Is your cocktail eco-unfriendly?

Alcohol is generally an unsustainable industry; a 750ml bottle of liquor produces, on average, nearly 3kgs of CO2. So which alcoholic drink is the greenest? It’s tough to say, since production methods, distillation techniques and ingredients vary from bottle to bottle of even the same kinds of spirits. Instead, let’s look at each drink individually and determine how sustainable they really are.


DRINK LESS OF THESE (THEY’RE LESS SUSTAINABLE)

Source: Flor De Cana

RUM

Rum is derived from sugarcane, a notoriously unsustainable crop, associated with biodiversity loss, water and soil pollution, erosion and harmful slash-and-burn harvesting methods. Thankfully, organic rum at least takes chemical pesticides and fertilisers out of the production process but it can be tricky to find.

We like: Flor de Caña rum. It’s fair-trade-certified, running on 100% renewable energy, also with a carbon-neutral certification. 

Source: Mijenta

TEQUILA

With tequila, firstly, you’re unlikely to find a local distiller living in Hong Kong; it must trace the origins of its agave (tequila’s base ingredient) to the Tequila region in Mexico to bear the name, making transportation emissions inevitable. Secondly, agave is slow-growing and vulnerable to pests, leading to increased pesticide use. Production also releases acidic waste called vinaza; for every litre of tequila produced, about 10 litres of vinaza is released, which seeps into waterways. 

We like: Mijenta Tequila Blanco which makes its labels out of agave waste and uses eco-certified packaging.

VODKA & GIN

Most vodkas are made from a mix of grains, such as corn, rice, rye and sorghum (and sometimes potatoes, too). The same goes for gin (with added juniper berries and other botanicals). During the distillation process, which usually accounts for the largest percentage of an alcoholic beverage’s effect on the environment, vodka is distilled to nearly pure ethanol before bottling, using more energy and water than other booze. Gins are often made the same way.

We like: Reyka vodka, whose distillation process is powered by geothermal energy. Cooper King herb gin is made by a distillery that runs on 100% green energy, and produces its gin using “vacuum distillation,” the process of distilling alcohol under reduced pressure compared to typical methods in order to save energy.


DRINK MORE OF THESE (THEY’RE MORE SUSTAINABLE)

WINE

While most vineyards are monocultures that typically rely on herbicides and pesticides, industry bodies and even governments are intervening to make wine production more eco-friendly.

In France, vineyards cover about 3% of agricultural land but represent about 20% of pesticide use. The government has subsequently introduced new environmental standards that require a 50% reduction in chemical spraying by 2025. Around the world, sustainability is becoming the new normal, with many regions requiring its wine producers to be certified sustainable. 

The wine industry produces less waste than other alcohols, but a general rule when it comes to wine is… location. The distance the booze has to travel significantly impacts its carbon footprint. 

We like: Cork Culture, an online wine store devoted to low-intervention and sustainable wines in Hong Kong. 

Source: HK Beer Co

BEER

Brewing beer is a water and energy intensive process that generates a significant amount of solid waste, but brewers are increasingly investing in environmentally sustainable equipment. Shipping cans rather than bottles results in 30% fewer emissions and cans are recycled at significantly higher rates than bottles. 

We like: Hong Kong Beer Co is continuously investing in sustainable initiatives, recycling its glass bottles to reduce CO2 usage. 


At the end of the day, whatever your tipple might be, there are some things you can do to reduce the carbon footprint; look for locally made drinks, buy in bulk and be mindful of the packaging. Now don’t worry, we’re not telling you to ditch booze completely, we know how rewarding an (8Shades cocktail from Penicillin) is after a long week, but small tweaks will give you peace of mind that you’re not placing unnecessary strain on the planet’s resources.

Cheers to that!

THE 101 on HAVING A PLASTIC FREE PERIOD

To end May on a high, we are celebrating International Menstruation Day today on the 28th May! We are wrapping up our period series this month with our top picks for a plastic period.

IF IT’S NOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL HIT, MAKE THE SWITCH

When using tampons, look for those with cardboard applicators, which unlike their plastic counterparts, are totally biodegradable. Did you know that there is no scientific evidence that plastic applicators are better for women’s bodies than cardboard or applicator-free tampons? Check out TOTM, LOLA, and Natracare for plastic-free tampons (and even pads) that don’t sacrifice any of the comfort and security we need each month.


