is about one such company.

Elvis & Kresse turns decommissioned fire hoses into sustainably and ethically made luxury accessories,. If that isn’t good enough it donates half of its profits to support renewable energy and women’s empowerment projects, as well as firefighters in need. I read about Elvis and Kresse in this article featured on causeartist.com, a website dedicated to shining a light on social enterprises, that is the people and companies making a difference in the world.

Every moment of reading this circular economy news article filled me with joy and one day I’d love to purchase one of their amazing products. Apart from being great looking and practical, they are made from a super-tough material that I’d expect to last a lifetime, perhaps longer. That pretty much ticks every box I have to before making a purchase. 

Circular Economy News: Innovative British company recycles firehose into luxury goods turning garbage to grandness


Key takeaways

  • Elvis and Kresse’ products, which include bags, wallets, belts, notebooks or laptop cases, are designed with a zero waste ethos in mind. This means their production processes leave no scraps behind, involve only upcycled materials, and use packaging made out of reclaimed fabric.
  • Through a chance encounter in 2005, Elvis & Kresse founders James Henrit (aka ‘Elvis’) and Kresse Wesling, realized that every year, between 3 to 10 tons of fire hoses are destined for the landfill in London.
  • Despite no previous experience in fashion, the former design consultant and venture capitalist duo spent two years prototyping what products reclaimed fire hoses could be repurposed into, and created conscious sartorial brand Elvis & Kresse.
  • When asked what sets Elvis & Kresse apart in a world defined by consumerism, fast fashion and increasing greenwashing practices, Wesling explained their definition of sustainability: “For us, if it doesn’t make the world better for other people’s grandchildren, then it isn’t sustainable.”
Circular Economy News: Innovative British company recycles firehose into luxury goods turning garbage to grandness

Top tips for aspiring social entrepreneurs

Think backwards. Don’t start with an idea, start with a problem. We face unprecedented environmental challenges: we have lost 30 percent of our bees, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans, much of it too small to see or capture. If you want to run a truly rewarding, impact-driven business, choose one of these challenges.

Be entirely sustainable. This encompasses environmental, social and financial aspects, the latter because positive cashflow means you won’t have to compromise on your solution. Just because you are a purpose-driven social enterprise – that exists to do good – doesn’t mean you will be immune to wider economic issues.

If a business decision is bad for other people’s grandchildren, don’t make it. Period. This is something we talk through with Elvis every time. The world doesn’t have time for exploitative, destructive businesses. Those days are gone.

The last word…

I wonder what we’ll make? For those of you who don’t know, we moved into our new Morningside location at 506 Lytton Rd just before Easter (2020). We can’t wait to run a Retail Rescue sale day, a Circular Economy Futures Meetup or even a smaller World’s Biggest Garage Sale event. In a special announcement, our own circular economy news is that we are dedicating part of the building to being a makerspace. Between ourselves, other businesses and individuals and some strategic partnerships, we expect to be producing, or more to the point repurposing goods, from that space within weeks. Watch this space…

Yas 

Co-Founder/CEO

The original conservation and sustainability leaders and do-ers.

I would like to begin this post by acknowledging the Yugerra people, the traditional Custodians of the land on which I’m writing to you from today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I also would like to acknowledge that this land holds practices and knowledge which were implemented for thousands of generations before me.

The 26th of January is a controversial day in Australians’ calendars. It’s a National day that was chosen based on the arrival of captain Arthur Phillip and his fleet in 1788 to the shores of the Eora Nation, starting a colony and claiming “discovery” of the land. To some, it’s a day to celebrate nationalism and show patriotism over a BBQ and some beers. To others, the significance of this day is deeper than that. It’s a reminder of colonialism, of invasion of the settlement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s land that lead to a painful reminder of the mistreatment and violence against indigenous people.

Source: Dennis Nona  | Mal lag Ar Apark AW Whural Ar Idal (State 1)

As a Lebanese Australian who has migrated to this beautiful land 12 years ago, it is hard for me to identify with either. However, I choose to celebrate all Australians while paying respect to the people that came before, the traditional owners of the land, the people who respected and used it in sustainable ways. It has been genetically proven through various studies that the Australian Aboriginal population is one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world. I think that is something to be celebrated and one of the most interesting facts that I like to share with people when asked about Australia. The reason they earned this title is due to their practices and culture, I don’t think they could have done it without respect to the land and sustainably working with it, rather than using it as a finite resource.

