How to Reduce Your Plastic Waste
If you want to change your shopping habits to make a more conscious choice to shopping vegan, more ethically or more sustainably, you have a few choices. You can buy second-hand, commit to buying better quality goods, or simply take better care of the clothes you already have. But when it comes to reducing the use of plastic in our day-to-day lives the choices can be tricky. Plastic is so much a part of our world that it we forget how many things we rely on are made from it.
We believe that making good choices should be easy, so we’ve put together a list of a few simple things you can do to reduce your use of single use plastics. When it comes to making a difference, every little bit helps.
Use Reusable Bags
Possibly the easiest change to make if you haven’t already. Using reusable totes instead of plastic bags when shopping not only reduces plastic waste, it gives you the perfect excuse to get yet another tote bag. Norden jackets come with a small reusable bag that you can carry with you at all times.
Pro tip: carry a small, foldable bag with you at all times. We guarantee it will come in handy.
BYOS – Bring Your Own (Metal or Paper) Straw
When you’re craving that iced latte or cold brew fix, grab a paper straw to-go or better yet, bring your own. Everywhere from your local zero waste store to big chains offers a selection of stylish, sustainable metal straws making it easy to say no to the plastic version.
Refillable Water Bottle
Keeping a refillable water bottle on hand at all times isn’t just good for you, it’s also eco-friendly. Accessible refill stations are popping up in city centers, parks and airports, and Norden's own roll-able version can fit in any coat pocket or bag, perfect for taking it anywhere you go.
Buy in Bulk
Take mason jars and other reusable containers to the store with you and buy what you can in bulk. The reduce packaging, can also save you money.
Raise the Bar
Beauty and grooming products often have the most packaging but change is afoot. Buying your shampoo and soap in bars instead of plastic bottles is one of the more sustainable options.
Reusable Coffee Cups
Approximately 1.5 billion coffee cups are thrown out each year in Canada alone. Keeping a reusable cup on your desk or in your car can go a long way in making your coffee fix just a little more sustainable.
Keep a spare set of cutlery at your office and say “no, thanks” when you order out. Real cutlery is both eco-friendly and, let’s be honest, it just works better.
Developed in 1930 and made entirely of plastic, toothbrushes almost never decompose. So there’s a good chance that all of the toothbrushes ever created are still floating around somewhere. By switching to a bamboo toothbrush, you can save a huge amount of waste. When it’s time for a new one simply pull out the bristles and throw the handle in your compost.
Reuse the Plastic You Already have
This one is simple, use what you have. Thinking sustainably is about finding new ways of using something, instead of just throwing it out.
Want to Get More People Involved?
Organize a trash collection with friends or get a group together to share tricks on how to repair and care for the clothes you currently own. Share pictures on Instagram, tag @Norden_Project and you might receive a direct message with something special! Because ethical, sustainable fashion is also about take care of what you’ve got and when you’re tired of wearing it, keeping it in good enough shape to pass it on.
Giving back with our Buy Back Program
As a new brand on the market, we felt we should make sure our customers’ old coats don’t end up in a landfill after they buy a Norden.
As part of our Buy Back Program, make the transition to an eco-friendly winter coat by trading in your old coat from another brand* and get $100 off. It’s easy: Just order a shipping kit on our website, and use it to send us your old coat at no charge. Our shipping kit is made of recycled and recyclable materials.
To give the coats we receive a second life, we have partnered with Welcome Hall Mission, a respected organization offering support programs for the homeless, disadvantaged families, and youth in difficulty. Welcome Hall Mission gives people hope through concrete actions and effective solutions. Dozens of coats have been repaired and repurposed this year through Norden’s Buy Back Program before being given to people in need by Welcome Hall Mission.
As a Certified B Corporation, Norden cares about giving back to the community. The Buy Back Program allows us to help the needy and keep old coats out of the landfill.
* Selected brands
Interview: Oscar Sloane
Landscape and lifestyle photographer Oscar Sloane grew up on the island of Tasmania off the south-east coast of Australia, but for the past year or so he’s been travelling the world.
First in Canada and then in the United States, all with his trusty Sony A7ii Camera in tow. Without plastic, Oscar Sloane wouldn’t be able to take the types of photos he does. Unlike the early landscape photographers like Ansel Adams who travelled with numerous cameras and trusty donkey, plastics lightweight and flexibility give Oscar Sloane the ability travel carefree through rough mountain ranges and along wild coastlines.
We spoke to the adventurous photographer about growing up in such a remote part of the world, how he discovered photography and his passion for surfing.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got interested in photography?
