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Give the gift of sustainable luxury this Mother’s Day

<p dir="ltr">With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the most important women in our lives with affordable luxury that doesn’t cost the earth. </p> <p dir="ltr">To spoil the mums in your life this year, discover the ideal gift to honour and celebrate your most treasured moments together with L’Occitane’s limited edition Mother’s Day collections. </p> <p dir="ltr">You can feel good about gifting these organic and sustainably sourced products to your loved ones, as L’Occitane have created these little luxuries while  respecting and caring for everything the ground grows for us and beyond. </p> <p dir="ltr">By sourcing fair-trade and organic shea butter from women’s collectives in Burkina Faso and recently in Ghana, L’Occitane are dedicated to helping the local ecosystem and supporting the community. </p> <p dir="ltr">The L’Occitane group celebrates the official B Corp certification, demonstrating that as a business, they’re not just about beauty; they believe in Cultivating Change to create a fairer, more equitable and regenerative planet.</p> <p dir="ltr">This Mother’s Day, L’Occitane has something for everyone, with gift packs available for every budget, ranging from just $34 to the ultimate gift set priced at $280. </p> <p dir="ltr">From hand creams, body lotions and washes, to fragrances and luxury skin care, these limited edition gifting packs have exactly what you need to give the gift of indulgence this Mother’s Day. </p> <p dir="ltr">L’Occitane presents a superb range that embodies the essence of gratitude, showing appreciation through thoughtfully selected gifts that not only pamper, but also reflect a commitment to sustainable practices. </p> <p dir="ltr">It’s more than a gift; it’s a gesture that acknowledges the importance of those who have shaped our lives.</p> <p dir="ltr">L’Occitane’s Mother’s Day collection is available now both <a href="https://au.loccitane.com/mothers-day.html">online</a> and in-store. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Supplied / Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Sustainable tourism needs to be built with the help of locals

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745">Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</a></em></p> <p>In the wake of the pandemic, tourism is experiencing a period of transition in which <a href="https://theconversation.com/el-futuro-del-turismo-inteligente-digital-y-sostenible-153965">two trends</a> which were already prevalent pre Covid-19 have gained momentum:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Sustainability, together with climate change, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.</p> </li> <li> <p>Digitalization, together with the new technological revolution.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If we focus on sustainability – whilst still emphasizing that technological ecosystems are essential for the development of tourism – we have to be aware that making sustainable that which has not been designed as such (a destination, a resort, a mode of transport, etc.) is not easy, fast or affordable. This is especially true since, rather than conforming to standards, labels or certifications, we must change our relationship with the environment in order to be sustainable, rather than just appearing to be so.</p> <h2>Sustainability must be economical, environmental and social</h2> <p>When a term is used so frequently, its meaning tends to become diluted. In fact, in this case, the term sustainable tourism is increasingly being replaced by regenerative tourism.</p> <p><a href="https://doughnuteconomics.org/">Not all aspects of sustainability</a> are addressed with equal emphasis. Economic sustainability is taken for granted and environmental sustainability is taken into immediate consideration, while social sustainability is put on the back burner (see, among many others, <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-the-party-over-in-the-balearics-b9qw9j7qp">the case of Ibiza and the cost of housing</a>).</p> <p>If there is to be true social sustainability, which in turn drives economic and environmental sustainability, the governance of tourism has to evolve.</p> <p>Before the pandemic, and in the post-pandemic period, news related to the sustainability of tourism appeared in the media.</p> <p>Negative attitudes towards tourism are once again prevalent, although in reality these are not directed against tourism itself but against certain models of tourism development, the product of a certain governance where it is important to take a look at who makes decisions and how.</p> <p>More than a one-off phenomenon, the problem of mass tourism is being tackled with various types of measures, such as the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p>The use of fiscal measures(e.g. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_tax">ecotaxes</a>).</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting the capacity of certain spaces (or even temporarily closing them).</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of the variable prices to regulate demand.</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of technological tools that assist in redirecting tourist flows, in an attempt to disperse the masses to other attractions that are not overcrowded (assuming that those affected wish to do so).</p> </li> <li> <p>The sanctioning of certain behaviour.</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting accommodation options.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The case of <a href="https://www.euronews.com/travel/2023/06/22/sardinia-popular-beaches-protected-with-towel-bans-pre-booked-tickets-and-entry-fees">the island of Sardinia and its beaches</a> is perhaps less well known than others, but very telling in this context.</p> <h2>Appreciating tourism</h2> <p>The positive attitude of the population towards the impact of tourism development in their area may change significantly if <a href="https://theconversation.com/saturacion-turistica-un-problema-global-creciente-100778">the negative impact is perceived as outweighing the positive effects of it</a>.</p> <p>This happens when the tolerance level of the local community is exceeded and tourism no longer contributes positively to their quality of life. The problem arises when those who live there permanently begin to feel that friction with tourists disturbs and damages their lives to excess.</p> <p>When no one asks them, listens to them, takes them into account and decisions are made that severely affect their lives, it is not surprising that citizens turn against tourism when, in reality, the problem is not tourism, but the management of it.</p> <p>It is only by involving these communities in decision-making that we will find the missing link in tourism governance.</p> <p>Today, we usually speak of co-governance rather than governance. In other words, public-private partnership: a two-way governance which, although necessary, is not sufficient because they alone are not the only stakeholders involved.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/como-superar-el-efecto-guggenheim-196421">A partnership with citizens</a>, in a broad sense, is essential to ensure their welfare and to avoid or reverse the trend of disconnection with tourism activities.</p> <p>The point is that tourism is required as an economic activity that affects the entire community, and the latter is something that seems to be missing or unwilling to be addressed. Tourism should not be created by political and business representatives without the local people, but with them. That’s the big difference.</p> <p>There is an added complexity, particularly in terms of legitimacy, in identifying the representatives of stakeholders in the territory and establishing effective participation mechanisms – not only with a voice, but also with a vote in certain decisions. However, this is the best way to support the tourism industry and to overcome mistrust and detachment.</p> <p>We must move towards inclusive and integrative governance, with <a href="https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284420841">a three-pronged approach</a>: public, private and community, whose study and application are virtually unknown fields.</p> <p>The question is not so much of what to do, but how to do it: a new model of shared leadership must include a redistribution of power within the system, which will require an extra effort to break down barriers and overcome resistance.</p> <h2>Co-governance and well-being</h2> <p>To avoid negative attitudes towards tourism, and promote harmonious relationships between locals and visitors as a path to sustainability, tourism must be able to forge a broad alliance with society.</p> <p>It is not about managing a destination, but a community with permanent residents and tourists, the latter being understood as temporary residents. The well-being of both must be at the core of the governance architecture.</p> <p>Although there is usually short-sightedness in political decisions – marked by electoral horizons – and in business decision-making – especially if they are geared towards speculation and immediate returns – the lack of support from the local population will end up generating a boomerang effect.</p> <p>Do we know the type of tourism development desired (or tolerated) by host communities? Are the voices of the local population heard and taken into account in the decision making processes, with a view to their well-being? Local communities have a much more decisive role to play in consolidating democracies. A tourism-oriented society must be geared towards tourism and committed to its development and co-creation.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211296/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745"><em>Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</em></a><em>, Catedrático de Universidad, área de Organización de Empresas, Dirección Estratégica, Turismo (empresas y destinos) - Jubilado, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sustainable-tourism-needs-to-be-built-with-the-help-of-locals-211296">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Flex your sustainability skills this Plastic Free July

<p dir="ltr">It’s no secret that single-use plastics are often a huge part of our lives, with grocery items and household essentials often relying on plastic for their packaging. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, if you look a little further, you’ll find that there are sustainable options out there to help curb your plastic consumption. </p> <p dir="ltr">The annual global initiative of <a href="https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/">Plastic Free July</a> is once again taking place, with over 190 countries determined to be a part of the plastic pollution solution. </p> <p dir="ltr">Plastic Free July is a great opportunity to discover more sustainable options in day to life, while also helping to save valuable dollars during the ongoing cost of living crisis. </p> <p dir="ltr">In collaboration with this international movement, <a href="https://www.brita.com.au/">BRITA</a> have shared ten valuable tips to help reduce individual plastic waste contribution in everyday life. </p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Make the switch to a filtered water jug and reusable bottle instead of drinking single-use bottles of water at home or at the office.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Instead of plastic food wraps, choose alternatives such as beeswax wraps or reusable containers.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Try a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Skip the plastic straw or buy stainless steel straws to reduce dangerous plastic waste caused by used straws. Think of the turtles!</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Try out powdered laundry detergent that comes in a box instead of laundry liquid in plastic bottles.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Swap plastic bin liners for newspaper or certified compostable ones instead.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Avoiding pre-packaged foods by choosing bulk or loose food. Or, better yet, take in your own jars. </p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Use soap bars instead of liquid soap in plastic containers.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Use your own cutlery when ordering takeaway food, instead of relying on plastic ones.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Always consider the three R’s for a better planet – reduce, reuse, recycle!</p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Home & Garden

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3 little-known reasons why plastic recycling could actually make things worse

