What’s The True Cost Behind Fast Fashion?

The True Cost Movie

The True Cost Movie

We’ve all been swayed by those $5 H&M and Old Navy tank tops- how can you resist that kind of price? Drawn to the irresistible call of a bargain, we love owning a variety of clothes that we can discard over the next season. At some point though, we have to ask ourselves what the price is behind fast fashion.

The True Cost is about who pays the price behind the cheap clothes that we purchase. The documentary discusses the Bangladesh fire factory in 2013, where over 1,000 workers were killed in an unsafe work environment. Even more heartbreaking was seeing citizens in third world countries with deformities: much of the water supplies and their environment have been tainted as a result of continuous pesticide use for cotton.

According to True Cost, the United States alone generates over 11 million tons of textile waste per year. While we may think that it is easy to recycle clothes, most of it ends up in Haiti. Why not invest in classic pieces instead that are made sustainably and will last years?

So what are some alternatives to fast fashion? Buying fair trade is a great way to support artisans who are compensated justly for their products. For instance, Joybound Apparel has been working with an artisan from Bolivia to create handmade Sucre Clutches: look how gorgeous it is!

Madia & Matilda- Celine Top

Madia & Matilda- Celine Top

Supporting handmade or upcycled clothes is also a great way to add to sustainability in whatever country we live in. Those of you who know me that I adore purchasing clothes from Etsy from fellow small business owners. The gorgeous Celine top by Madia & Matilda (available on Sustainably Chic’s site) caught my eye. Shalize Nicholas, the creator of Madia & Matilda, specializes in sustainable and upcycled clothing by using old vintage garments and sustainable fabrics to create new beautiful pieces of work.

The True Cost Movie can be seen here via Amazon, iTunes, VHX, Amazon Instant, or Blu-Ray/DVD.

Have you seen the True Cost Movie? What are your thoughts on alternatives to fast fashion? Let me know in the comments below!

If you love watching documentaries, check out Plastic Paradise on Netflix- my thoughts on it are here on the blog.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/world/asia/report-on-bangladesh-building-collapse-finds-widespread-blame.html?_r=0

http://truecostmovie.com/

http://fairtradeusa.org/#

Oral Health: What Shouldn’t Be Lurking In Your Toothpaste?

Natural toothpaste & toothbrush options!

Natural toothpaste & toothbrush options!

When it comes to switching to a more natural toothpaste, selecting the perfect one can be daunting. During my hunt for nontoxic brands in Taiwan during the summer of 2010, it was a bit of a head scratcher to see which toothpaste was best. So why should you look into alternative toothpaste brands?

Toothpaste that we find at the drugstore often contain microbeads, tiny bits of plastic that may become lodged in our teeth. These polyethylene microbeads end up in the oceans: fish often mistake them for food, which become harmful for them (and for those of us who eat the fish).

With plastic microbeads

I heard about this brand from a few bloggers years ago, and was initially skeptical about using clay to clean teeth. The full ingredients list from Earthpaste’s peppermint toothpaste: Purified Water, Food Grade Redmond Clay®, Xylitol, Peppermint Essential Oil, Menthol, Redmond Real Salt®, Tea Tree Oil.

The first time I tried Earthpaste, I thought it was the strangest thing in the world. There was no sudsing like I was used to from traditional toothpaste brands like Colgate and Crest, nor was there a “normal” looking color. It looked like the color of mud, which was a bit daunting. However, after I got used to the feel of Earthpaste, there was no going back. I know most toothpastes include fluoride to help protect our teeth against cavities, but it is usually added to drinking and tap water (so we don’t have too much of a deficiency). It has now been 4 years since I have used Earthpaste exclusively, and my dentist has assured me that my teeth have been well taken care of (remember to floss daily as well!) To pair with it, I love my GreenPanda Bamboo toothbrush (available at Whole Foods).

Want to learn more about the toxicity of plastic in our everyday lives? Be sure to check out my review on Plastic Paradise here.

For general advice on oral health, check out my interview with dental student Tory Li here.

What’s your favorite natural toothpaste? I’d love to hear suggestions!

Sources:

http://www.today.com/health/microbeads-toothpaste-safe-brush-1D80157769

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/05/05/microbeads

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/view-document.html?gid=22038

Ideas to Reduce Plastic Usage

Plastic Paradise Documentary (photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/)

Plastic Paradise Documentary (photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/)

Have you ever thought about what happens to the plastic that you throw away? When we recycled the plastic bottles, contact lens cases, or shampoo bottles, we assumed that the bottles would degrade soon enough. As it turns out, it takes over 20 years for plastic to truly degrade. We wanted to learn more, so we did a little research and found people talking about Plastic Paradise. This award-winning documentary was created by reporter Angela Sun, and is currently available on Netflix.

