environment General Green Week 2021

Eco-friendly and Irish: Sustainable shopping for Green Week

Jessica Viola recommends three Irish businesses doing right by Mother Earth
Founder and owner of Christine’s Upcycling, Christine Tyndall reuses old clothes to create fashion forward trends

Now is as good a time as any to support Irish-owned businesses who are doing their part to save the planet. These shops not only sell high-quality products, but are environmentally friendly too. Here are my top three sustainable Irish businesses to celebrate and support this Green Week.

Christine’s Upcycling

This small business was set up at home in Dublin by Christine Tyndall in June of 2020. Some of the main pieces that Tyndall upcycles are men’s button-down tops and jeans.

With her sewing machine, she learned to rework these articles of clothing into crop tops, bags and scrunchies.

Tyndall also creates reusable face masks, including ‘scrap masks’ which piece together different spare bits of fabric to create a fashionable new design. This allows for zero fabric to go to waste as all of the pieces are being reused and re-worn again.

Upcycling has become a huge trend over the last year. The basis of it is that the fabric from old clothes gets repurposed into new and trendier pieces. Redesigning these preloved pieces of fabric is environmentally friendly because it reduces landfill waste and slows down the fast fashion movement, as typically these pieces are one of a kind and made to order. 

This year it was discovered that Ireland has the highest volume of plastic produced per person in the EU

Fast fashion has become a buzz word recently – we have seen fashion consumption grow by 40% between the years 1996 and 2012, and 63,000 tonnes of textiles are disposed in landfills across Ireland every year. The fashion industry alongside fast fashion consumerism currently accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, which leads to issues relating to global warming and climate change.

Supporting slow fashion brands and upcycling businesses, like Christine’s Upcycling, can reduce the amount of landfill waste and the greenhouse gases being released into the air.

GROWN

Begun in 2014, GROWN is a Dublin based brand and creates a range of products including clothing, reusable water bottles and other accessories.

GROWN says its materials are ethically sourced: organic cotton, hemp, linen and recycled man-made fibres are used to create eco-friendly garments for adults and children. These fabrics, especially hemp and linen, are beneficial because they use less clean water and expose the materials to fewer pesticides to create fabrics that are better for the environment.

Also, for every garment sold, GROWN plants a tree in county Wicklow from the profits made.

63,000 tonnes of textiles are disposed in landfills across Ireland every year

In addition, GROWN offer the option to purchase a tree to be planted. Their website displays a myriad of different trees to be purchased and planted by the business. From a  €25 blackthorn to a  €500 redwood tree, there is an affordable option to suit anyone who wants to give back to the environment.

Planting trees is essential for the environment because they have a number of different benefits. They increase biodiversity as wildlife use them for shelter, and also they clean the air by absorbing toxic pollutants such as ozone and nitrogen dioxides.

Tote Bags by Josh

Established in September 2020 by Josh Evason, Tote Bags by Josh was set up for the student enterprise awards and has grown in popularity within the last few months. With over 62,000 likes on Tiktok, this small business in Galway makes quality reusable shopping bags, pencil cases and personalised prints. Some of the more popular designs include fine lined flowers, and motivational quotes. 

Reusable tote bags are beneficial for the environment because they reduce the disposal of single use plastic bags. Plastic pollution is harmful for the environment as in 2017 and 2018, Ireland produced one million tonnes of packaging waste and this year it was discovered that Ireland has the highest volume of plastic produced per person in the EU. 

Single use plastic leads to negative effects on the environment as eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year and accounts for over 100,000 deaths of sea turtles and other marine life. 

Protecting the planet from climate change can feel very daunting, but supporting these Irish sustainable businesses is a step in the right direction. Through changing little habits, such as wearing pre-loved clothing and using reusable tote bags, we can all do our part to be more ecologically responsible.

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