A Yuingin [You·in·gin; meaning friend in the Yugara language spoken in the Brisbane area west to Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley, but understood in the Greater Brisbane area of Yugerra] of mine lent me a book last year called Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, which blew my mind. Bruce Pascoe unpicks the settler’s diaries and refutes the idea of the belief that Aboriginal culture was a Hunter/Gatherer lifestyle, an idea perpetuated by the settlers created through their rose-coloured superiority lense. He suggests, through their journals and diaries, concepts of agriculture and land management. These glimpses into pre-colonial Australia are vital in understanding true Australian history and proving that indeed Indigenous Australians were the original fishers, farmers, bread makers, scientists and engineers. Pascoe starts by exploring agricultural practices and animal farming. There are references and stories of planting, husbandry, harvesting and storage. References to rainwater capturing systems. Evidence of animal capturing techniques that ensured a meal but did not obstruct migration and ensured continuity of the species were also revealed. There was evidence of storage spaces of food and preservation techniques, which rendered toxic foods edible and prolonged the life of others. Controlled fires within bush areas and agricultural lands for regeneration and management were also evident in the settler’s journals.

 

 

Source: Doris Gingingara – Emu and Bush Turkey

 

Dark Emu is beautifully grouped into sections, from agriculture and aquaculture to housing and controlled burning, all the way to language and law. I won’t spoil it any further because it is a fascinating read and you’ll just find yourself devouring the book, chapter after chapter, with the thirst to erase your preconceived notions about Australian history and Indigineous culture and re-build your knowledge with an undeniable truth that has been hidden for a long time. Before I stop talking about the book though, I would like to share a couple of quotes with you which resonated with me, from chapter seven “The Australian Agricultural Revolution”, as I feel there are two principles by which we should all be living, Continuance and Respect, two values which are at the heart of all sustainability practices.

 

The life of the clan was devoted to continuance” 

and

There was an underlying conservatism in this approach, a concern for people they might never meet, and a respect for the prey species embedded in the spiritual and cultural fibre.” 

 

Source: Jorna Newberry – Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming)

 

With all the fires, floods and hail storms that have struck our beautiful country recently, destroying our land and ecology, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if we still lived in a world where Indigeneous cultures were not only celebrated, but were guiding us on how we use our resources and work with our land.

 

Today, I’m lifting a SOBAH beer (Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer, Aboriginal owned and led) to the people who came before us, the original implementers of sustainable practices, the first farmers, scientists, astronomers, geologists, ecologists and engineers, the Indigineous people of Australia.

 

Become an ally! Ask, research, make an effort.

Find below some recommendations and links I have discovered on my journey of educating myself and writing this blog.

 

 

By: Wassim Sayegh

 

Picture Credits: Japinka Aboriginal Art Online Gallery

Pictures as they appear in the post:
  1. Doris Gingingara - Emu and Bush Turkey
  2. Dennis Nona  | Mal lag Ar Apark AW Whural Ar Idal (State 1)
  3. Jorna Newberry - Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming)

Retail’s new disruptor? The resale market!

We’ve known it was coming for a long time! Watch out fast fashion, second-hand clothing is about to overtake you.

According to Scott Galloway New York University business professor and renowned tech pundit, “The new disrupter in retail, the new gangster that’s going to create hundreds of billions in shareholder value is the second-hand resale market.” And who’s driving it? Young people according to Mr Galloway.

Resale statistics

The predicted growth of the secondhand fashion market versus fast fashion. Source: Section4

Yas with one of the first shoppers at If the Shoe Fits

Yas with one of our first shoppers!!

And this concurs with other research we’ve been finding. The resale apparel industry is growing 21x faster than the standard retail apparel industry (thredUP) and millennials are cashing in. 61% of millennials sold something in the last year, compared to 54% of Gen X and 51% of baby boomers. The number of people selling second hand clothing, homewares, games and toys and electronic goods has doubled since 2011 (Gumtree, SHE report), with clothing, shoes and accessories now the most popular items to sell.

