Sustainable Living and what you, your family and school can do to reduce waste and our Carbon Footprint
Well where do we start,
I think first we need to understand what Sustainable Living is.
"Sustainable living involves living as lightly on the Earth as possible. Someone who succeeds at living a sustainable lifestyle will use very few resources and will leave the environment as untouched as possible so that future generations will be able to enjoy the same high quality of life that people do today."
What is Waste?
"Waste is any product that has no further use or value for the person or organisation that owns it and which will be discarded."
Waste can come in many forms we can have industrial, clothing and food waste to name a few.
So why is waste so much of a problem?
Basically we live in a throw away society where when we don't want something, its out of fashion or doesn't work anymore we just throw it away. This then causes so many more problems as the amount of waste that we are getting rid of potentially will have negative effects on the environment and our health.
This is a problem for everyone, you , me , our school and our local community.
You might ask "But what can I do?"
Well we know the age old message reduce, reuse and recycle. This is something that we can implement at home, school and in the local community. A great starting point for everyone.
But, What can I do at home to reduce the amount of clothing waste going to landfill?
Well, first it might be a good idea to have a look at what you have in the wardrobe and sort out the clothing into categories :
What can my family do ?
Well it might be a good idea to have a family discussion about waste and the effects that waste has on the environment. From here you could work out your family could play their part. Here are a few suggestions
What can we do at School ?
At our school Gwynneville we have strategies already in place to help reduce clothing waste
If we can all do our little part to limit the amount of waste going to landfill were also helping to reduce our Carbon Footprint.
ACT LOCALLY THINK GLOBALLY
Many of you wouldn't be aware that Australia is a small producer of cotton on the world scale, but it is the 4th largest exporter. We also have the best crops in the world, with yields that are 2.6 times the global average.
Cotton Australia has been providing more information and education about the Cotton Industry which has provided greater exposure for the Industry. This demand has increased over the past 10 -15 yrs because of the role that Cotton has had in the Fashion Industry.
Cotton today is the most used textile fibre in the world. It is almost pure cellulose with softness and breathability, that has made it the world's most popular fibre.
Designers find Ctton fabric attractive, durable, comfortable, takes to dyes and most importantly has proven itself to be a superior fibre for both mens and women clothing.
These two articles highlight the fact that more Australian Companies are using Australian Cotton in manufacturing.
The following fashion designers are only a few of the many who are using Australian Cotton today as their main fabric choice.
Through Education Programs and the amazing qualities of Australian Cotton more and more companies are using it as their product of choice.
Keep Up the great work Australian Cotton Growers and Cotton Australia.
There are many ways in which we can all help to reduce the amount of clothing waste throughout our community, our nation and our world.
Have you ever considered how many items of clothing you have in your wardrobe
If we say that each person has 100 items in their wardrobe
Now think about in your household
There are 4 people in an average family x 100 items, that equals approx. 400 items in your home.
Your Network of friends
Lets say you have 30 friends and family members x100 items, that equals 3000 items.
Your local Community
234 482 people in Wollongong x 100 items, equals 23 4 48 200 items of clothing in Wollongong
7.544 million people in NSW x 100 items equals, 754.4 million items of clothing in NSW
23.13 million people in Australia x 100 items equals, 2313 million items of clothing in Australia
In the world
7.4 million people in the world x 100 items, equals 740 billion items of clothing worldwide
These are only estimates, but once we start working out numbers we realise that the amount of clothing that is currently sitting in our wardrobe and that is still being made is growing at an ever increasing rate.
Do we really need all of these items of clothing?
We asked our class to have look in their wardrobes and count how many items of clothing they had. We found that more than half the class had more than the 100 items and the rest either had 100 items or were just under.
Did you know that 20% of the clothing in your wardrobe isn't worn on a regular basis therefore it is just sitting their wasting money.