UNCOMMON THINKERS REUSE WHAT COMMON THINKERS REFUSE

Source: DAME

Some women are hesitant to make the switch to cardboard applicators because they offer less glide than a plastic applicator. Cue DAME, creator of the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, made of antibacterial medical-grade material that offers the comfort of a plastic applicator. While DAME’s reusable applicator can be used with any standard tampon, whatever the brand, DAME also sells its own line of biodegradable tampons that are made from organic cotton and free from the bleach, rayon, fragrances, pesticides that are found in traditional tampons. 


I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE, I SEE PERIOD UNDERPANTS

Source: ModiBodi

Period-proof underwear provides another environmentally friendly alternative to disposable menstrual products. The underwear is made of absorbent material that can hold one to two tampons’ worth of menstrual flow, and can be popped into the wash at the end of the day. Check out Sustain, Aisle and Modibodi for period-proof underwear that’s made of sustainable fabrics and comes in a wide-variety of styles, ranging from full briefs to skimpy thongs, that match seamlessly with any outfit. 


THE BEST CUP YOU NEVER HAD

Source: Luuna

The menstrual cup has become the fan favorite in terms of zero-waste period products. The reusable bell-shaped device is made of medical-grade silicone, which reduces the risk of toxic shock syndrome that accompanies tampons. Worn internally, the cup sits low in the vaginal canal and collects, rather than absorbs, menstrual flow. The menstrual cup is also hugely cost-effective, especially when considering the cumulative costs of buying hundreds of tampons and pads each year.

Unlike tampons that need to be changed several times throughout the day, menstrual cups are virtually leak-free and hold three times the volume of a pad or tampon. When full, the cup can be simply removed, emptied, washed and reinserted. At 8Shades, our menstrual cup of choice is from Hong Kong-based social impact period care company, Luüna Naturals.

Surviving Hong Kong Summer with 8 Sustainable Switches

School break, icy treats, sunny adventures, breezy outfits… Summer is great in many aspects, but when hot days strike, things can get a bit intolerable. Check out these 8 simple sustainable switches to help you stay cool and green this summer. 


1.

USE A FAN INSTEAD

Here’s an obvious one – don’t abuse your air conditioner. Fans are just as effective if you’re looking to bring in some coolness and air circulation into the room. And they burn less electricity and dollar signs. WINK. 


2.

SET YOUR AC BETWEN 24 oc AND 26 oc

Who are we kidding, Hong Kong’s summer can be hard to bear without air conditioning. But instead of offsetting the heat with a dramatic blast of cold air, try maintaining your thermostat at 24 to 26 degrees as it is the most economical and environmentally friendly setting. (fun fact: increasing your thermostat by just 1oc in can reduce the running cost of your appliance by 10%.)


3.

TAKE COLD SHOWERS

This is one of our favourite things to do in summer. Taking cold showers not only helps with blood circulation and improves concentration, it’s also an effective way to lower our carbon footprint as it doesn’t involve heat or electricity to warm up the boiler. Plus, we tend to wrap things up quicker in a cold shower than with a hot one, so it naturally reduces our use of water and our bill. 


4.

EAT COLD FOODS

Cooking, microwaving, and eating hot food brings additional heat to our body and our house, so why not swap them with simple salads, sandwiches, juice and fruits. These cooling foods are refreshing, nutritious, and require minimal preparation and hardly any gas. 


5.

USE A BUCKWHEAT OR BAMBOO PILLOW

Forget about having to flip your pillow every 10 minutes to get the cooler side. Pillows made out of buckwheat or bamboo don’t absorb heat the way cotton pillows do, so they can keep your mind cool and make a hot night more bearable. 


6.

GO FOR LIGHT BLINDS

Same concept as wearing a light shirt when you’re out and about on a hot day. Dark colours absorb heat and light colours reflect it. So invest in a curtain that’s bright and light and be sure to use it during the day to shield off some hot sun ray. 


7.

TAKE YOUR SWEAT OUTSIDE

We know the summer bod doesn’t come easy. But instead of going to the gym, try sweating it out in the outdoors. Make use of the natural heat to help you detox, and enjoy your green workout sesh that doesn’t involve machinery and greenhouse gas. 