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/pascal-scherrer-230971">Pascal Scherrer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p>This week in Paris, negotiators from around the world are <a href="https://www.unep.org/events/conference/second-session-intergovernmental-negotiating-committee-develop-international">convening</a> for a United Nations meeting. They will tackle a thorny problem: finding a globally binding solution for plastic pollution.</p> <p>Of the staggering <a href="https://stats.oecd.org/viewhtml.aspx?datasetcode=PLASTIC_USE_6&amp;lang=en">460 million tonnes of plastic used globally in 2019 alone</a>, much is used only once and thrown away. About <a href="https://www.oecd.org/environment/plastic-pollution-is-growing-relentlessly-as-waste-management-and-recycling-fall-short.htm">40% of plastic waste</a> comes from packaging. Almost two-thirds of plastic waste comes from items with lifetimes of less than five years.</p> <p>The plastic waste that escapes into nature persists and breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces, <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.1700782">eventually becoming microplastics</a>. Plastics now contaminate virtually every environment, from <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/20/microplastic-pollution-found-near-summit-of-mount-everest">mountain peaks to oceans</a>. Plastic has entered vital systems such as our food chain and even the human <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/24/microplastics-found-in-human-blood-for-first-time">blood stream</a>.</p> <p>Governments and industry <a href="https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/nations-agree-end-plastic-pollution">increasingly acknowledge</a> the urgent need to reduce plastic pollution. They are introducing <a href="https://apco.org.au/the-australian-packaging-covenant">rules and incentives</a> to help businesses stop using single-use plastics while also encouraging collection and recycling.</p> <p>As a sustainability researcher, I explore opportunities to <a href="https://www.scu.edu.au/research/zerowaste/">reduce plastic waste </a>in sectors such as tourism, hospitality and meat production. I know how quickly we could make big changes. But I’ve also seen how quick-fix solutions can create complex future problems. So we must proceed with caution.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The best way to tackle plastic pollution is to prevent it in the first place.</p> <p>Governments, businesses, civil society, and academia can all be part of the solution to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeatPlasticPollution?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BeatPlasticPollution</a>.</p> <p>Join in this <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldEnvironmentDay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldEnvironmentDay</a>: <a href="https://t.co/ENu9UG82kz">https://t.co/ENu9UG82kz</a> <a href="https://t.co/1p5G0183uh">pic.twitter.com/1p5G0183uh</a></p> <p>— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNEP/status/1660873190577680384?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 23, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <h2>Plastic avoidance is top priority</h2> <p>We must urgently eliminate waste and build a so-called “<a href="https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/circular-economy-introduction/overview">circular economy</a>”. For plastics, that means reuse or recycling back into the same type of plastic, not lower grade plastic. The plastic can be used to make similar products that then can be recycled again and again.</p> <p>This means plastics should only be used where they can be captured at their end of life and recycled into a product of the same or higher value, with as little loss as possible.</p> <p>Probably the only example of this to date is the recycling of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) soft-drink bottles in Norway and Switzerland. They boast recovery rates of <a href="https://phys.org/news/2020-02-norway-bottles-plastic-fantastic.html">97%</a> and <a href="https://houseofswitzerland.org/swissstories/environment/switzerland-leads-way-pet-recycling">95%</a> respectively.</p> <p>The <a href="https://wastewise.be/2014/11/ad-lansink/">waste management pyramid</a> below shows how to prioritise actions to lessen the waste problem. It is particularly relevant to single-use plastics. Our top priority, demanding the biggest investment, is prevention and reduction through redesign of products.</p> <p>Where elimination is not yet achievable, reuse solutions or recycling to the same or higher-level products can be sought to make plastics circular.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=406&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=406&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=406&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=510&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=510&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/527407/original/file-20230522-21-y07zqy.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=510&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Inverted pyramid diagram showing waste management priorities" /><figcaption><span class="caption">In the inverted pyramid of waste management priorities, downcycling is almost the last resort.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Pascal Scherrer</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Unfortunately, a lack of high-quality reprocessing facilities means plastic waste keeps growing. In Australia, plastic is largely “downcycled”, which means it is recycled into lower quality plastics.</p> <p>This can seem like an attractive way to deal with waste-plastic stockpiles, particularly after the recent collapse of soft-plastics recycler <a href="https://theconversation.com/redcycles-collapse-is-more-proof-that-plastic-recycling-is-a-broken-system-194528">RedCycle</a>. But downcycling risks doing more harm than good. Here are three reasons why:</p> <h2>1. Replacing wood with recycled plastics risks contaminating our wildest natural spaces</h2> <p>An increasing number of benches, tables, bollards and boardwalks are being made from recycled plastic. This shift away from timber is touted as a sustainable step - but caution is warranted when introducing these products to pristine areas such as national parks.</p> <p>Wood is naturally present in those areas. It has a proven record of longevity and, when degrading, does not introduce foreign matter into the natural system.</p> <p>Swapping wood for plastic <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269749122019510?via%3Dihub">may introduce microplastics</a> into the few remaining places relatively free of them. Replacing wood with downcycled plastics also risks plastic pollution through weathering or fire.</p> <h2>2. Taking circular plastics from their closed loop to meet recycled-content targets creates more waste</h2> <p>Clear PET bottles used for beverages are the most circular plastic stream in Australia, approaching a 70% recovery rate. When these bottles are recycled back into clear PET bottles, they are circular plastics.</p> <p>However, the used PET bottles are increasingly being turned into meat trays, berry punnets and <a href="https://www.praise.com.au/faqs-100-recycled-bottles">mayonnaise jars</a> to help producers meet the <a href="https://apco.org.au/national-packaging-targets">2025 National Packaging Target</a> of 50% recycled content (on average) in packaging.</p> <p>The problem is the current industry <a href="https://anzpacplasticspact.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Recovered-Polymer-Specifications_FINAL_June2021d.pdf">specifications for plastics recovery</a> allow only downcycling of these trays, punnets and jars. This means that circular PET is removed from a closed loop into a lower-grade recovery stream. This leads to non-circular downcycling and more plastic sent to landfill.</p> <h2>3. Using “compostable” plastics in non-compostable conditions creates still more plastic pollution</h2> <p>Increasingly, plastics are labelled as compostable and biodegradable. However, well-intended use of compostable plastics can cause long-term plastic pollution.</p> <p>At the right temperature with the right amount of moisture, compostable plastics breakdown into soil. But if the conditions are not “just right”, they won’t break down at all.</p> <p>For example, when a landscape architect or engineer uses a “compostable” synthetic fabric instead of a natural alternative (such as coir or jute mats) they can inadvertently introduce persistent plastics into the environment. This is because the temperature is not hot enough for the synthetic mat to break down.</p> <p>We must also <a href="https://documents.packagingcovenant.org.au/public-documents/Considerations%20for%20Compostable%20Packaging">differentiate</a> between “home compostable” and “commercially compostable”. Commercial facilities are more effective at composting because they operate under more closely controlled conditions.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Plastic pollution could reduce by 80% by 2040 if governments and companies make policy and market shifts using existing technologies.</p> <p>OUT NOW – UNEP’s new report provides a pathway for nations to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeatPlasticPollution?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BeatPlasticPollution</a>: <a href="https://t.co/dcfBkZaOfN">https://t.co/dcfBkZaOfN</a> <a href="https://t.co/iSQ9QSpYC1">pic.twitter.com/iSQ9QSpYC1</a></p> <p>— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNEP/status/1658419925638152192?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 16, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <h2>Learning from our mistakes</h2> <p>Clearly, we need to reduce our reliance on plastics and shift away from linear systems – including recycling into lower-grade products.</p> <p>Such downcycling may have a temporary role in dealing with existing plastic in the system while circular recycling capacity is being built. But we must not develop downcycling “solutions” that need a long-term stream of plastic waste to remain viable.</p> <p>What’s more, downcycling requires constantly finding new markets for their lower-grade products. Circular systems are more robust.</p> <p>So, to the negotiators in Paris, yes the shift to a circular plastics economy is urgent. But beware of good intentions that could ultimately make things worse.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206060/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/pascal-scherrer-230971">Pascal Scherrer</a>, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Law and Art, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-little-known-reasons-why-plastic-recycling-could-actually-make-things-worse-206060">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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Our cemeteries face a housing crisis too. 4 changes can make burial sustainable

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-falconer-1171812">Kate Falconer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-gould-999499">Hannah Gould</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s housing crisis is no secret. What many people don’t realise is that there’s another, less visible housing crisis. Australia’s urban cemeteries are <a href="https://theconversation.com/housing-the-dead-what-happens-when-a-city-runs-out-of-space-70121">running out of space</a> to house the dead.</p> <p>In Sydney, for example, a <a href="https://www.cemeteries.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-01/Statutory-Review-of-the-Cemeteries-Crematoria-Act.pdf">2020 report</a> found all of the city’s existing public cemeteries would be full by 2032. This will leave the communities they serve without a place to bury their dead.</p> <p>We know how to solve this crisis. A few key changes can make Australia’s cemeteries more sustainable and viable for generations to come.</p> <p>But these changes require political will to act. That’s because the solutions involve changes to the state-based laws that govern cemeteries. We can start with Victoria’s <a href="https://www.health.vic.gov.au/cemeteries-and-crematoria/cemeteries-and-crematoria-regulations-2015">Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015</a>, which must be updated by 2025.</p> <h2>Make renewable grave tenure the default option</h2> <p>Most Australians <a href="https://theconversation.com/losing-the-plot-death-is-permanent-but-your-grave-isnt-33459">assume graves last forever</a>. This system of perpetual tenure is mandatory in Victoria and the ACT. It’s the (near-universal) default in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.</p> <p>But this system makes our burial space a “single use” resource. Overseas, perpetual tenure is the exception rather than the rule. Almost all <a href="https://www.talkdeath.com/cemetery-overcrowding-leading-europe-recycle-burial-plots/">European</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/lack-of-burial-space-is-changing-age-old-funeral-practices-and-in-japan-tree-burials-are-gaining-in-popularity-161323">East Asian countries</a> have limited tenure for burial, or actively encourage cremation.</p> <p>Where grave renewal occurs in Australia, it happens a long time after burial, typically between 25 and 99 years. By this time, the physical remains of the grave’s previous occupant have significantly degraded. Any remnants are preserved in an ossuary or dug deeper into the soil.</p> <p>Cemeteries in South Australia and Western Australia already have renewable grave tenure. Families have an option to extend tenure, should they wish to do so.</p> <p>By making renewable tenure the default option across Australia, cemeteries will greatly increase future capacity. If all of Sydney’s public cemeteries adopted a 35-year renewable tenure system, for example, it has <a href="https://www.cemeteries.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-01/Statutory-Review-of-the-Cemeteries-Crematoria-Act.pdf">been estimated</a> the city’s burial needs over the next 99 years would require 38% less land.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zysuo1Pw-2w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">One of Perth’s major cemeteries is redeveloping existing burial grounds in response to running out of space.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Create dedicated natural burial grounds</h2> <p>One simple, more environmentally friendly option is “<a href="https://www.gmct.com.au/services/natural-burials">natural burial</a>”. Natural burial eschews embalming, caskets made from hardwood or metal, and monumental headstones. Instead, the body is buried in biodegradable materials, such as wicker or cardboard.</p> <p>Green burial grounds are popular in the United Kingdom and Europe. They require less irrigation and maintenance. They also offer <a href="https://theecologist.org/2019/jan/14/case-natural-burial">a way to conserve natural woodlands</a> and so help foster biodiversity.</p> <p>Some Australian cemeteries offer <a href="https://smct.org.au/murrun-naroon-natural-burials">natural burial as an option</a> next to traditional grave plots. There are, however, few dedicated natural burial grounds. Legislating natural burial grounds as distinct entities will allow specific regulations that give priority to regular grave renewal and positive environmental impact.</p> <p>Natural burial grounds may also make “better neighbours” than traditional cemeteries if communities are going to be <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-23/sydney-is-running-out-of-burial-space/101881570">asked to live alongside new cemeteries</a>. Overcoming resistance to new cemetery developments is essential to secure future burial capacity.</p> <h2>Legalise alternative disposal methods</h2> <p>We are all familiar with burial and cremation. But what about dissolving bodies in an alkaline solution – known as “<a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/could-water-cremation-become-the-new-american-way-of-death-180980479/">water cremation</a>” or “alkaline hydrolysis” – or transforming them into compost (“natural organic reduction”)?</p> <p>These options have <a href="https://theconversation.com/life-after-death-americans-are-embracing-new-ways-to-leave-their-remains-85657">robust environmental credentials</a>. They require less space than burial, as they produce portable remains in the form of ashes or soil. <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64140571">Several US states</a> now permit these options.</p> <p>In most of Australia, these options exist in a legal grey area. In <a href="https://content.legislation.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/03-80aa034%20authorised_0.pdf">Victoria</a>, authorisation must be sought from the Department of Health to dispose of a body other than by burial or cremation. Queensland has no comprehensive cemeteries legislation, and thus no guidance on the legality of these alternatives.</p> <p><a href="https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/pdf/asmade/sl-2011-568">New South Wales</a> legalised water cremation (but not natural organic reduction) in 2011. The state now has two such facilities.</p> <p>Other states and territories should follow NSW in explicitly legalising viable alternative disposal methods. This will ease pressure on cemeteries and provide greater choice to families.</p> <h2>Invest in cemeteries as multi-use green spaces</h2> <p>Current regulatory frameworks emphasise the cemetery as a space of sombre reflection and remembrance. <a href="https://content.legislation.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/15-59sra003%20authorised.pdf">Victoria</a>, for example, prohibits a wide range of activities, including dancing, fishing and sport.</p> <p>However, as <a href="https://www.acf.org.au/natural_solutions_needed_for_our_overheating_cities">green space becomes scarce</a> in Australia’s major cities, public opinion and current practices are falling out of alignment with such regulations. In a <a href="https://theconversation.com/visions-of-future-cemeteries-5-models-and-how-australians-feel-about-them-149150">recent national survey</a>, two-thirds of respondents disagreed with the sentiment that cemeteries were solely spaces for memorialisation. They supported the use of cemeteries as public green space.</p> <p>Historic cemeteries, where new burials and visits are rare, offer even greater potential as multi-use public space. In <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1618866722001418">cities overseas</a>, jogging, walking the dog and picnics are common in these cemeteries.</p> <p>Australia is yet to feel the full effects of the impending crisis of cemetery space. While big changes are needed to avert this crisis, at least the path forward is clear.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/205987/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-falconer-1171812">Kate Falconer</a>, Lecturer, T.C. Beirne School of Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-gould-999499">Hannah Gould</a>, Research Fellow, Social And Political Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-cemeteries-face-a-housing-crisis-too-4-changes-can-make-burial-sustainable-205987">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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7 ways to make sure your garden is eco-friendly

