And while it’s great to give, it’s important to make sure that somewhere someone else isn’t paying for it.
NOT JUST ZERO WASTE, BUT NEGATIVE WASTE
Sometimes the term natural dye can be a misleading, as “natural” is not always the same as “non-toxic.” Many natural dye recipes rely on heavy metals such as lead and copper to bring out the plant-based colors; such metals are both hazardous to the people working on them as well as the ground they are often dumped into.
Accessory: Maleng Poncho in Granite
Dress: Meala Dress in Wine
THE LABOR BEHIND THE LABEL
Today, Tonlé employs around 50 people in its small factory, with all being local, and most women.
Many are connected to the company through nonprofits working with disadvantaged women, such as single mothers or women with HIV. Tonlé commits to paying its employees a competitive wage, capping days at 8 hours and offering flexible scheduling.
Zero waste is tied to social justice.
Recognize that limited natural resources are an issue of national and global security. As we run out of the natural resources that support us — like oil, minerals, and even fresh water — chances are we’ll end up fighting over the supplies we have left. At least 40% of global conflicts in the past 60 years had links to natural resources. What we buy, how it’s made, and how long we use it directly impact many of the people suffering from these conflicts around the world.
To put that into perspective, a conventionally made t-shirt uses the following resources:
- 4 square meters of land 2,700 liters of water, the average amount a person drinks over three years
- 151.2 g (1/3 lb) of chemicals and pesticides
- 23,537 km (14,625 miles) from USA to China and back to transport components to factory and product back to you
- 3,175 kg (7,000 lbs) of carbon emissions for transportation alone
- A final carbon footprint of 6 kg, approximately 20 times the weight of the t-shirt itself
Each year tonlé’s production, in contrast to a typical manufacturer, saves the following:
- 10,000 kg (22,046 lbs) of materials from landfills
- 70,000 kg (154,324 lbs) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
- 200 kg (441 lbs) of pesticides 46,266,600 gallons of water
There are two levels in combating the exploitation of the fashion industry: starving the beast (fast fashion) while building the people’s power (ethical fashion). As you shop this holiday season, support the businesses that are revamping the fashion model in the most holistic of ways.