8.

DON’T USE A DEHUMIDIFIER ALONGSIDE THE AC

There’s nothing humorous about Hong Kong’s humidity. Many households have a dehumidifier because they work wonders in sucking out the moisture and preventing mould. But at the same time, they can increase the cooling load and makes your AC work hard to deliver the cool factor. So it’s best to not run them at the same time. 

Menstruation stigma must stop. Period.

Most women menstruate for an average of forty years, approximately 2,400 days over the course of a lifetime! 

In honor of menstrual hygiene day this May 28th, we are shining a light on the social and cultural beliefs surrounding menstruation, alongside some of the issues around mainstream period products.

Source: Menstrual hygiene day

Even though menstruation is a natural and healthy part of life, period taboos and cultural stigmas surrounding it have persisted across history. Most societies teach girls that periods are unclean, embarrassing and that they just shouldn’t be discussed. 

Just think about all the euphemisms that society has concocted in order to avoid saying the word “period”: Auntie Flow, time of the month, girl flu, Bloody Mary, strawberry week

Source: The Lilac Blog

Unfortunately, the silence, shame, and secrecy that shrouds periods has prevented girls and women from managing their periods with dignity, which has also created adverse health implications. 

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem once wrote that if men had periods, periods would hardly be embarrassing and probably something men would boast in length about. Similarly, many social scientists have argued that if men menstruated, there would be an abundant supply of cheaper, smarter, more convenient and less environmentally toxic alternatives to tampons and pads. In reality, innovation surrounding menstrual hygiene products has been slow and uninspiring. 

To make matters worse, in many countries, feminine hygiene products are still subject to senseless taxation because they are considered “non-essential luxury products.” For decades, one or two companies have dominated the period industry. Rather than committing to true innovation and developing sustainable product lines, these dominant companies have focused on revamping existing product lines, insisting that women would never shift from disposable products to reusable ones. 


A HEALTHY CYCLE BEGINS WITH CLIMATE-HEALTHY PRODUCTS.

Even though we have become all too familiar with the environmental harms of single-use plastic, we do not usually think of tampons and sanitary pads as part of the single-use plastic problem. 

Did you know that most pads are made up of 90% plastic? 

Source: Natracare

BY ONE ESTIMATE, ONE PACK OF PADS IS EQUIVALENT TO FOUR PLASTIC BAGS!”

Similarly, tampons are filled with plastic, and plastic can be found even in the tampon string. Did you know that plastic applicators are just as bad for the environment as plastic straws are? The average woman uses more than 10,000 tampons in her lifetime, each of which takes longer to biodegrade than the life of the woman who used it! 

More than 200 billion menstrual products end up in a landfill each year. Because pads and tampons have revolutionized how women manage their periods, there is fear that drawing attention to the period plastic problem may create unnecessary backlash against products that many women currently need. 


Nevertheless, at 8Shades, we believe that knowledge is power. Fighting for period equity, aka greater access for women across the globe to safe and affordable period products, and fighting for our planet are not mutually exclusive campaigns. In fact, we believe that the more sustainable period products there are on the market, the more choice a woman will have in managing her period with dignity. As history has demonstrated time and again, for women, more choice corresponds with more empowerment. 

Stay tuned for some of our favourite more sustainable and less toxic, period products!

Going vegan might not save the world

People dabble with veganism for various reasons. Some for the health benefits, some for the love of animals, and some for the environment. While we support diversified diets and less meat consumption on the whole, if you are becoming a vegan solely because you’ve been told veganism is THE antidote to global warming and climate change, drop your kale and take a seat – we have some news for you. 

No, we’re not here to burst anyone’s green bubble. Ditching meat could very well be the most sustainable thing anyone can do to help save the planet, but that depends on where you live, where your food comes from, and how it lands on your plate. 


Source: Guideline.blog

Is your hood vegan friendly

In Finland, eating fish is considered an environmentally sustainable diet because fishing helps prevent the lakes from overcrowding and in turn, keeps the underwater life healthy. In some Arctic communities, consuming seal meat is also considered sustainable (and nutritionally efficient) because not many vegetables can withstand frost. For greens to make their way to the table, they’d either have to be raised under controlled conditions, or be transported from other parts of the world. 