<p>Your garden may be green but is it as environmentally friendly as it could be? Any green thumb knows gardening is about cultivation and conservation so ensuring your garden is eco-friendly will not only help your plot of paradise thrive but the wider environment as well. No matter how big or small your garden, here are 7 easy ways to make your garden greener.</p> <p><strong>Make your own compost</strong></p> <p>Don’t use chemic fertilisers when composting is the best way to give your plants added nutrients. Start a compost bin and you’ll not only feel better throwing out your dinner scraps but your garden will thrive.  </p> <p><strong>Reduce water usage</strong></p> <p>Adopting a few smart watering techniques will easily reduce precious water usage. Adding mulch to your garden will help hold moisture in the soil for longer which means less watering. Install a drip line as they require half the water used by sprinklers.</p> <p><strong>Don’t use pesticides</strong></p> <p>Most of the insects in your garden are beneficial so using a pesticide to kill the minority of pesky bugs will do more harm than good. If your garden does have pests, use an organic pesticide or one targeting that particular pest.</p> <p><strong>Recycle</strong></p> <p>Recycle your old pots or buy recycled items. Everyday items like plastic cartons and yoghurt pots can be used as seed trays.</p> <p><strong>Go native</strong></p> <p>Plants indigenous to Australia or from areas with similar climates (like Mediterranean plants) not only have a natural defence against pests but flourish in our weather conditions. They are easier to grow, use less water and require less maintenance.</p> <p><strong>Use rainwater</strong></p> <p>Why pay for water when you can get it for free? Use a rain barrel or any type of container to catch the rain. Make sure you place a screen over the barrel to keep out any debris.</p> <p><strong>Companion plant</strong></p> <p>Many first-time gardeners tend to randomly choose plants for their garden without considering which plants work well together. Known as companion planting, choosing plants that complement each other will help all your plants thrive and fend of pests.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Home & Garden

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How zinc batteries could power the sustainable economy

<p>What might it take to get zinc batteries offsetting some of the demand on lithium-ion?</p> <p>According to a <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.26599/NRE.2022.9120039" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">review</a> in <em>Nano Research Energy,</em> a few avenues of research look set to make rechargeable zinc batteries efficient and long-lasting enough to be competitive.</p> <p>If you want to store electricity, lithium-ion batteries are <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/physics/long-live-the-power-of-lithium/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">generally the most powerful</a> and <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/precious-metal/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">energy dense option</a>.</p> <p>But lithium isn’t a <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/materials/lithium-ion-battery-supply-chain-australia/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">super-abundant metal</a>, and it’s very reactive: lithium-ion batteries need <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/battery-fire-lithium-ion/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">elaborate safety systems</a> to lower the risk of fires.</p> <p>As battery demand soars, to shore up the <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/energy-crisis-escape-transition/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">transition to renewable energy</a>, researchers are looking for alternatives to lithium.</p> <p>“Zinc has a strong battery track record, having been used as anode material as early as 1799!” says co-author Dapeng Liu, a battery researcher with the Key Laboratory of Bio-inspired Smart Interfacial Science and Technology at Beihang University, China.</p> <p>“Zinc-based battery technology already accounts for one-third of the world battery market.”</p> <p>Zinc can be used in a range of different types of battery – including <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/new-charge-for-old-battery/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">zinc-air batteries</a>, which are currently available as small disposables, rechargeable <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/flow-battery-china/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">flow batteries</a>, or rechargeable non-flow zinc-bromide batteries.</p> <p>Zinc-based batteries are typically cheaper than lithium-ion, and carry a much lower fire risk.</p> <p>But while their performance has much improved over the past decade, they’re still not good for commercial rechargeable batteries yet. They’re not very energy-dense, and they have shorter life cycles.</p> <p>According to the researchers, there are a few areas of chemistry that should be focused on to improve this.</p> <p>First, say the reviewers, the anodes and cathodes of zinc batteries need to be developed so that they don’t deplete as much over time. They think that changing the surface of the anodes (interface modification), and alloying the zinc with other materials and additives, will yield the best results.</p> <p>Next, better <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/next-big-thing-catalysts-can-change-the-world/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">catalysts</a> are needed to speed up zinc-air batteries’ reactions, making them more efficient.</p> <p>Finally, the researchers suggest that new electrolyte mixtures can improve battery performance.</p> <p>“Rechargeable zinc-based batteries have a long way to go before large-scale application in the mobile, power, and other electronic equipment markets,” conclude the researchers in their paper.</p> <p>A zinc-bromide battery factory opened in Australia in late September. Operated by <a href="https://gelion.com/gelion-launches-australian-battery-manufacturing-facility/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Gelion</a>, a renewable energy company that spun out from research at the University of Sydney, the facility is currently capable of making two megawatt hours of batteries per year.</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=227531&amp;title=How+zinc+batteries+could+power+the+sustainable+economy" width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/zinc-batteries-improvements-needed/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Ellen Phiddian. </em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Technology

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Sustainable aviation fuels – is Australia being left behind?

<p>Some solutions in renewable energy are relatively easy. Solar panels on roofs for example, or battery powered cars.</p> <p>But our obsession with air travel is significantly harder to decarbonise. Batteries are too heavy except on very short flights, and other zero carbon solutions in aviation are few and far between. Without removing air travel altogether, the next best thing is something called ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ or SAFs.</p> <p>While many other countries are ramping up their SAF production and already mixing it in with traditional fuels, Australia is being left behind.</p> <p>“It’s a shame if Qantas meets its 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel target in 2030 by just buying it offshore,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce earlier this year.</p> <p>“That would be terrible outrage in my mind, and it’s a terrible dropping of the ball in Australia.”</p> <h2>What is sustainable aviation fuel?</h2> <p>SAFs are lower carbon fuels. They can be made of either biomass like waste oil or alcohol – called biofuels, or built chemically, brick-by-brick from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen – called e-fuels.</p> <p>Biofuels particularly are not a zero-carbon alternative, but they are markedly better than traditional fossil fuel-based jet fuel.</p> <p>These fuels can be used just by themselves – called 100% SAF-powered – and they have very similar chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel so they’re just as effective.</p> <p>The problem though is the cost. They’re up to four times as expensive as traditional jet fuel, and around the world there’s just not that much of it on the market – less than 1% of jet fuel available.</p> <p>“Aviation fuels represent about 7-8% of all fuel consumption I believe, and of course in a country like Australia it’s an even bigger part of our liquid fuel consumption,” Lars Nielsen, a professor at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, told Cosmos.</p> <p>“A very large part of the cost of flying is the aviation fuel. Nobody’s jumping to pay more for flying to Europe, therefore, it’s market demand. Are the customers willing to pay the extra price that would be involved with it?”</p> <p>As we decarbonise other areas of emissions – like electricity, transport and agriculture – aviation emissions as a percentage of total emissions are likely to skyrocket. While we could lower our reliance on flying (a small but growing habit), or discover completely zero carbon solutions for aviation, working out how to make SAFs sustainable and cost effective is important.</p> <p>Nielsen has worked with SAF in the past, as part of a project called the Queensland Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative.</p> <p>The group was trying to work out if three different sources of biofuels – sugar cane crop, algae, and a drought resistant tree called pongamia – could be made cost efficient compared to traditional fossil based jet fuels.</p> <p>“Whenever the prices of jet fuel go high, people start getting interested,” he says.</p> <p>“The only thing that could happen at a reasonable speed was sugar to fuel. But even then, we could see the prices were not competitive [even though] it’s technically very feasible.”</p> <h2>International Jet Fuel</h2> <p>Despite these problems, companies have started creating SAFs and selling them to aviation companies around the world.</p> <p>Heathrow for example is the largest major airport user of SAFs. This is partially due to a government mandate requiring 10% of jet fuel be SAF by 2030, and a priority to have at least 5 commercial-scale SAF plants under construction in the UK by 2025.</p> <p>This is on top of Heathrow airport putting in place SAF incentives earlier this year.</p> <p>In the US, the government has launched the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to reduce the cost, enhance the sustainability, and expand the production and use of SAF.</p> <p>United Airlines has used over five million gallons at Los Angeles International Airport, while JetBlue has signed a ten-year uptake agreement to receive at least 670 million gallons of blended SAF to its three New York area airports – JFK, La Guardia, and Newark.</p> <p>But there have already been some kinks in the system, particularly with first generation biofuels.</p> <p>“What was really quite disastrous is that in 2005 Europe committed to using biodiesel. Of course, biodiesel manufacturers in Europe found out the cheapest oil source we have is palm oil,” Nielson said.  </p> <p>“It expanded quite significantly the amount of biodiesel incorporated.”</p> <p>Unfortunately, a report in 2016 found that Europe’s switch might have increased greenhouse gas emissions. They reported that emissions from biodiesel are more than three times higher than those from conventional diesel engines when indirect effects are considered.</p> <p>The EU has now committed to phasing out these ‘first generation biofuels’ by 2030, but it highlights that not all sustainable fuels are equal.</p> <h2>Australia is being left behind</h2> <p>Meanwhile, in Australia we have barely made it into first-generation biofuels. The Queensland Sustainable Fuel Initiative shut down in the early 2010s, and there hasn’t been much traction since.</p> <p>This is both in getting the SAF into planes, as well as creating the fuel in Australia. Having a SAF industry in Australia would create jobs, potentially use waste products like used fry oil, as well as lower the emissions getting the fuel shipped halfway across the world.</p> <p>There have been a few toes dipped into the water in the past few years.</p> <p>In 2017 Virgin Australia announced a trial to add SAF through Brisbane Airport’s fuel supply system. It finished up in 2018, after being used in 195 flights from Brisbane. However, since the completion of the trial, there has been no other SAF incorporated into Australia’s jet fuel supply.</p> <p>Despite Virgin committing to net zero emissions by 2050, there’s currently no concrete plans for SAF to be used in their planes. Instead, they are prioritising modernising planes, lowering operational efficiencies, ground emissions, waste management and expanding the carbon offsetting programs.</p> <p>“Virgin Australia continues to work proactively with government and industry to establish a program for the viable commercial production of sustainable aviation fuel here in Australia,” a Virgin Australia Spokesperson told Cosmos in a statement.</p> <p>In March this year Qantas announced a Climate Action Plan where they pledged 10% SAF by 2030, and 60% by 2050. They also invested $50 million dollars in domestic production of SAF.</p> <p>Currently, the only SAF being used in the Qantas fleet is from the Heathrow Airport, but they’ve agreed to purchase SAF for its operations from California from 2025.</p> <p>In April, the Queensland government announced the first commercial sustainable aviation fuel biorefinery in Australia, which is hoping to provide 350 million litres of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel once it’s up and running.</p> <p>We might be waiting a while though – construction isn’t set to start until 2023, and the company behind the facility – Oceania Biofuels – has suggested that operations won’t begin until at least 2025.</p> <p>With the government’s 35% reduction in emissions by 2030, and net zero by 2050, working out how to create and incorporate SAFs to meet demand needs to be a priority.</p> <p>The previous government released a ‘bioenergy roadmap’ back in November last year, however the report has almost no commitments and limited funding for SAFs.</p> <p>Currently the Albanese government is still in the planning stages of creating any SAF initiatives.</p> <p>“The Minister for Transport has already outlined her intention to form a Jet Zero-style council to work across the aviation sector to help co-ordinate ongoing work to drive down aviation emissions,” a spokesperson for the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine King, told Cosmos.</p> <p>“In addition, our upcoming Aviation White Paper will consider as a priority how to maximise the aviation sector’s contribution to achieving net zero carbon emissions, including through sustainable aviation fuel and emerging technologies.</p> <p>“The Minister is also establishing a unit in the department to work across government and with industry to drive down domestic transport sector emissions.”</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/sustainable-aviation-fuels-is-australia-being-left-behind/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Jacinta Bowler.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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To make our wardrobes sustainable, we must cut how many new clothes we buy by 75%