It was eye-opening: we had never given too much thought to plastic when we used them in the past. The cold coffee or milk tea that we got to-go? The bread containers from the bakeries? Take-out boxes? Plastic water bottles? They’re all single-use plastics. The documentary discusses in great length about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is an area floating in the Pacific that is compiled entirely of plastic. If you want to find out more, we highly encourage you to watch Plastic Paradise! It’s a great educational documentary that’s all appropriate for all ages.

So what are some ways that we can reduce plastic usage for our environment? We love the ideas that Angela suggested here on the Plastic Paradise website:

1) Ask baristas for in-house cups that can be washed if you are staying a coffee shop for awhile. We’ve seen stores give customers discounts if they bring their own mugs!

2) Bring your own bag to the market or store. We’ve seen stores like Trader Joe’s, Nordstrom Rack, and Safeway sell reusable bags. They’re great to keep in your purse when you go shop at the grocery store or the mall. If you forget more often than not, we suggest putting a few of these bags in the trunk of your car. Some cities in the United States, including San Jose, have banned plastic bags. If you forget your bags, many stores are offering recyclable and reusable paper bags for a ten cent fee.

Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Straws (photo courtesy of http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/stainless-steel-straws/)

Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Straws (photo courtesy of http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/stainless-steel-straws/)

3) Carry a reusable stainless steel or aluminum water bottle. We installed a reverse-osmosis filter at home, and have used stainless steel bottles instead of plastic bottled water when we are out and about. What’s so bad about plastic bottles, you ask? When you drink water from plastic bottles, Bisphenol-A (BPA) actually oozes into the water. In fact, BPA is quite toxic- Plastic Paradise goes more into this topic in the documentary!

4) Say no to straws. These are a definite no, because plastic straws are actually over 33% of trash that people find on beaches. We remember using plastic straws as children, since they were everywhere- for sodas and water. These days, why not use stainless steel straws for your cold beverages? We like the ones pictured here from Williams-Sonoma.

Have you seen Plastic Paradise? If so, what ways can you contribute to cut down on plastic usage? Let us know in the comments below!

Make Every Day Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone! While it’s wonderful to think about being green today, we encourage everyone to consider living greener all year round.  In honor of Earth Day, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sustainable living ideas from around the web. As a special thank you to our readers, we’ve included a flash sale coupon code in our blog post!

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Huffington Post

  • Using Energy Star Appliances because they use 10-50% less energy than typical models.
  • Purchase a spider plant for your home: putting one in your bathroom will naturally help purify the air.
  • Shower instead of bathe: you use up to 14% less water.

 

 

Buzzfeed

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

  •  Purchase frozen vegetables and fruit: they’re just as nutritious as fresh produce!
  • Break apart your bananas from the bunch when you get home: this helps to increase the amount of time that they’ll be fresh in your fruit bowl.
  • Freeze herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano in olive oil or butter. The best to accomplish this? Putting them into ice cube trays!

 

 

 

Mother Nature Network

Photo courtesy of Mother Nature Network

Photo courtesy of Mother Nature Network

  •  Switch to CFL bulbs: they can help save up to $300 per year compared to incandescent ones.
  • Use the “sleep” function your computer: this can bring your PC energy consumption down to $20 per year.

 Earth Day Network

Photo courtesy of Earth Day Network

Photo courtesy of Earth Day Network

  • For great resources on climate education, Earth Day Network offers a free Climate Education Week for students.
  • Want to find Earth Day events in your country? Search for yours here!

 

General Ideas

Make Every Day Earth Day

Make Every Day Earth Day

  • Make sure you recycle whenever possible
  • Use stainless steel water bottles and metal straws instead of plastic ones
  • Plant trees
  • Use cloth napkins instead of disposable ones
  • Try out bamboo toothbrushes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Beauty Products

facial oil, natural skincare, vegan, green beauty, organic ingredients

Wonderland Organics Balance Serum

And last but not least, purchase eco-friendly products! Our Wonderland Organics products are made with certified organic, natural, and wildcrafted ingredients, and packaged in recyclable glass bottles. Just for Earth Day, we’re offering a coupon of 20% with code “earthday”.

What are your thoughts on green living all year round? Let us know in the comments below!