From plant to plate… by plane

And that brings us back to Hong Kong and our supermarket visits. Imported perishable fruits and veggies like asparagus, strawberries, grapes… most of them have travelled far usually by air, truck or barge to make it to the shelves and believe it or not, transportation can actually create more greenhouse gas emission than a quail. 


“Not as bad” doesn’t mean “good”

Plant-based alternative and faux meat brands are on the rise, and they all have the same promise of doing good for the environment. Granted, imitation meat has less carbon footprint than animal meat, but it’s still heavily processed, and with that comes the price of deforestation, habit destruction and carbon emissions.

Fair trade can fail 

As the demand for plant production arises, labour violations increase. According to Harvard Political Review, approximately 3.5 million agricultural workers globally are enslaved people, and about 75% of farmworkers in the United States are undocumented. This field is notorious for mistreatment and underpayment, which affects both plant and animal farmworkers. Not to mention the toxic chemicals they inhale everyday and the intense labour that comes with the job. 


People vs. plants

Less meat means more reliance on plants. More plants mean more reliance on soy, corn and hybridized wheat. At the moment, artificial fertilisers account for at least 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions (meat and diary make up 14.5%, but you get the point). Plant diversity is key and moving to regenerative agriculture could be a solution, but can it cope with the load of feeding the world’s population? We haven’t done the maths but we’re going ahead with “very unlikely”. 

Conscious living is key

So no, going vegan is not a one-size-fits-all dietary solution and it won’t save the planet (as least not right now). But yes, if you are mindful of where your food comes from and how it is made, going vegan could mean less negative impact on our environment. And for many, that’s good enough of a reason to adopt the V and drop the meat. 

What happens to all that plastic that we try so hard to recycle

If you’re anything like us, you always make sure to carefully separate your trash and dispose of it in the correct recycling bin. You feel like you’ve done your part, but what really happens to it after it’s supposedly sent to be magically repurposed into something else? 

There were rumours that waste destined for recycling is simply sent to landfills because it’s less trouble.

This was confirmed when an investigation last year discovered that nearly two-thirds of housing estates in Hong Kong surveyed were sending plastic bottles collected in recycling bins, to landfill! 

In its 2013 waste reduction plan, the Hong Kong government set a target that, by 2022, each person would throw away no more than 0.8kg of waste per day, but this target is unlikely to be reached because… 

“In 2018, Hong Kongers sent an average of 1.53kgs per person of solid waste to landfills every day; just 30% of this was recycled.”

How has this happened? 

Some say that it’s because of the low value of plastics in Hong Kong. 1kg of collected, separated and processed plastic waste may give recyclers just HKD$0.30- $0.50, lower than a few years ago. Also, most plastics are not recyclable in Hong Kong, of the seven types of plastic materials, only three are able to be recycled by local plants through the government scheme. 


How can we fix this?

Hong Kong plans to build adequate waste-to-energy facilities so that it no longer needs to rely on landfills by 2035. Aside from this sizeable goal, the government needs to provide monetary subsidies to recyclers to encourage proper collection and recycling. 

Basically, we (as in you and me) need to start getting smart about how we manage our own waste and look beyond our rubbish bins. We know it’s hard to figure it all out, but thankfully Hong Kong is working hard to develop an effective recycling system that is easy to use.

Not only do we have the likes of independently operated Love Recycling Plus and other smaller scale recycling entities, the Environmental Protection Department are finally stepping up. The GREEN @ COMMUNITY initiative launched in late 2020, a community recycling network that is available on a broad scale across the city with 133 recycling points in total for you to access.

Click here to find your local recycling point.


What can we recycle?

  • Glass bottles
  • Beverage cartons
  • Fluorescent lamps and tubes
  • Metals (tin and aluminium cans)
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Small electrical appliances (even your mobile phones)
  • Plastic bottles & bags
  • Paper 

If you want to learn more about using the GREEN @ COMMUNITY check out our bestie’s page to find out more.

As it turns out, there are some great initiatives tackling Hong Kong’s waste problem; after all, if the rest of the world produced waste like Hong Kong, we would need more than four planets to live… Yikes!

Why is sustainable fashion more expensive than fast fashion?