<p>If things don’t change fast, the fashion industry <a href="https://www.stockholmresilience.org/download/18.66e0efc517643c2b8103605/1617805679501/Sustainable%20Textiles%20Synthesis%20Report.pdf">could</a> use a quarter of the world’s remaining global carbon budget to keep warming under 2℃ by 2050, and use 35% more land to produce fibres by 2030. </p> <p>While this seems incredible, it’s not. Over the past 15 years, clothing production <a href="https://archive.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/explore/fashion-and-the-circular-economy">has doubled</a> while the length of time we actually wear these clothes has fallen by nearly 40%. In the EU, falling prices have seen people buying <a href="https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/textiles-in-europes-circular-economy">more clothing</a> than ever before while spending less money in the process.</p> <p>This is not sustainable. Something has to give. In our <a href="https://eeb.org/library/wellbeing-wardrobe-a-wellbeing-economy-for-the-fashion-and-textile-sector-summary">recent report</a>, we propose the idea of a wellbeing wardrobe, a new way forward for fashion in which we favour human and environmental wellbeing over ever-growing consumption of throwaway fast-fashion. </p> <p>What would that look like? It would mean each of us cutting how many new clothes we buy by as much as <a href="https://katefletcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Earth-Logic-plan-FINAL.pdf">75%</a>, buying clothes designed to last, and recycling clothes at the end of their lifetime. </p> <p>For the sector, it would mean tackling low incomes for the people who make the clothes, as well as support measures for workers who could lose jobs during a transition to a more sustainable industry.</p> <h2>Sustainability efforts by industry are simply not enough</h2> <p>Fashion is accelerating. Fast fashion is being replaced by <a href="https://amp.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/dec/21/how-shein-beat-amazon-at-its-own-game-and-reinvented-fast-fashion">ultra-fast fashion</a>, releasing unprecedented volumes of new clothes into the market. </p> <p>Since the start of the year, fast fashion giants H&amp;M and Zara have launched <a href="https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/retail/why-shein-might-be-worth-100-billion-in-four-charts">around 11,000 new styles</a> combined. </p> <p>Over the same time, ultra-fast fashion brand Shein has released a staggering 314,877 styles. Shein is currently the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-05/shein-is-the-new-darling-of-china-s-fast-fashion-industry-but-at/100964524">most popular shopping app in Australia</a>. As you’d expect, this acceleration is producing a tremendous amount of waste.</p> <p>In response, the fashion industry has devised a raft of plans to tackle the issue. The problem is many sustainability initiatives still place economic opportunity and growth before environmental concerns. </p> <p>Efforts such as switching to more sustainable fibres and textiles and offering ethically-conscious options are commendable. Unfortunately, they do very little to actually confront the sector’s rapidly increasing consumption of resources and waste generation.</p> <p>On top of this, <a href="https://cleanclothes.org/news">labour rights abuses</a> of workers in the supply chain are rife. </p> <p>Over the past five years, the industry’s issues of child labour, discrimination and forced labour have worsened globally. Major garment manufacturing countries including Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Vietnam are considered an <a href="https://www.maplecroft.com/insights/analysis/worldwide-decline-in-labour-rights-strikes-at-heart-of-global-supply-chains/">“extreme risk”</a> for modern slavery. </p> <p>Here’s what we can do to tackle the situation. </p> <h2>1. Limit resource use and consumption</h2> <p>We need to have serious conversations between industry, consumers and governments about limiting resource use in the fashion industry. As a society, we need to talk about how much clothing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629620304564?via%3Dihub">is enough</a> to live well. </p> <p>On an individual level, it means buying fewer new clothes, as well as reconsidering where we get our clothes from. Buying secondhand clothes or using rental services are ways of changing your wardrobe with lower impact. </p> <h2>2. Expand the slow fashion movement</h2> <p>The growing <a href="https://slowfashion.global/">slow fashion movement</a> focuses on the quality of garments over quantity, and favours classic styles over fleeting trends.</p> <p>We must give renewed attention to repairing and caring for clothes we already own to extend their lifespan, such as by reviving sewing, mending and other long-lost skills.</p> <h2>3. New systems of exchange</h2> <p>The wellbeing wardrobe would mean shifting away from existing fashion business models and embracing new systems of exchange, such as collaborative consumption models, co-operatives, not-for-profit social enterprises and <a href="https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/certification">B-corps</a>. </p> <p>What are these? Collaborative consumption models involve sharing or renting clothing, while social enterprises and B-corps are businesses with purposes beyond making a profit, such as ensuring living wages for workers and minimising or eliminating environmental impacts.</p> <p>There are also methods that don’t rely on money, such as swapping or borrowing clothes with friends and altering or redesigning clothes in repair cafes and sewing circles. </p> <h2>4. Diversity in clothing cultures</h2> <p>Finally, as consumers we must nurture a diversity of clothing cultures, including incorporating the knowledge of <a href="https://www.russh.com/creator-of-australian-indigenous-fashion-yatu-widders-hunt-on-telling-stories-and-the-future-of-fashion/">Indigenous fashion design</a>, which has respect for the environment at its core. </p> <p>Communities of exchange should be encouraged to recognise the cultural value of clothing, and to rebuild emotional connections with garments and support long-term use and care.</p> <h2>What now?</h2> <p>Shifting fashion from a perpetual growth model to a sustainable approach will not be easy. Moving to a post-growth fashion industry would require policymakers and the industry to bring in a wide range of reforms, and re-imagine roles and responsibilities in society. </p> <p>You might think this is too hard. But the status quo of constant growth cannot last. </p> <p>It’s better we act to shape the future of fashion and work towards a wardrobe good for people and planet – rather than let a tidal wave of wasted clothing soak up resources, energy and our very limited carbon budget.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-make-our-wardrobes-sustainable-we-must-cut-how-many-new-clothes-we-buy-by-75-179569" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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How investors can build a sustainable income in an inflationary market

<p>Over recent months, rising inflation has hit our back pockets more and more each day, while our hard-earned dollar is getting us less than it used to.</p> <p>The last 12 months have seen Aussies grapple with terms like inflation, interest rates and volatility, along with plenty of numbers and percentages, as we try to make sense of what’s happening in the financial world.</p> <p>Tim Montague-Jones, Head of Australian Equities Research at ASR Wealth Advisers, tells <em>OverSixty</em> that during periods of inflation, like the one we’re experiencing currently, we can actually become poorer despite our bank balances staying the same.</p> <p>“In simplistic terms, if you had $100,000 in savings, and you have 10 percent inflation, then that $10,000 is just evaporating out of your bank account each year,” he explains.</p> <p>“But in reality, what it means is you go into the shop and everything just costs more money, your dollar buys less. So you become poorer.”</p> <p>If we do nothing or invest in generally considered safe options such as bonds, government securities or term deposits, our money can also lose value.</p> <p>“If cash value goes down 10 percent a year, you lose 10 percent. Now, if you go and put it in a bond, you’ll be lucky to get a four or five percent return,” Montague-Jones says.</p> <p>“So what people talk about is real rates, which means the difference between inflation and what you can return from an investment, a cash account for example is unable to offer a higher return than inflation, meaning your money is going down in value every year.</p> <p>“If people do nothing in such conditions, they will lose wealth.”</p> <p>“You’re seeing higher prices and lower economic growth, and it just erodes people’s savings. “And it hits the hardest for people who aren’t employed, who don’t have a salary because they’re not going to get wage inflation.”</p> <p>As unstable as everything might seem, Montague-Jones says it is possible to still get a return on your investments and ensure your hard-earned cash isn’t losing all of its value.</p> <p>“In reality, there’s no safe place to put your money to offset inflation, but there are certain strategies you can take to try and mitigate that inflation,” he says.</p> <p>Income portfolios, like the one offered by <a href="https://www.australianstockreport.com.au/top-3-income-stocks-2022-o" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ASR Wealth Advisers</a>, are created by analysts who scan the market for high quality stocks that are expected to achieve a steady return on investment and therefore may provide you with a sustainable income in addition to your other income sources.”</p> <p>“We have put together what we call our income portfolio. I have a team of analysts, and what we do is we are looking for businesses which pay what we call a ‘defensive’ cash flow,” he explains.</p> <p>“So we’re not trying to buy a company which is going to double in price, we’re not looking for that capital growth. What we’re looking for is a company with that annual cash flow.”</p> <p>In times like these, Montague-Jones says it comes down to investing in defensive stocks.</p> <p>This refers to buying stock in businesses that return consistent profits each year, rather than those that are high risk and high reward. Examples of defensive sectors of the market include infrastructure, utilities, supermarkets and healthcare.</p> <p>“What we like is electricity distribution, gas pipelines, toll roads, port facilities, airports. We like what we call defensive infrastructure, utilities, things that are expected to continue doing well and are resilient to an economic cycle,” Montague-Jones explains.</p> <p>“Because we will continue to have economic cycles, what we want to do is just have that cash flow, so we’re not going to really look at the share price from month to month, what we’re going to be looking at is the consistency of that cash flow through time.</p> <p>“And that’s what we’ve helped our investors to get exposure to through our income portfolio.”</p> <p>As a result of its consistent returns, the <a href="https://www.australianstockreport.com.au/top-3-income-stocks-2022-o">income portfolio</a> from ASR Wealth Advisers has a low turnover or a ‘set and forget’ nature, which Montague-Jones says allows some investors to essentially live off the income generated by the portfolio.</p> <p>“What we like about our income stocks is of the nature of its cash flow, even through an economic cycle, we still wake up, we turn the lights on, you turn the gas on, businesses still function, life goes on and so does income from the portfolio,” he says.</p> <p>In terms of strategies investors can use during inflation, Montague-Jones says that there aren’t many places where your money can go without incurring some kind of loss. Even areas that have done well in the past, such as property, offshore assets and precious metals aren’t generally offering the same kinds of returns as defensive stocks.</p> <p>“And I do think you have just got to invest in infrastructure assets, such as a utility business churning out cash flow, is where you need to hide at the moment until the smoke clears and we can work out where to go,” he says.</p> <p>“Longer term, we still like commodities, we like green metals. We particularly like copper, there’s a big structural shift happening into electric vehicles and a move away from combustion vehicles,” Montague-Jones explains.</p> <p>“And there’s a big boom for lithium, copper, nickel and aluminium, so we like to get more speculative investors to invest in these commodities.”</p> <p>With over 20 years of experience in investment management, Montague-Jones has personally adopted some successful strategies over the years, including having a “get rich slow” mindset.</p> <p>“I like to set and forget, to own a business and then just let it do what it does, which is generate income.</p> <p>“And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not get rich quick, it’s get rich slow.</p> <p>“It’s about that compound return, year in year out. If you can make nine or ten percent every year, you compound that over 10 or 20 years, you’ll have better chances to become extremely wealthy, rather than trying to make 30 percent this year then lose 30 percent next year.</p> <p>“So it’s about get rich slow and about income; it’s a key ingredient to becoming wealthy.”</p> <p>To find out more and receive a free report detailing how you can see attractive growth on your investment, head <a href="https://www.australianstockreport.com.au/top-3-income-stocks-2022-o" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with </em><a href="https://aaigl.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>AAIGL</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><em> </em><em>Atlantic Pacific Securities Pty Limited ABN 72 135 187 085 trading as ASR Wealth Advisers CAR 339207 of Trilogy Group Australia Pty Ltd ABN 80 078 111 654 AFSL 218770 and Amalgamated Australian Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 61 123 680 106 AFSL 31461 distributes a wide range of its investment research reports through Australian Stock Report Pty Ltd ABN 94 106 863 978 AFSL 301682. ASR Wealth Advisers and Australian Stock Report Pty Ltd are part of Amalgamated Australian Investment Group Limited ABN 81 140 208 288.</em></p> <p><em>General Advice Warning: Any views and recommendations expressed in this article are limited to general advice only without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this information is appropriate for you in light of your personal circumstances and seek professional investment advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investment in securities involves risk. Share prices rise and fall. The payment of dividends and the return of capital are not guaranteed.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Five ways to make your holidays more sustainable