I first discovered photography when I got into hiking in the remote parts of Tasmania. I decided to buy my first camera back in 2017 to capture all of my adventures and share with the world. I fell in love with taking photos instantly, to then editing them and creating something special. To this date I have never looked back and continue to explore the most remote places on the planet.
Do you have a preferred camera or lens? Can you tell us about why you like that particular make so much?
I use the Sony A7ii and I love it. It does everything I need it to do and has been reliable in every condition for me, I have put it to the test. I have 3 lenses I shuffle between. They are the Sony 16-35mm F4, Sony 35mm F1.4 and the Sony 70-200mm F4. My lens I use the most and favourite is the 35mm. I choose the 35mm over them all as it is perfect for all round. Landscapes, lifestyle and portrait work.
You grew up in Tasmania, how has living there influenced your point-of-view as a photographer?
Yes, having lived here my whole life and always been involved with outdoor activities I have built a strong relationship with the nature around me. Becoming a photographer and photographing unique and remote scenery you gain a different vision on the environment. You understand Mother Nature, global warming and all that stuff that comes with it. I have noticed now when I don’t have a camera in my hand and I am out enjoying life, I can look at things a lot different.
Can you tell us how long you’ve been travelling and where you’re headed next?
I started travelling in May 2018. I headed straight over to New Zealand on a solo mission. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and take on a challenge. I was nervous but excited. I spent just under a month over there photographing the south island. From the mountains, waterfalls and the beach, New Zealand has it all. I fell in love with the place.
I came back to Tasmania spent the winter in the mountains here chasing my passion. Soon enough I booked my second trip back to New Zealand and spent 2 weeks there in October 2018.
After this trip, I wanted to move there for 2019. As they do plans change and I woke up one morning in December and had the urge to move across to the other side of the world, Canada. Soon enough I started applying for a work visa and aiming to move there in April 2019. Everything fell into place and I was on a one-way ticket across the globe.
I spent 6 months living in Lake Louise, Alberta. I was out photographing the Rocky Mountains every week, I had never done so much hiking in my life. I became very fit and my mindset became very focused on photography and hiking. I would barely sleep as I wanted to chase sunsets and sunrises as much as I could to just be amongst nature and creating memories through a camera.
I then travelled through America for my last few weeks on the other side of the world. I spent time down in Montana, Oregon and Washington. Living in my van and taking a brief look off what America has in store.
I then flew back over to New Zealand for a quick stop over before returning to Tasmania. Myself and some fellow Tasmanians lived in a van and travelled around the south island.
I am now back in Tasmania until February 2020. I will then head back over to Canada for some snowboarding until the summer comes around again. Over the summer period my travel plans are to head down to Patagonia, Peru and then live in my van through out America.
What’s been some of the highlights of your travels so far?
I would have to say meeting new people. Meeting like minded people with the same passion and outlook on life as myself. Photography brings people together in so many ways and that’s why I love it. Another big highlight from my travels has been spending a lot of time in the backcountry and camping for days on end disconnected with the world, no phone service and just appreciating what is around you and how lucky we really are.
The one thing (other than your camera) that you take with you when you travel?
Laptop, hard drives and spare SD cards. All of these are the most important as they hold all my photos and work along the way.
Is there anything you’ve achieved that you at first didn’t think was possible
Working alongside clients and having my work purchased through brands and companies. I never thought my photography would go that far.
In addition to photography, you’re also a surfer. Do the two ever cross-over? What has surfing taught you about photography (if anything) and vice versa?
Yes, I love to surf and wakeboard outside of photography. I have never crossed the two together though. As I am home in Tasmania this summer, I am going to be taking the camera along to capture the moments spent along the coast and out in the boat wakeboarding.
Words to live by?
If you have a plan B you will never reach A.
Quality over Quantity always.
Your hope for the future?
Full time photography, travelling the world and inspiring others to get outdoors and appreciate what is around us, whilst it lasts.
Top 5 Eco-Friendly Travel Destinations
So, you’ve got the basics down – you’re carrying your refillable water bottle, buying in bulk when you can and opting for a bike instead of car when traveling short distances. But when it’s time for a much needed vacation, it can be hard to choose.
One of the biggest things you can do for the environment is avoid transatlantic flights. So consider checking out a destinations in your home country first.
If you just gotta get on a plane (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love flying?) you can offset the carbon footprint of your flight by purchasing carbon offsets for your trip. Most airlines offer this service through their site and it can cost as little as $50.