On average in Australian's spend approx $14 billion on clothing each year. This means that each person buys about 27kg of new textiles each year, then discards about 23kg to landfill. That is about 85% being sent to landfill.
Australians alone send $40 million worth of clothes to landfill each year weighing 1.2 million tonnes. This is a massive amount of waste that needs to be stopped or controlled. These items that are being sent to landfill are causing both and environmental and economic impact.
2/3 of these items are made from man made fibres that take decades to rot.
Australian's are the second largest consumer of textiles behind North America. Stores like Valley girl have 65 new syles added to stores each week,Supre has daily deliveries and Witchery400 new styles per month. With this massive supply of clothing to consumers we are able to continually buy items of clothing that we don't necessarily need.
This prompted a class discussion about how much clothing we need and what happens to the clothing we don't wear and what we can do to help reduce this waste problem.
Through discussion and research we found some very interesting ways to reuse our clothing and work towards a more sustainable future.
The following is a list that we have come up to help reduce the amount of Clothing Waste in our local Communities:
Salvos Stores are one way of donating clothing and other items. There are 9 stores in Wollongong and 75 stores throughout NSW, on average 3000 items of clothing are hung out each week. Clothing that isn't sold are made into industrial rags or sent overseas. Salvos Stores are diverting 15 000 tonnes of clothing from landfill each year.
The image of The Salvos Store has improved over the past few years with more and more people donating and an increase in the number of people who are shopping in their stores. Encouraging people to shop by having 1/2 price days and sales within store.
National op Shop Week was Sunday 21st August - Sat 27th August with the message "Fashion with a Conscience"
Vinnies is another Donation Store , there are 650 stores Australia wide to collect items and then resell them. Their philosophy is to inspire change in the local community by providing services from sales within their stores. Some of the programs available include low income support, housing for all, health matters, indigenous support and children and education.
Smith Family/ Stewart House
The Smith Family have been running a School Clothing Collection Program for the past 50 years. The Smith Family provides NSW schools with collection bags and pays Stewart House for each KG received . One single store in NSW sorts 10000 tonnes of donated clothing each year.From the clothing collection Stewart House receives approx $25000 each year to support students and families.
The donated clothing is resold by The Smith Family or exported to countries overseas.
A clothing Capsule is a way to minimise the amount of clothing in your wardrobe that are considered essential items. A set of clothing normally consists of 33 items which can be mixed or matched for each season.
Blogger Sheena Mathieken wore the same dress for a year styled in 365 different ways. This is another way that we can minimise the amount clothing we have in wardrobes.
Reduce, Reuse and Repair
95% of clothing can be recycled or reused.
Reduce - only buy good quality clothing
Reuse - donation bins, garage sales and clothing swaps
Repair - Darn socks and sew patches on jeans .
Recycle - Use fabric from one item to make another
Clothing Swaps are a great way to recycle clothing, reducing consumption and stop it going to landfill. Cleaning out and recycling old into new. You can bring up to 30 items if you pre drop or 20 Items on the day of the event, these can include include clothes, hats, belts and shoes. A $5 fee is charged to cover the venue, administration and insurance costs.
This is a more sustainable way of shopping. The Great Gong Clothes Swap is an event that happens in Wollongong that started in a lounge room and has continued to grow and now is in the local PCYC.
Anyone can hold a Clothes Swap and play their part in reducing clothing waste.
Markets e.g. Kirribilli Markets
Kirribilli Markets have been running for the past 40 years. Over that time the number of stall holders have increased and with that the amount of clothing waste and general waste. The Smith Family have come up with a program to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from vendors.
The Smith Family deliver 10 x 240 L wheelie bins at the beginning of the day for the vendors to put any clothing waste into at the end of the day. The Smith Family collects the bins and reports back to the markets management about the amount of waste collected.
Markets are a great way to sell new and used clothing.
The link below is about a case study on Kirribilli Markets and a program that they run that helps to reduce clothing waste. Since they have been working with The Smith family approx 350 kilos of clothing has been donated to charity after the weekly markets.