There is a growing demand for eco-friendly clothing, but most people don’t want to pay more for it. Fair enough, as fast fashion has taught us to expect that a t-shirt should cost HKD$70, when a sustainable brand sells one for $200, it’s easy to dismiss them as catering exclusively to the wealthy. However, there are good reasons for the seemingly eyebrow-raising prices of sustainable fashion.

“The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual greenhouse gas emissions” 

So it’s important that sustainable fashion is accessible to all, not just an elite few who can afford to be eco-conscious. Thankfully a survey found that 67% of consumers consider eco-friendly materials to be an important factor when buying clothes. Unfortunately, less than a third are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. It’s a catch-22 because demand determines supply but as sustainable clothing becomes more mainstream, prices will decrease and become more affordable.


Fast fashion cuts corners

Fast fashion brands are able to price their clothes so low because they essentially cut corners. They do this by treatmenting their garment workers unfairly with up to 93% of brands not even paying them a living wage, to the cheap and short lifespan of the fabric used. This allows businesses to make a lot of items quickly and sell more for less but we need to ask ourselves: is clothing really cheaper if it means exploiting people and the planet to ensure low prices and a quick turnaround? 

So, for now you and I may have to be willing to pay more to ensure that the clothing we’re buying is sustainable but consider this: investing in clothes that are better quality and therefore you can wear for years to come, brings the cost per wear down!


No one is suggesting you pay $900 for a t-shirt, but investing in one that costs more than what you would normally pay and that is designed to last longer, will make you, the planet and your wallet happier! 

Supporting brands that put an emphasis on sustainability, and asking more of those that don’t will help make sustainable fashion more accessible.

There is a lot of power in the decisions we as consumers make so we should use this power for good.

Here are some great sustainable brands we love: 

5 most and least sustainable fabrics

As fast fashion begins to slow down, old and new brands are starting to see that not only are sustainable fabrics the best choice for the environment, they are also in higher demand than ever. We all know consumer demand is the key to creating lasting change and at 8Shades we are all about making more conscious choices even if it’s just a small change.

Did you know as much as 35% of all microplastics in the marine environment are fibres from synthetic clothing, largely a result of fast fashion. These fabrics are durable, cheap and easily available, but many of them are made through wasteful, chemically-intensive or ethically harmful processes.

Additionally, the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global wastewater, while also releasing 50 billion plastic bottles’ worth of microplastics into the environment each year. So let’s all do our part.


Here’s our list of five synthetic fabrics to avoid:

Polyester, Acrylic and Nylon

Most synthetic fibres are made from crude oil, so they are non-biodegradable and not easily recyclable, each taking up to 200 years to break down. They also shed microplastics when used or washed with each washing cycle releasing over 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment!

Polyester

Polyester is used in many products, from T-shirts to bottles. Polyester is incredibly water-intensive to produce and the wastewater contains harmful chemical dyes that spill into waterways, polluting local communities and causing health issues to factory workers. 

Acrylic

Acrylic is used to make winter essentials, like sweaters, hats and gloves, but its environmental impact is not so warm and fuzzy- acrylonitrile, a key ingredient in acrylic production, can enter the body through skin contact or inhalation and cause dizziness, and nausea for the people making these clothes.

Nylon

Typically used in tights and stockings, as well as swim and activewear, its production uses massive amounts of water and energy, polluting water in the process. Producing nylon also creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more concentrated than carbon dioxide!

Cotton

Conventional cotton (not to be confused with organic cotton) is one of the biggest water-wasting crops on the planet; a single pair of jeans requires more than 70,000 litres, while a T-shirt requires 11,000 litres! Cotton farming also uses pesticides that sink into soil and water supplies. They don’t just harm bugs, short term pesticide exposure can cause nausea and seizures, while long-term exposure can cause asthma and cancer. 

Rayon

In a prime example of greenwashing, rayon is considered the “sustainable alternative” to polyester. Rayon is made by dissolving cellulose (the main element of plant cell walls) into a chemical solution and then spinning it into threads. The fibre itself is biodegradable and non-toxic, making it popular in fast fashion, but it is extremely water, energy and chemical intensive. The demand for the plant-based material also increases the demand for, you guessed it, plants; worsening deforestation. 