<p>COVID-19 has resulted in the most severe disruption to the global tourism industry in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1758708">modern times</a>. And although many countries have now reopened to visitors from overseas, the economic impact is likely to be felt for many years. </p> <p>Prior to the pandemic, awareness had <a href="https://globalnews.booking.com/bookingcom-reveals-key-findings-from-its-2019-sustainable-travel-report/">been growing</a> regarding the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/18/environmental-damage-of-tourism-comes-under-mps-spotlight">environmental sustainability of tourism</a>. From over-consumption of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/20/national-parks-america-overcrowding-crisis-tourism-visitation-solutions">precious resources</a> to the destructive impact on <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/22/the-world-needs-wildlife-tourism-but-that-wont-work-without-wildlife">natural habitats</a>, tourism can put enormous strains on <a href="https://theconversation.com/tourists-not-welcome-how-to-tackle-the-issue-of-overtourism-101766">destination communities</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://www.responsibletravel.com/copy/what-is-overtourism">Overtourism</a> has also been highlighted as an issue in many places. The Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Mount Everest, Majorca, Barcelona and Venice have all <a href="https://theconversation.com/overtourism-a-growing-global-problem-100029">felt the affects</a>. </p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-canadian-airlines-feel-the-pressure-of-flight-shaming-and-the-greta-2/">Greta Thunberg’s</a> climate-change activism has added the term “flight shame” to our vocabulary. Her work has encouraged airlines to engage in tree planting or invest in wind farms to offset their carbon emissions, and travellers to think before they fly. </p> <p>As global restrictions begin to ease, now is a good time to think radically about the purpose of tourism and the way we all travel. This is a chance to <a href="https://unlearn.travel/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Unlearn-Bruce-Poon-Tip.pdf">reset everything</a>we know – and not simply return to business as usual.</p> <p>Obviously, one of the difficulties is that many of us are used to going wherever we want, whenever we want – which is not sustainable. But a few changes to our travel plans can play a key role in shaping the future of the travel industry. </p> <p>Below are five suggestions to help you travel in a more purposeful way.</p> <h2>1. Choose carefully</h2> <p>Carefully consider your desired destination and avoid places impacted by overtourism. Visiting during off-peak seasons will likely save you money and enhance your overall experience - and let you skip the queues.</p> <p>It’s also worth thinking about a different type of “holiday” or travel experience. You could volunteer for a <a href="https://sustainabletourism.net/case-studies/companies-and-organizations/ngos/">local NGO</a> or consider travel opportunities that support <a href="https://planeterra.org/what-we-do/our-projects/sisterhood-of-survivors/">marginalised groups</a>, for example.</p> <h2>2. Travel slowly</h2> <p>Travel like Greta to minimise your environmental impact. Travel less for longer, swapping the quantity of experiences for quality. Instead of taking three separate long weekends, why not take just one two-week holiday. </p> <p><a href="https://www.smartertravel.com/art-slow-travel/#:%7E:text=What%20Is%20Slow%20Travel%3F,and%20traditional%20food%20preparation%20methods.">Slow travel</a> is a mindset. Rather than pursuing Instagram-worthy photos and trying to squeeze as many attractions into your trip as possible, leave your phone at home and explore each destination at your own pace.</p> <p>Keeping sustainability in mind, it’s also worth considering opportunities that allow you to slowly experience a certain city, country or region while supporting local projects. Try a walking tour that supports previously <a href="https://sockmobevents.wordpress.com/author/sockmobevents/">marginalised locals</a> or rent a <a href="https://planeterra.org/what-we-do/our-projects/belize-bike-with-purpose/">bike with purpose</a> and help to fund educational programmes for local students.</p> <h2>3. Plan how you spend</h2> <p>Wherever you go, make sure you seek out local initiatives including local guides and local accommodation providers. This will make sure your money goes directly to people who will benefit from your support.</p> <p>Sites such as <a href="http://good-travel.org/">Good Travel</a> list businesses that prioritise environmental action and support local communities. You can also find out about locally made products sold at local businesses employing local people. This helps to ensure positive impacts remain in the community. </p> <p>And if you’re thinking of heading to Africa, <a href="http://www.fairtrade.travel/Home/">Fair trade tourism</a> is also a great resource to find out about businesses recognised for promoting responsible practices. Certified businesses range from eco-lodges, resorts, safaris, educational centres, township tours, golf clubs and cruises – so there are a lot of different options to choose from.</p> <h2>4. Eat like a local</h2> <p>Food accounts for over a quarter of global <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food">greenhouse gas emissions</a>, so it lies at the heart of tackling climate change, reducing water stress, pollution and restoring land. </p> <p>There are many ways to minimise your food miles when you travel. For a start, avoid eating at restaurant chains and instead, try to eat like a local. Visit markets, local neighbourhoods or local vendors for your foodie needs.</p> <p>You could even check out a food tour or meal-sharing host. <a href="https://www.travelingspoon.com/">Traveling Spoon</a> has a whole host of online and in-person cooking classes with locals from around the world. Eating locally supports local jobs and can also teach you about new cuisines.</p> <h2>5. Immerse yourself</h2> <p>An immersive type of travel prioritises people over places and avoids overcrowded spaces. This allows you to make real connections and can also help you gain insights about local traditions, cultures and history. For example, you could go trekking with a <a href="https://www.adventurealternative.com/experiences/">local guide</a>, enrol in a language course or attend a local festival or event. </p> <p>Ultimately, the pandemic has presented an opportunity to rethink and act radically and really consider the actual purpose of tourism. This is not only important from an environmental perspective, but travelling in a more purposeful way is more likely to help support local people in destination communities. And it also helps to contribute to a future where tourism is less harmful to people, places and the planet.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-ways-to-make-your-holidays-more-sustainable-143379" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Brands are leaning on ‘recycled’ clothes to meet sustainability goals

