Can a Pair of Jeans Kill the Coronavirus?

Are we asking too much from our jeans? Maybe. They’re expected to wick sweat, sculpt our behinds, and provide full-body motion for squats and lunges, all while exuding a cool-but-not-trying-too-hard vibe. And now, in these After Times, they’re also supposed to keep the coronavirus — the same one that has killed more than 1 million…

Plastic Bags were Finally Being Banned. Then Came the Pandemic.

In a back room at his home in Santa Cruz, California, George Leonard is amassing a stockpile of plastic bags. Most of the time he eschews the things. As chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, DC, Leonard spends his time advocating against single-use plastics that can clog up waterways, suffocate…

Why Nonprofits Give Away So Much Crap

If it’s better to give than to receive, then why do charities and nonprofit groups insist on shoving stuff in our faces? As anyone who’s jammed yet another stack of return address labels into a drawer or flung a branded tote bag on a heap of other branded tote bags, both direct solicitations and the…

Food Delivery and Takeout are Creating Mountains of Trash

About once a week, I slide open what I’ve taken to calling my “drawer of shame,” gaze at the plastic cutlery and wooden chopsticks that seem to multiply with each year, and then slam it shut with a sigh. You probably have one, too. Its contents (from takeout orders, from cross-country flights, from who knows…

Halloween Costumes Have a Size Problem

When Disguise Costumes released a “sassy”—read: “sexy”—Ursula-style costume for The Little Mermaid fans in 2012, it only came in straight sizes — no plus sizes. Critics immediately fired back. Ursula, as they rightly noted, is a sea witch of substance. “It’s outrageously exclusionary,” a blogger named Tavie wrote at the time. “It basically tells fat…

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…

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…

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…