When you arrive at your destination, consider travelling by train, renting an electric car or getting around by bike. Of course, where you travel can also have an impact, so we’ve rounded up the best eco-friendly vacation destinations. Have a read below:
With its mountains, ocean and hundreds of islands to explore, British Columbia is about as different as you can get without actually leaving the country. (And, of course, there’s enough diversity for those in B.C. to find something new to explore as well.)
Once in B.C., there’s no shortage of eco-friendly options. Vancouver has a tone of great vegan and vegetarian restaurants, including Meet, known for its vegan takes on comfort food and longstanding fave the Naam, which is open 24/7. Getting around by bike is a cinch and when you’re tired of the city, you can catch a ferry to one of the many islands for some serious downtime.
Known for its natural hot springs, Northern Lights, impressive fjords and active volcanoes, Iceland is a dream destination for anyone looking to explore a landscape that’s both breathtakingly beautiful and otherworldly (trees are almost non-existent here). The capital, Reykjavik is easily navigated on foot, boasts a number of delicious restaurants and is renowned for its super cool music scene.
The rugged, and sometimes unpredictable terrain means that the Icelandic way of life is often dictated by the environment. (There are more sheep than people in the country, after all). And it uses its natural geothermal resources to produce heat and electricity throughout the country. A walking or hiking holiday will give you all the natural beauty you can take with just enough danger to make it exciting.
Looking for a European break without the guilt? Amsterdam is the fifth most environmentally conscious city in Europe (Bern, Switzerland takes the top spot), and with its many canals and bike-friendly streets, it offers a unique holiday escape. Getting around by bike or metro is quicker and more sustainable than driving.
The city also has a number of eco-friendly hotels to choose from, including the Hotel Jarkarta, which is made from sustainable and recyclable materials and features an entire indoor garden. Want something completely different? Stay on one of the city’s many houseboats and see the city and country from the water.
In addition to boating, cycling is also a huge part of the country’s culture. Biking through the countryside and other towns is easy and encourage, the country has more than 15,000 kilometers of bike paths. If you’re longing for a bit of surf Zandvoort on Netherlands’ west coast is a short trip from the city and popular seaside destination in summer.
When you’re in need of some serious sun and sand, there’s no better place to vacation than Costa Rica. The Central American country is one of the most innovative when it comes to both eco-tourism and overall sustainability. Approximately 25% of the country is protected as either a national park or biological reserve and it is working towards becoming the first carbon neutral country by 2021.
They’re able to maintain these goals by offering a wide-range of eco-lodges for the eco-minded traveller throughout the country. Hang out in the middle of the jungle in Monteverde or relax near the beach in your very own tree house in Playa Punta.
Want to explore a country that’s totally diverse and completely charming? Made up of two islands, the New Zealand has ancient forests, mountain peaks, incredible beaches and even a glow worm cave. The country’s also working towards being completely free of fossil fuels by 2025.
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, head to the Mangatepopo Valley on the North Island to explore some of the country’s many mountains. Cathedral Cove on the country’s east coast is only a 4.5 hour drive away and offers a completely different world to explore with sand, surf and snorkeling available.
Norden X UNICEF
We started Norden because we wanted to create meaningful change in both the fashion industry and in how the world treats plastic waste. By partnering with forward-thinking mils and textile companies, we’re turning our idea into change you can wear.
When it came time to find the right charity to support, we wanted to partner with an organization that not only gives back to the community but is also working to repurpose plastic waste into something useful.
We’re proud to announce our partnership with UNICEF. For every newsletter subscription we receive, Norden will give $1 to UNICEF to support its global initiatives, including the construction of classrooms for children in Ivory Coast from bricks made of recycled plastic.
Launched earlier this year, UNICEF partnered with Conceptos Plasticos, a Colombian social enterprise, which has developed a factory that will transform plastic waste into bricks. The bricks, which are 40% less expensive than traditional building materials and 20% lighter, will be used to build classrooms throughout Ivory Coast. This initiative not only turns plastic waste into a useful product but will also provide 25,000 children with new spaces designed from them to learn and grow.
All of the plastic used in the construction of the bricks will come from Ivory Coast. When fully operating, the factory will be able to transform 9,600 tonnes of plastic waste a year into useful products while simultaneously giving women in the region the opportunity to make a living.
Of the 280 tonnes of plastic waste produced in Abidjan, the country’s major urban centre, only 5% is recycled. UNICEF’s program not only highlights the ingenious ways plastic can transform our lives and environment, but also its wide-ranging potential.
Norden Project X Erin Latimer
Meet our Ambassador: Erin Latimer
Two-time alpine skiing Paralympic athlete. Environmental Studies and Environmental Ethics student at the University of Toronto. She is an example of how plastic can have a positive impact and a true inspiration to us all.