How To Spend a Plastic Free Summer

How To Spend a Plastic Free Summer

What are you doing for #PlasticFreeJuly? Or perhaps, more importantly you might ask, what are we doing at Ninety Percent? 

It’s less than 12 months since the UK banned plastic straws and cotton buds, and in May, the charge for plastic bags was increased to 10p. Legislation like this has had a huge impact. But whatever progress we’ve made has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of restrictions, it’s not been possible to have water bottles refilled or to use our KeepCups for those much needed take away coffees. What progress has been made has been dampened by our new reliance on disposable masks and gloves now littering our streets. As the UK eases restrictions, we will still be wearing masks where required or where we want to protect people who are more vulnerable to Covid-19. 

Our relationship with plastic is very complex. It’s not one size fits all.

At Ninety Percent, we are all too aware of the impact of plastic use in the fashion industry. According to the UN Environment Programme, about 60% of material made into clothing is plastic which means it is made from oil. Polyester, acrylic and nylon are fantastically durable, and we know how easily they wash and dry - without needing any ironing. Unfortunately, as well as being entirely off limits in terms of their reliance on fossil fuels, every time we wash them, they shed microfibres – tiny pieces of plastic which are now flooding the oceans, and polluting the air we breathe. This is why we never use synthetic fibres as the core fabric for a garment. We believe in the highest quality natural fibres, including organic GOTS certified cotton and Tencel which is made from responsibly sourced wood pulp by our suppliers Lenzing who are leading the way in sustainable innovation.

We do not pretend to be perfect, and occasionally we include a very small percentage of synthetics to ensure a textile holds its shape and will wash better in order to be worn longer. And while we are working on finding alternatives and keeping on top of the latest textile innovations, when we do use synthetics, we use recycled yarns wherever we can. We are working hard to transition all synthetics in blended yarns to be from recycled sources. All of our textiles are washed and finished using systems approved by the highly regulated Oeko Tex or Bluesign certifications. 

Our care labels and back neck labels are made from recycled polyester so as not to deplete precious resources. These small details make a massive difference and we are exploring alternatives to recycled polyester for future collections. We have also replaced our polyester swing ticket thread with cotton, again a small change that has a high impact, particularly over time. We are never complacent when it comes to something as important as reducing our use of synthetics and plastic in general. 

Needless to say, when you order from Ninety Percent, all the packaging is plastic free. That’s just one reason why our logo is so smiley. 

Since the easing of restrictions, we have become very used to entertaining and socialising al fresco. While this is the summer of the staycation, it is also the summer of the picnic in the park and the beach party. But socialising outdoors brings with it more than the challenges of what to wear. Billions of plastic cutlery ends up in the ocean each year, and it’s almost impossible to break down naturally. The Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery as the “most deadly” to sea turtles, birds and mammals.

Some small tips to make every month plastic free:

Keep it natural

Look for natural fibres like organic cotton or Tencel when buying clothes. We’ve even got some great knitwear pieces in organic Egyptian cotton blend which has natural stretch.

Read Turning the Tide on Plastic

Eco hero and tireless campaigner Lucy Siegle highlights the shocking facts around the devastating effects of plastic on our planet. Read it and be the change. 

Plan ahead

Making your own salads is a much more sustainable as well as cost effective way of sharing food. We are a little obsessed with Melissa Hemsley’s Quinoa Broccoli Feta salad right now, simply grill the broccoli, cook up a pan of quinoa and mix together to serve from a Tupperware box.

Choose bars not bottles

Switch to soap bars as well as solid conditioner and shampoo. Legra is a beautiful small family business making delicious and natural soaps from their kitchen table. Every time you wash your hands it’s a treat. Their deodorant is plastic packaging free too. 

Bring Your Own

Invest in a set of reusable portable cutlery like these pastel coloured beauties from Ecoslurp. Made from the surplus left over from wheat production, they are the perfect way to colour match with your outfit. 

Pick planet-friendly picnic platters

We love these animal themed picnic plates made from bamboo to last for many summers to come.

Ditch the cling film

Why not try packing up your sandwiches, bread and cakes in Wax Atelier’s delicious range of waxed linen wraps, reusable and infinitely stylish in a mouth watering selection of natural colours.  

Treat yourself to a smart new mask. 

We will all still need to wear masks from time to time and if it’s possible to avoid disposable ones, we should. It’s a good time to refresh your collection and add in a few cool summer shades. You might even try making your own