Biodegradability isn’t the only factor to consider though, durability contributes to slow fashion. So if it breaks down easily and naturally yet is not durable enough to wear for decades, is it really sustainable? We think not. Fear not though, all it takes is a little research to know what to look for and a few favourite brands that are doing things right. 


Thankfully, many in the industry are working to make sustainable clothing that doesn’t compromise on looks. 

Here’s our list of 5 natural fabrics to buy more of:

Linen

One of the oldest known fibres, linen is also one of the most sustainable. Its production process requires less water and pesticides than many other materials, making it chemical residue-free. Linen is absorbent, durable and breathable; while the time-consuming production process generally makes it more expensive, linen can decompose in as little as two weeks in the right environment. Check out Hong Kong-based brand Classics Anew, who gives the traditional Chinese qipao a contemporary twist by blending organic cotton and linen with classic Chinese elements like mandarin collars and buttons. 

Hemp

Hemp is the most durable of all natural fibres, requiring minimal water and pesticides, allowing it to decompose in as little as four months. Hemp also adds rich organic matter to soil, making it safe to dispose of. Lightweight and sweat-absorbent, hemp fibre is perfect for humid Asian weather. Levi’s Wellthread Collection includes its classic 511 jeans made with hemp fibre.

Organic Cotton

Not to be confused with “conventional” cotton, organic cotton is produced without pesticides or fertilisers, making the end products free of chemical residues and able to decompose within just 5 months. Everlane offers a vast range of clothing pieces that are made using recycled materials and organic cotton and has vowed to move all of its cotton to certified organic by 2023.

Soy

To produce soy fibres, soybean proteins are broken down and filtered into long strands. These fibres absorb dyes quickly and have UV-resistant qualities, making them ideal for summertime. 

Cellulose Fibre

Cellulose fibres, including modal, viscose and lyocell, are extracted from plant-based materials and are recyclable, biodegradable, and dye well, resulting in less chemical pollution. Trenery incorporates light & airy cellulosic fibres in its clothing.


We love that more and more clothing manufacturers are choosing to use eco-friendly fabrics and diversifying their products, while reducing reliance on any 1 material resource. Now you know that your choices are important in paving the way for a more sustainable future, doing good and looking good. 

Love recycling in Hong Kong

Plastics have been dominating the headlines in recent years, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s an epidemic we are facing as a global population, with certain countries making strides in recent years to combat; either through elimination altogether or recycling programmes. What we have on offer in Hong Kong is, frankly, dismal, with options few and far between, and much confusion to go along with it. However, there is hope on the horizon, with new avenues for us to explore.

Love Recycling Plus was founded by a former UK resident, who was used to an extensive recycling habit and upon return to Hong Kong, was sorely disappointed to find that while people were willing to recycle, the government’s free service was both inefficient and almost completely ineffective. Collection points were not tended to often enough and led to over spilling – as a result, recycling matter was simply being diverted to general waste. Whatever was in the recycling bins was deemed unfit for recycling due to dirt or contamination and as a result, was just taken straight to the landfill.

Frustrating, indeed. 


Providing customers with their own bins, Love Recycling Plus accepts the following:

  • Glass: wine and beer bottles, glass jars.
  • Metal: aluminium drink cans, food tins, metal biscuit tins.
  • Cardboard and paper: newspaper, cardboard, A4 paper, magazines, toilet roll tubes.
  • Plastic: type 1-7 plastics, bar type 3.
  • Tetra Paks: milk or drink cartons, paper cups.
  • Miscellaneous: cup noodle pots, sweet wrappers, Styrofoam lunchboxes, crisp packets.