Garage Sales are something that we can all do to help reduce waste. These can be done in your own back yard. Not only can you sell clothing but any other items you aren't using.
Using old clothing for industrial rags is something that trucking companies like Churchill Freight do. As it expensive to buy rags and a good way of recycling old clothing is by making it into rags,
King Cotton is another Australian Company that jas been for the past 30 years converting unwanted textile waste into categorised cleaning cloths. Each week they collect 200 tonnes of clothing which is sorted according to their fabric.
As you can see there are many things that we can do to help reduce the environmental impact of clothing waste at home, in our community and on a global scale.
The following two quotes we found while we were researching Clothing waste and thought they were something to think about.
" Treat your garments like an investment piece, the same way you would a dishwasher or a car, you do your research into those items before buying. Because you hope to hold onto them for a long time. Clothing is no different."
Melinda Tully - Regional coordinator Fashion Revolution Australi and New Zealand
and the second one is
"Lets back off this endless constant purchasing and invest in clothes we love"
The True Cost Director Andrew Morgan
What is Biosecurity ?
Biosecurity is preventing and responding to pests, diseases and weeds that threaten The Australian Economy and Environment.
What does a Shared Responsibility mean ?
A Shared Responsibility means that everyone will play a role in monitoring Biosecurity. This includes Governments, Industries, local Communities and The Producers all playing their role to protect our Economy and Environment.
Having a Shared Responsibility will help to increase everyone's awareness of what should and can be done.
How does this affect the cotton Industry?
The affects on the Cotton Industry If we don't monitor Biosecurity threats to our country we could be faced with a loss of overseas trade and tourism, a cost associated with disease management, loss of crops therfere a loss of income.
What should you do on your farm?
What are the main Biosecurity Risks to The Cotton Industry?
The main Biosecurity risks to Cotton Farms are
Insects such as the cotton bollworm, plant bugs, stink bugs, aphids, thrips, spider mites, helicoveria and mirids.
There are over 200 weed species that are currently considered to be weeds that are competing with our cotton crops. These weeds take up lots of a farmers time trying to get the under control.
The most common weeds are
Diseases can attack different parts of the plant. The stem, leaves, roots and the boll. The most serious diseases are
How are farmers , Governments and Researchers all working together to reduce The Biosecurity Risks?
All three organisations The Federal Government, The Agricultural Industry and Researchers have been all working together to have a legislation where everyone is working to gather to protect the environment from Biosecurity threats.
The new legislation will manage risks from imports and exports in and out of the country. With all three organisation working towards a common goal it is vital that they engage the regional community, understand vulnerability and threats, have a knowledge of resources available and continue to have surveillance and reporting procedures in place.
Naming Archie proved to be one of our greatest challenges this year. We asked our local community on our website and in our newsletter to come up with a name for our 2016 entry. This wasn't very successful, the names that we got were few and were names that had already been used in previous years.
We came together as a group to discuss what our next option would be. We decided that we would research words that were related to cotton and cows.
Again we just couldn't find something that would make our cow different and stand out from the rest.
Then things started to fall into place. we were researching clothing waste when we came across an Australian Company that was called King Cotton.
We talked about it as a group and with the majority agreeing that the name bought together our piece of work.
The reason why we liked the name "King Cotton " so much was because
1. We believe that Cotton is Number 1 and a leader. Just like Cotton is considered the Number 1 Natural Fibre
2. We liked the fact that the name came from a local company who are doing great thing to reduce textile waste
3. King Cotton we also believe means number one in quality
We could not be happier with the name of our 2016 Entry " King Cotton- Leader in his Field"
What is Climate Change?
Climate change refers to general changes in climate patterns, including temperature, precipitation, winds, and other factors. Global warming (as well as global cooling) refers specifically to any change in the global average surface temperature.