<p>Today we make more clothing than ever before. And the driver for this is primarily economic, rather than human need. Over the past decade, the term “circular economy” has entered the fashion industry lexicon, wherein materials are made to be reused and recycled by design.</p> <p>Yet we haven’t seen the same level of recycling in fashion as we have in other spaces – such as with plastic recycling, for instance. And this is mainly because clothing-to-clothing recycling is much more difficult.</p> <p>The use of recycled polyester and cotton by brands such as H&amp;M and Cotton On are key aspects of these companies’ sustainability initiatives – but the source of these recycled fibres usually isn’t clothing. Recycled polyester tends to <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/story/zwUxmcq5wIZqLA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">come from plastic bottles</a>, and recycled cotton is usually made from manufacturing waste.</p> <p>The fact is most clothing is simply not designed to be recycled. Even when it is, the fashion industry lacks the kind of infrastructure needed to really embrace a circular economy model.</p> <p><strong>Why is recycling clothes difficult?</strong></p> <p>Recycling clothing isn’t like recycling paper, glass or metal. Clothes are endlessly variable and unpredictable. So they’re not ideal for recycling technologies, which require a steady and consistent source material.</p> <p>Even a seemingly simple garment may contain multiple materials, with fibre blends such as cotton/polyester and cotton/elastane being common.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=292&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=292&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=292&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=367&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=367&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469705/original/file-20220620-24-w9gmlu.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=367&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Despite seeming simple, clothes are complex products containing many components and materials. This means recycling them is very difficult.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Different fibres have different capacities for recycling. Natural fibres such as wool or cotton can be recycled mechanically. In this process the fabric is shredded and re-spun into yarn, from which new fabric can be woven or knitted.</p> <p>However, the fibres become shorter through the shredding process, resulting in a lower quality yarn and cloth. Recycled cotton is often mixed with virgin cotton to ensure a better quality yarn.</p> <p>Most fabrics are also dyed with chemicals, which can have implications for recycling. If the original fabric is a mixture of many colours, the new yarn or fabric will likely need bleaching to be dyed a new colour.</p> <p>A complex garment such as a lined jacket easily contains more than five different materials, as well as trims including buttons and zippers. If the goal of recycling is to arrive at a material as close to the original as possible, all the garment’s components and fibres would first need to be separated.</p> <p>This requires labour and can be expensive. It’s often easier to shred the garment and turn it into a low-quality product, such as <a href="https://www.cjr.org/language_corner/shoddy.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shoddy</a> which is used for insulation.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469714/original/file-20220620-20-6cxi7m.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Massive amounts of clothing scraps are stacked on top of each other, loosely sorted by colour." /></a><figcaption><span class="attribution"><span class="source">Even if a garment is designed to be recyclable, if the infrastructure needed is missing, it will likely still end up in landfill. </span></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Industry progress and challenges</strong></p> <p>Companies such as <a href="https://www.blocktexx.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BlockTexx</a> and <a href="https://www.evrnu.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Evrnu</a> have developed processes to recycle fibres from blended fabrics, though such recycled fibres aren’t yet widely available.</p> <p>Through a proprietary technology, BlockTexx separates cellulose (present in both cotton and linen) and polyester from textile and clothing waste for new uses, including in new clothing. And Evrnu has developed <a href="https://www.evrnu.com/nucycl" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a type of lyocell</a> made entirely from textile and clothing waste.</p> <p>Spain-based company <a href="https://recoverfiber.com/products/rcotton" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Recover</a> meticulously sorts through different kinds of cotton textile waste to produce high quality, mechanically recycled, cotton fibre.</p> <p>There’s also biological recycling. Fibre waste from the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-04/cotton-compost-turns-trash-to-treasured-fertiliser/12410248" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rivcott cotton “gin”</a> (or cotton engine) is composted to become fertiliser for a new cotton crop. The same is possible with natural fibres from worn-out clothing, after potentially toxic dyes and chemicals have been eliminated.</p> <p>Synthetic fibres such as polyester and polyamide (nylon) can also be recycled mechanically and chemically. Chemical recycling through re-polymerisation (where the plastic fibre is melted) is an attractive option, since the quality of the original fibre can be maintained.</p> <p>In theory it’s possible to use polyester clothing as the source for this. But in practice the source is usually bottles. This is because clothing is usually “contaminated” with other materials such as buttons and zippers, and separating these is too labour intensive.</p> <p><strong>The plastic problem</strong></p> <p>Almost all recycled polyester in clothing today comes from recycled plastic bottles, rather than previous polyester clothing. This is significant when you consider polyester accounts for more than 60% of all fibre use.</p> <p>Given the rapid increase in the production of <a href="http://changingmarkets.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FOSSIL-FASHION_Web-compressed.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">synthetic fibres</a>, and the as-yet-unknown impact of microplastics (which were <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412020322297" target="_blank" rel="noopener">documented in human placentas</a> last year) – the question remains whether clothing should be made from biologically incompatible materials at all.</p> <p>Polyester clothes, regardless of fibre sources, contribute to microplastic pollution by shedding fibres when worn and laundered.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/469721/original/file-20220620-26-z0f5f8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Plastic bottles are ready to be used for recycling" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Although plastic bottles can be recycled into clothing, that clothing is very difficult to further recycle.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>A new generation of synthetic fibres from renewable sources (recyclable and also biodegradable) offers a path forward. For instance, the <a href="https://www.kintrafibers.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kintra</a> fibre is made from corn.</p> <p><strong>Reduce and reuse before you recycle</strong></p> <p>There’s plenty of evidence that reducing the consumption of clothing by wearing items longer and buying second-hand is preferable to purchasing recycled fibre clothes.</p> <p>But even second-hand fashion isn’t without problems when you consider the scale and pace of clothing production today.</p> <p>Liz Ricketts of the US-based OR Foundation, a charity focused on sustainable fashion, <a href="https://atmos.earth/fashion-clothing-waste-letter-ghana/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">paints a gruesome picture</a> of the Kantamanto market in Ghana, where much of the world’s secondhand clothing ends up (including from Australia).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"You have to understand that this is recycling, this is not a landfill.”</p> <p>Thousands of tonnes of knock-off clothing from Europe and the U.S. are being piled up in a mass dump in Chile's Atacama desert <a href="https://t.co/ANHu7RiN5q">pic.twitter.com/ANHu7RiN5q</a></p> <p>— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) <a href="https://twitter.com/Quicktake/status/1470991517292630022?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 15, 2021</a></p></blockquote> <p>One path forward is for companies to take responsibility for products at their end of life. US fashion brand Eileen Fisher is a pioneer on this front.</p> <p>The company has purchased garments back from customers since 2009. These are cleaned and sorted, and mostly resold under the <a href="https://www.eileenfisherrenew.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Eileen Fisher Renew</a> brand.</p> <p>Garments too damaged for resale are given to a dedicated design team, which redesigns them to be sold under the <a href="https://www.eileenfisherrenew.com/shop/resewn-collection" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Eileen Fisher Resewn</a> collection. Off-cuts from this process are captured and turned into textiles for further use.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/184406/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timo-rissanen-1339498" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Timo Rissanen</a>, Associate professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936" target="_blank" rel="noopener">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/brands-are-leaning-on-recycled-clothes-to-meet-sustainability-goals-how-are-they-made-and-why-is-recycling-them-further-so-hard-184406" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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A simpler life begins at home – key tips from people who’ve done it

<p>Voluntary simplicity focuses on doing more with less. People who choose this way of life seek other riches, like personal fulfilment, free time, community and environmental benefits. They see limiting their consumption as a way to improve their quality of life and flourish. </p> <p>We wanted to learn about people who choose this path. What lessons do they have to share? In particular, how can housing be designed to support simplicity?</p> <p>We talked in depth to 14 householders and 25 housing industry professionals. As well as the householders, 11 of the professionals had made housing changes to simplify their own lives. Our conversations focused on life stories and beliefs, thoughts on voluntary simplicity, and ways to overcome the challenges they faced.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02673037.2020.1720614">recently published research</a> shows it is possible, with a bit of work and planning, to live a simple and fulfilling life. We focused on housing, because housing choices are at the heart of such a life. Our social connections, incomes, transport needs and energy and water usage all link to where and how we live. </p> <p>Despite <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/6496B4739650C270CA2581F3000E3B4D?OpenDocument">continuing increases</a>, house and land prices are lower in Tasmania than on mainland Australia, but so are incomes. Just as elsewhere, housing practices here can lock householders into complicated consumption practices with negative consequences for society and the environment. Needing to work more to pay off bigger mortgages is one aspect of this.</p> <h2>Compromises are inevitable</h2> <p>Some participants wanted housing that encompassed environmental best practice and closeness to nature. Some wanted to connect with like-minded people. Some wanted smaller or no mortgages.</p> <p>But “you can’t have it all”, we were told. Compromises are inherent in striving for voluntary simplicity in housing. </p> <p>For example, you might want an off-grid eco-haven, but that’s unlikely in the inner city. You might need public transport, but that could rule out retrofitting a bush block home. </p> <p>The ethically sourced building materials you select from interstate or overseas might involve supply chains using multiple transport modes and all the fossil fuel these use. Locally sourced materials might not meet your ethical standards. And are you happy to buy your solar panels using credit from a Big Four bank that invests in fossil fuels?</p> <p>So, know your deal-breakers and accept that you cannot be “a model of simplicity” in every way all the time. “Do what you can for the context you’re in.”</p> <p>A resounding piece of advice from the professionals was “smaller is better”.</p> <h2>Do your homework</h2> <p>To find palatable compromises you must do your homework. For example, many people wanted to save money or have meaningful experiences of creating house and home. </p> <p>That level of engagement takes a lot of work, which surprised several participants. It requires project-management skills and familiarity with regulations beforehand.</p> <p>You might need specialist professionals on board from the start. A building designer told us, "You’re doing something different from the norm, so your standard industry professional might not be experienced with the regulations for composting toilets, on-site greywater systems, or even smaller-than-average houses."</p> <p>Situations might change mid-project. Participants emphasised how important it is to be prepared for regulatory reforms, technological change and unexpected costs. Communication is crucial – with family, professionals and tradespeople, councils and suppliers.</p> <p>One owner-builder told us, "It’s like a little treasure hunt. Ask lots of questions but gather them all together because professionals charge per hour or part thereof. Find people who have experience with a similar build or project. We asked friends for basic info, then asked the experts once we had some background."</p> <p>Options and requirements might not be obvious. Finding professionals with similar values who have a talent for project administration, regulations and time management can be hugely helpful. Another building designer told us, "It’s becoming increasingly hard to build a home without professional help. If you don’t know the order in which to do things, and how one influences the other, it can become very stressful and costly and time-consuming."</p> <p>Confidence and patience are useful attributes. Another owner-builder said, "You’ll be talking with people who know their stuff (or think they do) and are used to working with other professionals. It’s hard to call someone about a product not knowing what you’re talking about, but do it anyway and don’t be scared. At the end of the day, we were responsible for every aspect of our place, so why not take control? It gets easier once you start doing it."</p> <h2>Be patient and know your limitations</h2> <p>Since everything seems to “take so much longer than planned”, remember you are there for the long haul. </p> <p>If you want to move faster, you often have to pay experts for the privilege. As one owner-builder said: “We could have gotten away without the loan if time weren’t a factor.”</p> <p>The more you do yourself as a non-expert the more you learn. But even if you are careful, you might make mistakes that cost time and money. So “be guided by your emotions and values but don’t let them get the best of you”.</p> <h2>The project of a lifetime</h2> <p>The voluntary simplicity housing journey also affects professionals. One building designer told us, "I hope to see myself as an interpreter of what people want. It might be the project of a lifetime for someone who has spent their life savings on it, so I feel a responsibility to provide some sort of pastoral care. For owner-builders, the house becomes a part of the family in some ways."</p> <p>That means being friendly, patient, communicative and paying attention to how clients experience the whole system from planning regulations to the philosophies of sustainability.</p> <p>In practice, simple living is a huge journey. But with thought, planning and hard work, it can be extremely satisfying and rewarding. </p> <p>Committing to voluntary simplicity in housing (or anything else) is never a complete response. But, as part of a suite of positive responses to contemporary challenges, from climate change to community cohesion, it’s worth working for as individuals and as professionals.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-simpler-life-begins-at-home-key-tips-from-people-whove-done-it-132081" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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Review: A sustainable bra worth the splurge

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finding a bra that meets our lists of wants and needs - comfort, support, colour and more - is almost always a chore and can come with a high price tag.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And as a regular bra-wearer, having to replace my old, trusty pieces with something new is a task I put off until I absolutely have to.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite my reluctance to wear anything except my trusty (and well-worn) T-shirt bras, I decided to try Bendon’s </span><a href="https://www.bendonlingerie.com.au/brands/bendon/conscious-simplicity" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Conscious Simplicity</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Contour Bra ($59.95), which is the brand’s first range of recycled lingerie.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their bras are made with recycled foam for the cups, 73 percent recycled nylon fibres for the straps, and 93 percent recycled yarn for the back fabric.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="../media/7846487/22-7619zphr_bf.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/03dee18eac494960b3c59fc21fee5a48" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The contour bra (pictured) can be paired with a matching boyleg brief, both made from recycled materials. Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The range - available in contour, underwire, and maternity bras - can be paired with boyleg briefs which all feature botanical-inspired lace made with 50 percent recycled nylon fibres.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After taking it for a test drive - from quick trips to the shops to full 9am-5pm work days - here are some of my thoughts.</span></p> <p>Barely there… save the straps</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Initially, I was concerned I’d picked the wrong size despite checking my measurements, but upon trying it on I found it was a perfect fit. Plus, it felt as if the bra was barely there but still supportive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, I noticed the edging of the straps would dig in each time I put it on, though it becomes less noticeable during longer wears.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m pleased to report that the bra barely showed under some of my more notoriously thin white shirts, which even my beige favourites could sometimes be spotted through, but would still be visible through cotton t-shirts.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="../media/7846486/bra-review1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/764f93f2f35a4280bc37b04f6a96a7ef" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The contour bra is hard to spot in even my tightest of turtlenecks or white business shirts. The size pictured is an AU/NZ 16C.</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On top of that, an initial play around with the straps meant I wasn’t constantly adjusting them during the day (a common problem among my former-favourites).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the band did start to make its presence known by the end of some of my longer days, when I would first put it on at 6am and only take it off at around 9-10pm.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite this, the Conscious Simplicity Contour Bra has become my new favourite and I am on the cusp of adding more to my wardrobe (though an expansion of colour options would be nice).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In summary, here are some pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking of giving it a try.</span></p> <p><strong>Pros</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Comfortable and feels supportive even during longer wears</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eco-conscious</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hardy, quality materials that are still comfortable</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Concealed under most whites (despite its colour)</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wider range of cup sizes, with a maximum size of 22J</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Slightly uncomfortable edging on the straps that can dig in</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Limited colour options (only pink at the moment)</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The cost ($59.95 RRP)</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Limited underbust/band sizing, with a maximum size of 22 (102cm)</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Bendon Conscious Simplicity range is available from the Bendon website </span><a href="https://www.bendonlingerie.com.au/brands/bendon/conscious-simplicity" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">EDITOR'S UPDATE (12/4/22):</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Conscious Simplicity range is now available in black, with a Dark Rhubarb colour to be released in November 2022 with a maximum size of 20E.</span></p>

