Mushrooms & Footprints

This past week in class we covered a wide variety of topics and information between the readings, the in-class activities, and the LOLA show presentations. One of the main things that I took away from the Carbon Mapping reading was that everyone that is involved in the life cycle of apparel garments takes some responsibility for the GHG emissions and the detrimental effects these have on our environment. However, I was a little surprised at first to find out that most of these GHG emissions come from the consumer’s actions involving the garment in the use phase. When you think about it though, it makes sense considering the fact that the use phase is probably the longest phase in the life cycle of a garment. On top of that, the majority of people are not educated on this topic, and I’m sure a lot of people simply do not care enough to make changes in the way they care for and dispose of their garments even though small changes could significantly reduce their own carbon footprint.

Speaking of carbon footprints, I was shocked that my carbon footprint was quite a bit less than the average person in the U.S., although not by much considering mine was almost three times more than the world average amount per person. My roommates and I do our best to recycle what we can even though this is somewhat difficult living in a town like Stillwater because the materials that they will actually recycle are so limited. I make it a point to turn off lights when they aren’t being used. I also make it a point to wash FULL loads of laundry using cool or mostly cool water instead of hot water. I wasn’t really aware how a person’s food and diet could affect their carbon footprint so much. I try to eat at least some organic food whenever I can, and I also don’t eat as much meat as most people do, which drastically reduced my footprint at least in that category. I feel like I am at least putting forth some effort to reduce my carbon footprint but I have realized that there are definitely some more steps I need to take in order to reduce it even more.

This week’s LOLA show presentations were probably the most interesting to me. It became so much more clear how the natural processes that occur in nature are really the ones that we can learn a thing or two from, especially in applying them to the apparel and interiors industries. I though it was so cool to see how creative some designers are in implementing these processes that occur in nature to actual usable products. My favorite topic that was presented this week was the mushroom packaging. Clearly, packaging is one of the biggest “unsustainable” issues in the apparel industry that needs to be addressed.  This alternative form of packaging is literally grown from the earth and is compostable so the manufacturing and disposal of it do very little harm to the environment. Not to mention the fact that it is durable and affordable. It almost seems like a no-brainer to make this kind of packaging the standard as opposed to packaging made out of materials such as foam and plastic that are made using processes and chemicals that are harmful to the environment. To me, this seems like a realistic change that could be made in order to make the apparel industry a more sustainable one.

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