Further research from the US indicates that the second-hand clothing market will grow from $US24 billion ($35.5 billion) in the US in 2018, to $US64 billion by 2028. While fast fashion will continue to grow it won’t be at the same rate – from $US35 billion to $US44 billion in 2028.

Now is the time for businesses to be innovating and providing options for consumers to buy second-hand products. In a survey by Amplify talking to 2000 Australians aged 18 to 30, “1 in 3 felt passionately about the environment and sustainability, demonstrating they are actively trying to tackle this problem.”

34% also believe brands should be leading the way when it comes to saving the Planet, with 4 out of 10 want the brands they buy to make the world better and almost the same want the brands they buy to reflect their values.

If the Shoe Fits Popup StoreAnd given the success of ‘If The Shoe Fits’, Brisbane’s first Circular Economy Pop-up, in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD at the Wintergarden this Brisbane Fashion Month the research appears to match resale market demand!

Drop in and visit our friendly team at shop 14 in the Brisbane Wintergarden  for the new circular economy way of shopping – putting your money towards people, planet and purpose!

Declutter your Dormant Goods!

Spring has sprung and we all know that means cleaning out all the old rag-dag winter clothes to make way for a fabulous summer wardrobe. Spring cleaning and decluttering that winter wardrobe can be tricky – it’s hard to know what to keep, what to donate or whether you should really throw out your high school senior jersey that you never wear anymore. You know you should probably throw it out, but the thought of it sitting on a rotting pile of landfill makes your eyes a little watery. 

You wonder how you’re going to get rid of this jumper that’s just taking up space in your cupboard? Will the jumper end up in landfill waste? Will a charity shop take this garment? How do you get rid of something you have an emotional attachment to? All these questions can induce you into an anxiety riddled state, but don’t worry, this article has you sorted!

War on Waste

ABC War on Waste - Craig Reucassel and Fast Fashion!

According to the ABC’s war on waste documentary, “Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world.” There is a growing culture of convenience, fast fashion and furniture/appliances that are not built to last more than 2-3 years. Australians have developed a throw-away society: 

  • 6000kg of clothes are thrown out every 10 minutes, equating to 36 000kg every hour. 
  • 30% of clothing items end up in landfills and even if you donate old clothes to a charity, if the items are not in good condition, it’s landfill. 
  • The same goes for furniture and appliances. 85% of household items that are put out for the good old kerbside collection end up as landfill and are not recycled.

 

These statistics are daunting, but there are a few rules you can follow to successfully organise your home into different waste types in order to effectively make the most of your spring cleaning efforts, taking into account your contribution to household landfill. 

Declutter your Home

  1. Declutter in Stages: An article by Sirin Kale (The Guardian) advises not to declutter all at once. instead, break up your decluttering into smaller, more manageable goals. Spend 10 minutes a day decluttering or declutter three times a week focusing on different areas. 
  2. Set Measurable Goals: Nicola Lewis, organising expert and author of Mind Over Clutter, (Good Housekeeping UK) also recommends decluttering should be an activity you can enjoy by setting measurable goals. For example I’ll declutter my wardrobe in the month of spring, spending 1hr each week focused on different sections until I’m satisfied.
  3. Get Organised: The next step is to organise the declutter into separate piles to keep things organised. The list below is a great way to start:
    1. Retain 
    2. Repair
    3. Repurpose
    4. Rehome
    5. Recycle and 
    6. Resource Recovery (the absolute last resort). 

World’s Biggest Garage Sale - Dormant Goods for Good!

 

Elizabeth Larkin from The Spruce also suggests labeling bins with the above and keeping them in a centralised room within your home. 