Money & Banking

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Intense debate sparked among fiercely loyal Aldi customers

<p dir="ltr">A new feature on Aldi bread has sparked intense debate among the supermarket’s loyal customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">The retail giant is currently trialling cardboard recyclable tags on many of its loaves of bread, replacing plastic tags. ALDI said it’s made the step as part of its commitment to become more sustainable.</p> <p dir="ltr">“ALDI Australia has a number of commitments to improve the sustainability of our product packaging, including a goal to reduce the amount of plastic packaging across our own-label range by a quarter by 2025,” an ALDI Australia spokesperson has told 7NEWS.com.au. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We have started trialling recyclable cardboard bread tags on a select range of our bread products, and we continue to work closely with our business partners to identify opportunities to transition to cardboard tags on more of our products.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The next few years will see us continue to remove plastics from our range or replace it with sustainable alternatives and by 2025 all remaining packaging will be either recyclable, reusable or compostable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Since being shared on social media, ALDI’s new cardboard bread tags have sparked intense debate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many agree that the new sustainable tags are “a brilliant idea”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Every bit of plastic that we can easily replace with a recyclable version is so much better for our environment,” said one.</p> <p dir="ltr">Added another: “This makes me very happy. Hopefully we can lose the vegetables in plastic wrap next. Good direction.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Said a third: “I was impressed by this too!!! And I found the plastic ones would sometimes pierce the bag.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Wrote one more: “ALDI has a commitment to recycling, I think it’s great, use the reuse-able clips, save our environment.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others have said they were disappointed in the cardboard tags, saying that they don’t work as well.</p> <p dir="ltr">“These really are the worst thing since sliced bread,” said one Facebook user.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another wrote: “I absolutely hate them… they break or become flimsy the first time you open the bread! So I’ve saved a whole heap of plastic ones and swap them as soon as I get home!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Added a third: “My bread ended up through the boot of my car these clips are useless.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Said another: “I love that it’s not plastic but the cardboard isn’t working well. I got a loaf of bread and it was raining, all open by the time I got to the car.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One more wrote: “It’s a great sustainability initiative however they’re so crap that they fall off after the second time getting bread out. Same for other stores too, not just an Aldi issue.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another added: “Can’t stand them. They break so easily. I’m glad I kept my old plastic ones.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, other Facebook users urged ALDI users to rise above the various issues.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Tip to anyone that is complaining. You can buy reusable metal pegs or even reuse other plastic tags,” one wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You just need to think outside the box. Man we are living in an interesting time of convenience and self entitlement. These tags are the worst thing for our ocean.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A few others pointed out a very Australian problem with the new cardboard tags.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You can never really fix a thong blow-out with it though,” said one.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ef1705f7-7fff-3f2b-a59b-73467a04c56c"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Another joked: “Won’t last long when I use it to fix my flip flops! Seriously though, good on ya ALDI.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Food & Wine

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How to make your diet more sustainable, healthy and cheap

<p>People choose certain foods or change their diets for a range of reasons: to improve their health, lose weight, save money or due to concerns about sustainability or the way food is produced.</p> <p>Consider the trend towards low-fat products in the 1980s and low-carb diets in the 1990s, and now, the rise in plant-based protein products and ready-to-eat meals.</p> <p>But before you abandon your traditional food choices, it’s important to consider the nutritional trade-offs. If you’re replacing one food with another, are you still getting the vitamins, minerals and other nutrition you need?</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/12/3156">recent paper</a>, I sought to raise awareness of nutritional differences between foods by producing a new index specific to Australia. It aims to help Australians make better informed dietary choices and get the nutrients recommended for good health.</p> <h2>Nutrients: are we getting enough?</h2> <p>The Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes tables showing the usual intake of selected nutrients across the population. The tables also show the proportion of Australians whose usual nutrient intake is below what’s known as the “estimated average requirement”.</p> <p>While Australian adults eat in diverse ways, they generally get enough of some nutrients regardless of their diets.</p> <p>For example, most people seem to obtain adequate niacin (Vitamin B3) and phosphorus. And the tables suggest 97% of Australians get enough vitamin C.</p> <p>However, inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and zinc is common.</p> <p>Around two-thirds of Australian adults consume less calcium than what’s recommended (which ranges from 840 to 1100 mg/day depending upon age). Worryingly, 90% of women aged over 50 don’t get enough calcium.</p> <p>Inadequate zinc intake is most prevalent among Australian men – more than half aged over 50 consume below recommended levels.</p> <p>So what about free sugars? These include added sugars and the sugar component of honey and fruit juices, but exclude natural sugars in intact fruit, vegetables and milk.</p> <p>It’s recommended Australians limit free sugars to less than 10% of dietary energy intake. However, almost 50% of Australian adults exceed this recommended limit.</p> <h2>Paying attention to under-consumed nutrients</h2> <p>Every food has a different nutrient composition. And as the <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a> show, we should eat a variety of foods to stay healthy.</p> <p>We should pay particular attention to foods that are important sources of nutrients for which large numbers of Australians are not getting enough. If possible, Australians should seek to include more of these foods in their diet.</p> <p>At the same time, foods with free sugars should be eaten only in moderation.</p> <p>The new food index <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/12/3156">I produced</a> seeks to help Australians achieve this. It provides an overall nutrient composition score tailored to the Australian dietary context.</p> <p>The index includes eight vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folate, A and C), eight minerals (calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, magnesium, iodine, selenium and molybdenum), along with protein and free sugars.</p> <p>These 18 elements are weighted in proportion to the extent of inadequate or excessive intake in Australia. A higher score is better than a lower score.</p> <p>So, the index scores foods highly if they are low in free sugars, and rich in the elements many Australians need more of – calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc and vitamin A.</p> <p>Foods containing few nutrients but added sugar score very low. For example, a chocolate chip cookie weighing 35 grams scored 0.004 and a sugar-sweetened cola-flavoured beverage scored below zero.</p> <h2>Swapping foods may not achieve like-for-like</h2> <p>The index can be used to compare foods that might be considered substitutes in pursuit of a diet that’s healthier, more affordable or better for the environment.</p> <p>In the case of dairy foods, 250ml of full cream milk scored 0.160, and reduced-fat milk almost as high at 0.157.</p> <p>The index shows the potential nutritional trade-offs when choosing dairy alternatives. A 250ml serving of calcium-fortified oat beverage scored 0.093. Without calcium fortification, the score fell to 0.034.</p> <p>Looking at meat, 100g of raw lean diced beef scored 0.142. An equivalent serving of plant-based burger made from pea protein, with many added vitamins and minerals, scored almost the same at 0.139. This shows plant-based alternatives are not necessarily less nutrient dense.</p> <p>The index also shows the different nutritional needs of women and men. For example, the scores for two large eggs were higher for women (0.143) than men (0.094). This reflects, in part, the greater prevalence of inadequate iron intake among younger women.</p> <p>This article originally appeared on <em>The Conversation</em>.</p> <p> </p>

Food & Wine

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Peer pressure driving sustainable diets

<p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <div> <div class="copy"> <p>People find it notoriously difficult to change eating habits to improve their own health, let alone the planet’s.</p> <p>Now European researchers who explored factors that might motivate shifts to more sustainable diets are suggesting that social norms and self-efficacy are the most important.</p> <p>The work by Sibel Eker and Michael Obersteiner, from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, and Gerhard Reese, from Germany’s University of Koblenz-Landau, supports evidence that peer group values are more powerful than scientific facts in shaping people’s beliefs and actions about climate change.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Their findings are presented in a paper in the journal Nature Sustainability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The study was motivated by increasing calls for people to adopt plant-based diets as part of radical shifts needed to address the destructive impact of current farming practices on the environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">A key target is red meat, which vastly exceeds other food sources in terms of its land use, irrigation and greenhouse gas emissions, and is unsustainable in the face of population growth and climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Red meat also has been associated with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">On this front alone, calculations suggest that if, on average, the world adopted a flexitarian diet (one portion of red meat per week), it could potentially prevent more than 10 million deaths each year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Eker wondered if such “ambitious scenarios” were attainable.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“I was observing my social network and society,” she says, “like more and more people being meat-reducers, new vegetarian restaurants in urban areas, and it </span>made me curious<span style="font-family: inherit;"> about where these dynamics could lead.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Although many people are reducing their meat intake in several countries, widespread resistance means that global levels needed to translate into environmental gains are still beyond reach. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">To explore how pervasive behavioural changes in meat consumption might be achieved, Eker and colleagues used an integrated assessment model to simulate population dynamics.</span></p> <p>Based on prominent psychological theories on environmental action, combined with models from management science, it includes income, social norms, climate risk perception, health risk perception, self-efficacy and response efficacy (belief that one’s actions can make a difference), as well as age, gender and education level.</p> <p>They simulated the model 10,000 times to find the optimal outcome.</p> <p>“This was an exploratory modelling study,” explains Eker, “meaning that we used the model as a platform to experiment with different scenarios to find the most important drivers of diet shifts.”</p> <p>Although she expected concern about health risks to be more important, Eker was not surprised that social norms – unwritten rules of behaviour considered acceptable in a group or society – were a leading motivator of diet change, because they create a strong, positive feedback loop, she says.</p> <p>Put differently, “As there are more vegetarians around, visibility of the phenomenon increases, therefore adoption increases”.</p> <p>The other key driver was self-efficacy, particularly in females, referring to perceived control over one’s behaviour and ability to change.</p> <p>Results showed that this model would yield the most rapid behaviour changes for people aged 15 to 44 years, even when their adoption of vegetarian diets is low.</p> <p>But even if 40% of the population became vegetarian, the model predicted that the environmental benefits may not be fully realised if everyone else continues their current meat consumption, suggesting that change requires a population-wide shift in eating patterns.</p> <p>The researchers conclude that their findings demonstrate the importance of factoring human behaviour into climate change mitigation efforts and suggest that future research also account for variations in cultural attitudes and world views.</p> <p>“We can use models to explore the social and behavioural aspects of climate change and sustainability problems in the same way as we explore the economic and environmental dimensions of our world,” says Eker.</p> <p>This could provide a better understanding of how to motivate the lifestyle changes that are essential to address the predicaments facing the planet.</p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p26085-o1" class="wpcf7"> <p style="display: none !important;"> </p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></p> </div> </div> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=26085&amp;title=Peer+pressure+driving+sustainable+diets" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/nutrition/peer-pressure-could-nudge-people-towards-sustainable-diets/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/natalie-parletta">Natalie Parletta</a>. </p> </div> </div>

