FAIR PHONE, HONEST MOBILE

I was researching this a few weeks ago preparing to write this blog, wondering what is the carbon footprint of my phone usage and of my mobile brand(Huawei) and found an article from Honest Mobile, which said that even ‘’sending a text message (SMS) produces 0.014g of CO2 and using 1GB of data uses 0.3kg of CO2’’ because all those restaurant food, face, outfit of the day selfies add up considerably over the course of a year. Honest Mobile is the first carbon neutral mobile network who plants trees for its customers who help them offset their own carbon footprint. How come they aren’t more popular? *considering how many people want to lead more sustainable lifestyles and all that. Maybe if they had just a bit of PR, you know? A few press mentions? I’m sure they’d appreciate being written about in at least one student blog(—>).

So what is a Fairphone? Fairphone is a B Corp company (just like Honest Mobile), who produce repairable, low impact android phones, so I’m taking a guess they don’t slow down the phone operating system to ‘’make you’’ buy a new phone if you have a three year-old iPhone(Tech Radar 2021). The cool aspect here is that you can return your old phone to them, in an effort to reduce e-waste. If you replace a phone, you can’t just throw it in the bin, it’s an environmental sin we’re all guilty of committing at least once. I honestly do not remember how I disposed of my old phone, but committing to being more careful now that I know about phone recycling.

How food selfies will look on a fairphone concept – Photo by Blue Bird for @Pexels

The sad part about smartphones is that there is modern slavery mined raw materials for them to be built, If we knew how many slaves worked for us(Ethical), we’d be pretty shocked(38 slaves worked to make goods for me according to quiz). Tungsten, cobalt, as well as ‘’Coltan is an effective capacitor found in electronics. A U.S. State Department official was interviewed about Coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He pointed to the reporter’s smartphone and said, “The likelihood that one of these was not touched by a slave is pretty low”(Slavery Footprint).

The cool thing about Fairphones is that they sell spare parts, and these phones seem to have a removable battery, which new phones on the market moved away from(at least my Honor 8s). Apart from Honest Mobile, they should also partner up with Pela Case, for custom Fairphone cases. Honestly these should have a wider coverage, as I want these available in Romania, where I live, I want access to these! I think an Honest Mobile sim would go pretty handsomely with a Fairphone. If you are based in the UK and want to make a difference, give this a go! Do I have to move to the UK now? In a world full of iPhones and Android mobiles, I’d like to be a Fairphone, and I’m open to relocate.

FRANCE BANNED PLASTIC WRAP FOR FRUITS AND VEG – AND SO SHOULD WE

Back in 2019, I saw this story and thought just how beautiful this Asian supermarket looked, with all fruits and veg wrapped up in banana leaves, and the difference it makes! Our global stories are chocked by plastic containers and wraps, and this is one of the solutions which worked for them, so I wonder why our European stores can’t switch to beeswax food wraps which are natural and reusable, and they are easy to find on Amazon for example.

Photo credit: Perfect Homes Chiangmai

It would make a tremendous difference in the pocket of plastic manufacturers, I’m sure of that, but since we’re phasing out plastic might as well switch to manufacturing beeswax wrappings, if they would actually do market research and listen to the results(give them a hand Kantar). France is ahead of the sustainability game, as the country banned plastic wrap for fruits and veg to eventually go plastic free by 2026, and so should we! This ban took effect on Jan 1st, 2022, according to GMO Free USA’s Facebook page. Spain is also set to follow suit in 2023.

Free the cucumbers! Now if you happen to shop in France, you won’t see around 30 types of fruits and veg in plastic packaging, like peppers, cucumbers, leeks, which are my pantry favorites. The Guardian reported that producers are allowed to take their time to find alternatives to plastic packaging for chopped and processed fruits, which is disappointing, do we really need chopped fruit? Moïra Tourneur advocacy manager at Zero Waste France(NGO) had the same feelings saying ‘’ Giving more time for certain fruit and vegetables is a bit of a shame.’’ You really can’t buy whole fruit and chop it at home? Let’s tackle all aspects of consumerism not just the convenient side.

Soon to be historical photograph of strawberries in plastic cups, by
Julia Filirovska for Pexels.com

Last December, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers that ‘’State’s ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and ‘packing peanuts’ begins Jan. 1, 2022’’, and learned from Commissioner Seggos that ‘’Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers already live in communities that are ‘foam free’’ and I think we can learn from how they do it. Plastic wraps and packaging are mostly unnecessary, and don’t prevent waste, but the contrary, Wrap UK found.

So what do organisations do with all this plastic swimming around? Two friends were on holiday in Julie’s hometown of Marseille noticing that the sea looked different than the postcards, and decided to collect plastic found in the sea and turn into magical sneakers, under the name Corail. Corail is a brand that employs fishermen to pluck out plastic waste which then is processed and turned into sneakers by an artisanal workshop in Portugal. What’s even more beautiful is that once the sneakers are at the end of their life, worn out, they can be recycled and processed again by the brand. It lights up my soul that there are people out there working on making the world a better place for us all, a shoe and a cup at a time.

How dirty is your closet?

I decided to take the ‘’How dirty is your closet’’ quiz created by ThredUP, world’s largest online consignment and thrift store, not knowing what to expect. My result was ‘’You are a Green Queen’’ which I totally am! The only think missing from the picture was a crown icon, the least they could do. Do I really have to crown myself?

But in all seriousness, do we know how dirty our closets are? Do we know who made our clothes, for example, in what conditions, wages workers had? We have seen Boohoo who was dropped by its partners Next, Asos, Zalado after allegations of unsafe conditions and low pay came to light.  ‘’Financial Times found that labor exploitation in Leicester factories was rife, describing it as being like a “country within a country”(Forbes, 2020).

We don’t know how far spread modern slavery and forced labour really are. Boohoo is probably just the tip of the iceberg that the pandemic pulled to the surface and social media spread it like fire. Will youngsters change their buying habits? From what I see in the Public Relations and Communications Management classes, I’d say that yes, they are and will. As far as Boohoo is concerned, they face an investigation on the allegations so I hope justice to be served soon.

Forced labour is a topic that People Tree’s CEO and founder Safia Minney didn’t shy away from. She’s created a vimeo account and filmed several videos on different topics which one couldn’t believe we still have to confront in 2020. Bonded labour, child labour, human trafficking, sexual harassment and intimidation are topics for other videos on her account.

These are some of the things that made me even more sensible to the environmental impact of my closet and since I don’t want my clothes to impact the rivers and oceans, I’ve found Coral Ball and Guppy Friend through stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray. These washing bags help with catching fibers and microplastics so that laundry will indeed be clean.

How dirty is your closet? Have you gotten your result? Let me know in the comments below, looking forward to building on the conversation because we learn from one another. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t a Green King or Queen but do something everyday that will help the environment.

References:

Andrew Busby, 2020, As Slavery Allegations Continue To Surround Boohoo, Why Fast Fashion Will Never Be The Same Again, Viewed on [12/9/2020], Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbusby/2020/07/07/as-slavery-allegations-continue-to-surround-boohoo-why-the-days-of-the-5-dress-are-well-and-truly-over/?sh=7150e91759e0

Babipur, 2020, The Cora Ball, Viewed on [12/9/2020], Available from:  https://www.babipur.co.uk/the-cora-ball.html

Guppyfriend, 2020, Guppyfriend washing bag, Viewed on [12/9/2020], Available from: https://en.guppyfriend.com/

Safia Minney, 2020, Forced labour, Viewed on 12/9/2020, Available from: https://vimeo.com/safiaminney