Review and Hand-on

So, you’ve organised your declutter chaos and spread out the clean up into organised groups, what next? The next step is absolutely vital, so let’s go through the list again:

    1. Retain – take all your cherished treasured items and organise them in your home.
    2. Repair – for any items that need repair there are several resources out there to assist – visit one of almost 1000 Men’s Shed in Australia, consult iFixit online that has over 54,000 repair guides or drop-in to a local Repair Cafe or launch one yourself!!
    3. Repurpose – try turning those old clothes into household rags, washcloths or scrubbing/polishing cloths; old bags into washing baskets and old containers into desk/stationary storage. Repurposing is always a fantastic way to recommission those old goods into something new. Give your goods to Substation33 and they can disassemble the parts and turn them into something new!!
    4. Renew – Ministry of Handmade run workshops to help you try a fresh coat of paint/fabric, giving your old goods new life or turning them into household decor!
    5. Rehome– Donate items that are in good condition or good working order to local charities (St. Vincent de Paul, Lifeline, Salvos, Red Cross and many more) and for those dormant goods that you can’t bear to part with but rarely use/need (think awesome cocktail dress you can’t wear anymore but still love) World’s Biggest Garage Sale is the place for you.
    6. Recycle – Place anything recyclable in your home recycling bin and for all other items consult Planet Ark’s comprehensive Recycling Near You website and familiarise yourself with what can be recycled in your local area.
    7. Resource Recover (the absolute last resort) – after going through the exhaustive list above, there should be very few items that go into rubbish (aka landfill) and for those that do, remember them and think twice before purchasing something like it again, that is hard to dispose of at end of life. Consider calling on 1800-GOT-JUNK to take away any items you’re unsure of – they ensure that your rubbish is recycled, donated, or otherwise disposed of responsibly.

 

Spring is such a fabulous time of the year!! Hopefully this article has given you some tips and tricks to help you declutter and breathe new life into your home, while responsibly handling the resources that flow in and out of your life!

Happy decluttering!

Take Action in Your Business to Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Action Awards

Coming up soon is the Global Festival of Action “to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG advocacy and SDG action.” Held every year in Bonn, Germany, the festival recognises individuals, groups and organisations “who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way” via the UN SDG Action Awards.  We encourage you to check out these businesses and find inspiration in what others are doing.

“To meet the SDGs we need everyone to take action.” SDG Action Awards

Australian businesses CEO Statement of Support for SDGs

Together with several other countries, Australia has signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – a blueprint for action to “promote prosperity while protecting the planet”. Australia’s participation started on 1 January 2016 and runs until the end of 2030. Further to this in September of that same year, over 30 Australian companies signed a CEO Statement of Support for the Sustainable Development Goals. We applaud their commitment and contribution to realising a sustainable future for Australia and the world.

 

SDG Private Sector Importance

This points to the importance of the private sector and the critical role businesses will play in achieving the SDGs. As Alice Cope, Executive Manager of the Global Compact Network Australia said, “We are seeing companies embrace the SDGs both in recognition of the critical role they have in contributing to the agenda but also the upside to their businesses in doing so. The SDGs provide a framework for both risk management and opportunity.” “

 

Businesses that are able to offer solutions to the local and global sustainability challenges represented by the goals will build resilience, find new markets and position themselves competitively for the future,” Ms Cope.

 

WBGS and the SDGs

At WBGS we are all about action. Our events that promote the circular economy and facilitate activation of dormant goods for good, directly impact SDG goals:

  • 1 (No Poverty),
  • 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities),
  • 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) 
  • 13 (Climate Action) and
  • are realised by goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

The goals that our activities target through the community and grassroots activities are:

  • 3 (Good Health and Well-being),
  • 5 (Gender Equality),
  • 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and
  • 9 (Industry Innovation and Infrastructure).

Finally from funds raised at our events we can partner with other organisations to direct impact to the remaining goals.

In order for the SDGs to be realised by 2030, it’s going to take a global effort, with a local grassroots foundation and a realisation that we are more connected than we are divided. We all impact one another, and businesses can dovetail more sustainably into others. Partnerships (SDG17), collaborating with government, the private sector and the community were key to how WBGS got started. As stated at a UN press conference: “We will need all partners to make this a success.” 

 

SDG Workshop

We want to help your business take action, so this May we are partnering with THE IMPACT FACULTY and The University of Queensland Centre for Policy Futures to deliver Sustainable Development Goals for Business. This is a one day workshop on the United Nations #SDGs to help you map the SDGs to your current plans and learn from other case studies.

Business engagement is key to achieving #agenda2030. Come and spend a day learning how to align and action the #SDGs in your business. If you would like to know more or to register your attendance please see Event details or use the link in our comments section!