Here are the different types of plastics to help you get familiar with the acceptable and the bad:

  • Type 1 (Polyethylene Terephthalate a.k.a. PET or PETE): the most widely used plastic in the world including water bottles, soft drink bottles, mouthwash bottles.
  • Type 2 (High-density Polyethylene a.k.a. HDPE): another versatile, durable plastic found in shampoo bottles, milk bottles, cleaning product bottles.
  • Type 3 (Polyvinyl Chloride a.k.a. PVC): the only plastic that is not recyclable and should be avoided in the first place, it tends to end up in the incinerator or landfill where its dioxin production is toxic to humans and animals. These include: toys, baby dishes, PVC pipes, clingfilm, vinyl flooring, blister packs and clamshell containers.
  • Type 4 (Low-Density Polyethylene a.k.a. LDPE): squeeze bottles, bubble wrap, six pack rings.
  • Type 5 (Polypropylene a.k.a. PP): plastic straws, yoghurt pots, ice cream containers.
  • Type 6 (Polystyrene or Styrofoam a.k.a. PS): egg cartons, disposable cutlery, disposable cups.
  • Type 7 (Miscellaneous Plastics a.k.a OTHER): all rigid, unlabelled plastic can be considered a miscellaneous plastic, such as: baby bottles. CDs, water cooler bottles.

As you can see, it can be easy to recycle properly but it takes commitment (and a little extra cash to subscribe). If it means your next trip to the beach doesn’t leave you wading through plastic, surely that’s worth it?

What is Sustainability?

“Sustainability”, “Green”, “ESG”, “Eco”…. you may have heard these buzzwords being thrown around lately, but what do they all really mean? Interestingly, even the best environmental experts in the world would disagree with what these terms mean or should mean.  From my perspective, what these words mean are less important than what they represent: there has been a shift in our consciousness. The global sustainability conversation is beginning to change, and that these buzzwords can represent different ideas, goals, and opportunities for individuals like you and I and for companies trying to be more conscious and make an impact.

Sustainability actually came about in order to shine a light on how global companies were having a detrimental impact on the environment.  To highlight the major headline topics such as oil spills, carbon emissions, water usage, waste management, deforestation, and global warming.

Through this process, what people have started to realize is that any company big or small cannot continue to bleed the world dry of resources in the name of capitalism while destroying it in its wake.  Every company no matter big or small should be contributing to global sustainability issues.  The same goes for humans, as individuals or as a group, we should all be contributing to global sustainability issues on some level.  I’ll use one of these “buzzwords” to better describe it, our priorities now are bigger than traditional environmental matters – the “E” in ESG that I just mentioned.  Now we are more conscious and sympathetic to social concerns – “S” like encouraging employs diversity, stamping out child labor, upholding human rights in our supply chains and “G” governance goals which focus on improving corporate leadership and diversifying board membership.

As ESG continues to gain momentum, we better understand what impacts we can make at the individual level.  As an individual consumer because at the end of the day, companies give us what they want.  That means it’s in our hands to change the rules.

Consider the following areas that our personal habits might impact sustainability/ESG:

  • Single use plastic (straws, bottled water, delivery containers, etc.) 
  • Food waste
  • Fast fashion
  • Energy usage 
  • Water usage 

You may be wondering why all this matters to me. Well, ever since I became a mother in 2015.  I’ve paid more attention to the impact of my choices because I’ve noticed that as a family, we are consuming way more than ever before and it was having a direct impact on the environment we are living in.  We would go to beaches and see the shore lined with plastic rather than shells, I had to restrict my kids playing outdoors because of the increased air pollution.  This is not the life I envisioned for my kids, myself or this earth, this is our only home.  

We are now realizing that business as usual does not work anymore and I see that if nothing else, I need to make whatever changes I can in my own life so that my children and their children will have the chance to breathe clean air and revel in the greenery of Mother Nature.

In 2020 alone this earth has endured so much – from the impact of the pandemic to wildfires in California and Australia.  I see these as escalating warning signs that our planet is literally on fire, now is the time that we need to band together to do something before it’s too late.  After all, if we didn’t have earth, where would we live and what would we eat.   We need to band together to do something before it’s too late. 


That’s why, in addition to EcoDrive, I’ve decided to start this platform!  I aspire to use this platform to raise awareness about sustainability issues big or small, share ways that I’m learning to love more in sync with Mother Nature, and live a life that has as little impact on the environment as possible and most importantly, learn and share together with you.   I am no expert, but I aspire to do the best I can and bring knowledge and information that will help is all make netter choices everyday since we know our environmental crisis is not one that can be resolved overnight.  I hope to share my philosophy with you to create inspirational light and positive energy.

Every day brings a new challenge, but also a new opportunity.

And, “what is my philosophy?” you may ask. Well, it’s simply to “start small, and start now” 🙂