Plastic Waste is Everywhere in Grocery Stores. Can They Cut Down?

Plastic packaging can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s usually deployed to protect food, preserve freshness, and prevent spoilage and waste, which are all good things. At the same time, supermarkets can’t seem to help themselves from overpackaging items to the point of perversion, like a single banana—which already comes in its own…

How Much Did Closing for the Climate Strike Cost Businesses?

Angry masses of young people weren’t the only ones protesting climate-change inaction on Friday. Several brands and retailers, including Allbirds, Burton and Patagonia, temporarily shut their doors in a show of solidarity. Allbirds, the B Corp shoemaker beloved by Hollywood A-listers and Silicon Valley types alike, said it did so to allow employees to participate…

The Environment and Economy are Paying the Price for Fast Fashion

The fashion industry, if you haven’t already noticed, is a dreadful mess, and big-toe shoes and other go-home-fashion-you’re-drunk trends are the least of its problems. Apparel and footwear production currently accounts for 8.1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, or as much as the total climate impact of the entire European Union. Euromonitor analysts warn…

Why Tackling ‘Audit Fatigue’ Can Lead to More Sustainable Factories

The manufacturing landscape has altered considerably over the past several decades. In the 1960s, roughly 95 percent of apparel sold in the United States was manufactured domestically. Today, more than 97 percent of clothing and shoes Americans wear are made overseas. A similar change took place in Britain, where Richard Arkwright introduced a mechanical spinning…

Can a Business Case Be Made for the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is a concept few can wrap their minds around. For one thing, not everyone agrees on how to best incorporate “circularity” into their business models. For another, switching gears of any kind requires change, which, in turn, necessitates some kind of financial investment, at least at the outset. And just what is…

Royal Baby Archie Will Be a Kidfluencer Whether He Wants to or Not

Britain is in an uproar over a baby. To be fair he’s not just any baby. Despite the lack of title and the relative paucity of given names—a mere two to his father’s four—Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince Henry Charles Albert David (a.k.a. Harry) and his American former-actress wife, Meghan Markle, has stirred up…

Air Travel Has a Plastic Packaging Problem

On a recent 15-hour journey from Newark to Hong Kong, I was faced with a parade of single-use disposables. There was the plastic-wrapped blanket and plastic-bagged earbuds, for starters. Then came the plastic-packed “Asian” snack mix, the plastic-lined hot beverage cups, and the plastic cold beverage cups ringed with embossed circles. The long-haul meals—a five-spice…

Are Denim-Recycling Initiatives Green or Greenwashing?

Denim recycling isn’t an issue that would strike most people as being controversial. Who wants to see more textiles destined for the dump? And surely with all that Marie Kondo-ing going around, all those joyless jeans must go somewhere. And indeed, schemes such as Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green initiative—the largest and most successful…

Greening the Last Mile of E-commerce: Pipe Dream or Possibility?

The first and last miles are something of the Olsen twins of the logistics world. On a good day, you can tell them apart. The first mile describes the trek a product takes from its manufacturer to the distributor or fulfillment center, while the last refers to its final schlep to the customer’s doorstep. You…

Despite Animal-Welfare Concerns, Down’s Popularity Still Up

Ecoalf is calling foul on fowl. As part of its commitment to “people, animals and planet, the Madrid-based brand is swapping out the goose down in its puffer jackets, coats, and vests with a synthetic alternative. Its goal? To become “100 percent feather-free” by 2020, according to Javier Goyeneche, its founder and president. To that…

‘The Girl Who Named Pluto’ Stars in New Picture Book

Eleven-year-old Venetia Burney was eating breakfast at her home in Oxford, England, on the morning of March 14, 1930, when her grandfather delivered some exciting news. Clyde Tombaugh, an eagle-eyed assistant at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, had discovered visual proof of a long-theorized “trans-Neptunian object” on the edge of the solar system. The…