Australian Cotton Farmers like all other farmers depend on the natural environment and weather patterns to produce healthy crops each year. The extreme weather conditions of Climate Change are a challenge for cotton farmers who need to make adaptions to be able to continue to grow crops. Researchers are working closely with farmers and government agencies to decrease the industry impact on Climate Change.
CLIMATE CHANGE = INCREASE in CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)
"The Cotton Industry needs to identify risks associated with these climate
events and develop adaptations and strategies to main productivity."
Professor Brajesh Singh
Some of the risks that Cotton Farmers will be faced with because of Climate Change
Climate Change is likely to have a number of key impacts on cotton production.
What can Cotton Farmers do to reduce the effects of Climate Change?
What is Renewable Energy?
"Renewable energy sources are energy resources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited. They are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time. Renewable energy resources include: biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action."
Source: EIA Glossary
"Renewable energy is natural energy that can be used again and again and will never run out"
Renewable energy and farming are winning combinations as it can be used on farms to replace other fuels or sold as a cash crop. The types of energy sources that are available include solar, wind,hydropower, biomass, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas and geothermal power.
Renewable Energy is on the rise both in Australia and Globally as farmers are looking for alternatives to keep costs down, reduce that amount of pollution and carbon emissions.
Renewable energy is something that Cotton farmers are thing about as to keep their farms up and running the costs of fuel and electricity continue to rise.
What can Cotton Farmers do to help reduce their costs with minimal effect to the environment?
Which Renewable Energy sources do Cotton Farmers prefer to use?
The most practical energy sources that are used by cotton farmers are solar or bioenergy which they use to produce electricity. Wind is not always available and at times doesn't produce enough horsepower to power equipment.
With continued research into renewable energy there will be more options available for cotton farmers to use.
What needs to be done so that farmers can adapt to Climate Change in the future?
With the challenges of Climate Change facing farmers more and more each year and the massive task of producing healthy crops for our growing population renewable energy needs to be considered as a viable option for energy supplies in the future for Cotton Farming.
There have been many changes on in and around farms during the past 50 years. The increase in population in Australia and throughout the world has meant that there is an even higher demand for food and fibre. To keep up with this massive demand farmers therefore need to be continually providing food and fibre. Since the Green Revolution in the 1960's crop production has been increasing at a fast rate. Global Food Security depends on the development and delivery of Technologies that lead to continual food production.
The following are ways that Advancements are occurring
Technological Advancements are occurring all the time to help and find better ways to improve production.
Below are a list of articles that make for some interesting reading.
At Gwynneville Public School "TEAM WORK" is an important part of our learning, With our 2016 Archibull Entry we worked in many different groups to complete our tasks.
We were put into groups for our Parody's, Mrs Devlin and Mrs Eshman let us choose our groups, our choice of song and then we worked together to write and perform them.
Another task that we were given was to make slowmations related to Cotton or farming. This was a challenging task as we needed to agree on a story board, make characters and props and then video and edit our work.
As a class we had a discussion about some of the things that worked well when we were doing our slowmations and what we found difficult.
Some of the groups mentioned that they were able to come up with lots of ideas but found it difficult to agree on the one that they would choose. This took some groups a while to agree on.
Other groups found that some people took control and wanted to do everything while others didn't get an opportunity to do things or on the other hand they had people who just wasted their time by talking.
A couple of the groups talked about how they really enjoyed the activity as they gave each person in their group a role . This made everyone one feel a part of the group and proud of their completed work.
In pairs we were all given one of the questions to research and write about for the blog. Most of us found this activity easy as we were able to give each person a task one would research and the other wrote the blog.
To complete our work on Archie we needed to work as a team and have everyone feel like they were a part of the process. This allowed us to have discussions about what we thought was important and needed to be on our cow . Lots of ideas were thrown around, drafts were drawn on our canvas and changed many times.
This was our most challenging task, but one that we were all able to pull together and create a piece that we are all very proud of.
We are Proud to Be Team Gwynneville !!