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Older people can struggle with sustainable living

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>Improving the sustainability of Australia’s housing stock is<span> </span>crucial<span> </span>to meeting national emissions reduction goals. But for older adults, such changes can bring both benefits and challenges.</p> <p>My<span> </span>recent research<span> </span>examined the literature on environmental sustainability measures at residences for older adults. These included private homes, retirement villages and nursing homes.</p> <p>I found that while sustainability measures can bring multiple benefits to older people, they also bring challenges. For example, people living in sustainable dwellings may use less energy and water which leads to lower bills. But older people may suffer cognitive decline and struggle to use sustainable technology devices.</p> <p>The full effects of environmentally sustainable features must be better understood if we’re to provide seniors with high-quality residential environments.</p> <h2>Sustainability and ageing: a complex mix</h2> <p>Forecasts suggest that by 2056,<span> </span>22% of Australians<span> </span>– or 8.7 million people – will be aged 65 or older. High-quality residential environments are important to maintaining the welfare of these people as they age.</p> <p>Environmental sustainability is playing an ever greater role in residential development across the board, including retirement villages. And<span> </span>previous research<span> </span>suggests most retirement village residents want to lead more sustainable lifestyles.</p> <p>As climate change worsens, the dwellings of older adults should allow them to adapt to these changing conditions. The reduced ability of elderly people to regulate their body temperature means global warming is a profound threat to this group.</p> <p>Improving the sustainability of a residential environment may include:</p> <ul> <li>reducing waste</li> <li>using low carbon or recycled building materials</li> <li>solar passive design</li> <li>efficient heating and cooling</li> <li>using renewable energy such as rooftop solar.</li> </ul> <p>Some residential projects<span> </span>for the elderly already include environmental sustainability. A<span> </span>case study<span> </span>of a not-for-profit retirement village in South Australia revealed practices such as innovative floor plans, thermally efficient building materials, good window orientation and a water harvesting system.</p> <p>And my previous research<span> </span>found<span> </span>a range of sustainability features at eight private and not-for-profit retirement villages in Queensland.</p> <p>However, while many retirement village developers prioritise “social sustainability” features such as care provision and social interaction, environmental sustainability is<span> </span>largely ignored.</p> <h2>On the plus side</h2> <p>The benefits of environmentally sustainable features in in older adults’ residential environment include:</p> <p><strong>- reduced resource consumption:</strong><span> </span>sustainable dwellings usually require less water and energy use, which lowers living costs. This is especially important for older adults who often have reduced financial capacity after retirement. Older people also use energy<span> </span>more intensively<span> </span>than other groups because they have fewer household members, greater heating requirements and spend more time at home.</p> <p><strong>- reduced health risks:</strong><span> </span>environmentally sustainable measures can lead to healthier indoor environments. For example, good ventilation and high-quality air conditioning often lead to improved indoor air quality and more comfortable ambient temperatures.</p> <p><strong>- alleviated environmental challenges:</strong><span> </span>many older people want their homes to be more environmentally friendly. Doing their bit to alleviate global problems such as greenhouse gas emissions can provide them with peace of mind.</p> <h2>The potential downsides</h2> <p>The challenges of environmentally sustainable home features for older adults include:</p> <p><strong>- financial pressure:</strong><span> </span>the income of many older adults is substantially reduced after retirement. This<span> </span>can conflict<span> </span>with the high initial investment of developing an sustainable housing and the cost of replacing existing systems with sustainable ones.</p> <p><strong>- reducing energy consumption:</strong><span> </span>in some cases, sustainability measures can involve tolerating slightly higher or cooler temperatures. For example, moving from a gas-heating system to a more sustainable type may<span> </span>delay<span> </span>the arrival of heat in a room and leave older people uncomfortable for a short time. This may conflict with older people’s<span> </span>increased sensitivity<span> </span>to ambient temperatures.</p> <p><strong>- confusion and complexity:</strong><span> </span>Older adults can have<span> </span>reduced cognitive capabilities<span> </span>affecting memory and information processing speed. As a result they may struggle to use sustainable technologies such as smart thermostats. Research has<span> </span>suggested<span> </span>ways of overcoming this, such as better recognising the diversity of older adults to achieve a better “person-technology fit”.</p> <h2>Next steps</h2> <p>Older adults have unique needs which their homes<span> </span>must satisfy, even when sustainability features are being adopted.</p> <p>Ageing should be seen as a dynamic process with physical, psychological and social dimensions. And the complex interrelationships of ageing, environmental sustainability and the residential environment also need to be recognised.</p> <p>Best practices and lessons learned in creating sustainable living environments for older adults should be<span> </span>shared.</p> <p>Finally, developers making sustainability decisions should consult other stakeholders. These include contractors, occupational therapists, researchers and most importantly, older adults themselves.</p> <p>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/confusion-financial-pressure-discomfort-older-people-can-struggle-with-sustainable-living-despite-its-obvious-benefits-174535">The Conversation</a>.</p>

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Confusion, financial pressure, discomfort: older people can struggle with sustainable living, despite its obvious benefits

<p>Improving the sustainability of Australia’s housing stock is <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;q=building+sector+australia+emissions+the+conversation&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8">crucial</a> to meeting national emissions reduction goals. But for older adults, such changes can bring both benefits and challenges.</p> <p>My <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360132321007344">recent research</a> examined the literature on environmental sustainability measures at residences for older adults. These included private homes, retirement villages and nursing homes.</p> <p>I found that while sustainability measures can bring multiple benefits to older people, they also bring challenges. For example, people living in sustainable dwellings may use less energy and water which leads to lower bills. But older people may suffer cognitive decline and struggle to use sustainable technology devices.</p> <p>The full effects of environmentally sustainable features must be better understood if we’re to provide seniors with high-quality residential environments.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/441440/original/file-20220119-15-60lcsc.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Older man walks down corridor" /> <span class="caption">Sustainability measures can bring benefits and challenges to older people.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <h2>Sustainability and ageing: a complex mix</h2> <p>Forecasts suggest that by 2056, <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/population-groups/older-people/overview">22% of Australians</a> – or 8.7 million people – will be aged 65 or older. High-quality residential environments are important to maintaining the welfare of these people as they age.</p> <p>Environmental sustainability is playing an ever greater role in residential development across the board, including retirement villages. And <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jar/2014/919054/">previous research</a> suggests most retirement village residents want to lead more sustainable lifestyles.</p> <p>As climate change worsens, the dwellings of older adults should allow them to adapt to these changing conditions. The reduced ability of elderly people to regulate their body temperature means global warming is a profound threat to this group.</p> <p>Improving the sustainability of a residential environment may include:</p> <ul> <li>reducing waste</li> <li>using low carbon or recycled building materials</li> <li>solar passive design</li> <li>efficient heating and cooling</li> <li>using renewable energy such as rooftop solar.</li> </ul> <p><a href="https://new.gbca.org.au/case-studies/building/stockland-takes-sustainability-retirement-living/">Some residential projects</a> for the elderly already include environmental sustainability. A <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/F-08-2011-0060/full/html">case study</a> of a not-for-profit retirement village in South Australia revealed practices such as innovative floor plans, thermally efficient building materials, good window orientation and a water harvesting system.</p> <p>And my previous research <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652619341605">found</a> a range of sustainability features at eight private and not-for-profit retirement villages in Queensland.</p> <p>However, while many retirement village developers prioritise “social sustainability” features such as care provision and social interaction, environmental sustainability is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652617313963">largely ignored</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/441450/original/file-20220119-25-1qtv5d.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="elderly woman holds hands of carer" /> <span class="caption">Forecasts suggest that by 2056, 22% of Australians will be aged 65 or older.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <h2>On the plus side</h2> <p>The benefits of environmentally sustainable features in in older adults’ residential environment include:</p> <p><strong>- reduced resource consumption:</strong> sustainable dwellings usually require less water and energy use, which lowers living costs. This is especially important for older adults who often have reduced financial capacity after retirement. Older people also use energy <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421597000402">more intensively</a> than other groups because they have fewer household members, greater heating requirements and spend more time at home.</p> <p><strong>- reduced health risks:</strong> environmentally sustainable measures can lead to healthier indoor environments. For example, good ventilation and high-quality air conditioning often lead to improved indoor air quality and more comfortable ambient temperatures.</p> <p><strong>- alleviated environmental challenges:</strong> many older people want their homes to be more environmentally friendly. Doing their bit to alleviate global problems such as greenhouse gas emissions can provide them with peace of mind.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/441438/original/file-20220119-15-124namg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="elderly person's hands on heater" /> <span class="caption">Sustainable dwellings usually require less water and energy use,</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <h2>The potential downsides</h2> <p>The challenges of environmentally sustainable home features for older adults include:</p> <p><strong>- financial pressure:</strong> the income of many older adults is substantially reduced after retirement. This <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421511005222">can conflict</a> with the high initial investment of developing an sustainable housing and the cost of replacing existing systems with sustainable ones.</p> <p><strong>- reducing energy consumption:</strong> in some cases, sustainability measures can involve tolerating slightly higher or cooler temperatures. For example, moving from a gas-heating system to a more sustainable type may <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421515001172">delay</a> the arrival of heat in a room and leave older people uncomfortable for a short time. This may conflict with older people’s <a href="https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/enepol/v84y2015icp250-256.html">increased sensitivity</a> to ambient temperatures.</p> <p><strong>- confusion and complexity:</strong> Older adults can have <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bmb/article/92/1/135/332828">reduced cognitive capabilities</a> affecting memory and information processing speed. As a result they may struggle to use sustainable technologies such as smart thermostats. Research has <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421514006259">suggested</a> ways of overcoming this, such as better recognising the diversity of older adults to achieve a better “person-technology fit”.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/441437/original/file-20220119-25-fkfanl.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Four older women shelter from the sun under umbrella" /> <span class="caption">Older people may have increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Paul Miller/AAP</span></span></p> <h2>Next steps</h2> <p>Older adults have unique needs which their homes <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360132321007344">must satisfy</a>, even when sustainability features are being adopted.</p> <p>Ageing should be seen as a dynamic process with physical, psychological and social dimensions. And the complex interrelationships of ageing, environmental sustainability and the residential environment also need to be recognised.</p> <p>Best practices and lessons learned in creating sustainable living environments for older adults should be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652618325241">shared</a>.</p> <p>Finally, developers making sustainability decisions should consult other stakeholders. These include contractors, occupational therapists, researchers and most importantly, older adults themselves.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174535/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/xin-hu-685656">Xin Hu</a>, Lecturer, School of Architecture and Built Environment, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/confusion-financial-pressure-discomfort-older-people-can-struggle-with-sustainable-living-despite-its-obvious-benefits-174535">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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