From overflowing landfills and plastic pollution in our oceans, to unethical work conditions and wages, we all can make small positive changes to help make the world a better place.
Here’s how to become a ‘conscious consumer’ – we’ve rounded up a few simple things you can do when you’re next shopping in Union Square.
SHOP SUSTAINABLE FASHIONWe’ve all heard of sustainable fashion, but what does it mean? Basically, it’s a recognition that everything we buy has an impact ¬– whether that’s on the environment, our health or society.
Thanks to the new wave of eco-consciousness sweeping across your favourite brands, it’s easier than ever to shop sustainably and stay stylish.
Brands like H&M with their annual Conscious Exclusive Collection, which features environmentally friendly pieces and Zara with their Join Life initiative, which aims for their products to become increasingly more sustainable are leading the charge.
They also champion eco-friendly materials and fabrics like sustainable cotton, 100% biodegradable Lyocell, and focus on environmentally and water friendly production techniques.
Keep an eye out for the brand Veja, too, who sell socially responsible vegan leather trainers. A huge focus of the company is ensuring a positive impact, from production to store.
Our picks: Veja V10 leather trainers, £115, SoleTrader – order online and try in store; dress with belt in dusky pink £25.99 Zara; Lyocell shirt in khaki green or denim, £29.99, H&M
RECYCLE ANY FASHION MISTAKESAs well as choosing clothes made from eco-friendly materials and investing in wear-forever items you’ll rock time and time again, recycling your unwanted garms is an easy way to up your eco efforts.
Lucky for you, a lot of brands offer recycling initiatives to help you gather up your old fashion faux pas’ and help reduce the tonnes and tonnes of textiles that end up at landfill.
H&M were the first brand to launch a global recycling initiative by introducing garment collection boxes in all stores. On your next visit, drop off your old clothes (from any brand), and H&M’s recycling scheme will reward you with a £5 to spend in store. Win, win!
FatFace also want your unwanted clothes! They’ve partnered with I:CO for their in-store collection scheme. I:Collect GmbH is a worldwide in-store program that offers big fashion brands practical recycling solutions. Drop off your old clothes and they’ll sort them out by hand to be reused or recycled.
At TK Maxx, you can drop off your unwanted clothes and accessories and they’ll donate them to children’s charity Cancer Research UK to sell in their shops. If they can’t be sold, they’ll be repurposed or recycled. Waste not, want not!
REDUCE YOUR PLASTIC USEWherever you look, single-use plastic is there – from our water bottles to our beauty product packaging. We’re all aware of the huge impacts single-use plastics are having on our planet, but what can we do to help?
Making just a few changes can have a big impact on the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives. Need some tips? Here are some small changes we can all make:
1. Swap your throwaway plastic bottle for a reusable bottle.
2. Ditch your coffee cup for a reusable coffee cup – and get money off at Costa, Greggs, Muffin Break (when you use their branded Keep Cup), Valerie’s Brasserie, Krispy Kreme and Starbucks.
3. Say goodbye to plastic bags and carry a cotton tote bag.
Keep an eye out on our social channels for more info on our water fountain!
Our picks: Natural dog print shopper, £4, Next; triangular metal water bottle, £12, Paperchase
UNION SQUARE INITIATIVESAt Union Square, we’re also trying to do our bit:
1. In 2018, we recycled 89% of our waste – the rest was used for energy consumption. We send absolutely nothing to landfill.
2. LED lights have been installed throughout the centre, reducing our electricity consumption by 20%.
3. We will be installing secure bike parking for all staff to encourage planet-friendly transport and a healthier lifestyle.
4. In 2018, we reduced our carbon emission by 15% compared to 2017.
GiveMeTapWe’ve also teamed up with social enterprise GiveMeTap – who aim to make clean drinking water available to everyone ¬– and will be handing out their reusable water bottles around Union Square. Every bottle purchased gives five years of clean drinking water to someone in need in Africa.
Keep an eye on our Facebook to find out when we’re giving away FREE GiveMeTap reusable water bottles (limited availability). In the meantime, make sure you download the Union Square PLUS app! For more info on GiveMeTap, visit their website.