Incremental and Pivotal Changes: Sustainable Solutions Aren’t Always Obvious

Incremental and Pivotal Changes: Sustainable Solutions Aren’t Always Obvious

Beyond doubt, some of the most pivotal accomplishments and transformations in the effort to establish sustainability have been bold and obvious – but others have come from unexpected places, according to an article by Dan Riendeau in Green Biz | https://www.greenbiz.com/article/power-pursuing-not-so-obvious-sustainable-solutions |. 
Riendeau acknowledges some of the big-picture wins for sustainability | Learn more on Commonshare | – Google achieving a 100% renewable energy target, or BlackRock CEO Larry Flink advising carbon conscious investing | Learn more on Commonshare | – climate change as investment risk. 
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The Importance of Incremental Changes 
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However, some game changers come from less prominent places, and some are the result of incremental changes adding up. For Riendeau, any organization has the potential to make significant progress by tackling large and small changes to address a variety of challenges, obvious and less obvious. 
One example he gives comes from the apparel industry. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that up to 85% of textiles | Learn more on Commonshare | go into landfill each year, enough to fill the Sydney harbor every year. 
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Different Solutions in the Textile Industry 
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Rather than one big, bold, sweeping solution, many different solutions can help to make progress. The problem with single-focus solutions is precisely that the problem is multi-layered, and includes activities at different stages of the supply chain: manufacturing, production waste, packaging waste, and consumer waste. 
Digital traceability | Learn more on Commonshare | of goods and improved stock management technologies are a part of the solution – are one type of solution. They provide a way to control inventory and prevent overproduction, which in turn means less wasted product. 
The overlooked impact of plastic fasteners 
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For another example, consider plastic fasteners. Some 90% of the 80 billion garments produced each year has a plastic fastener – a single-use, disposable piece of plastic. While each fastener is small, their impact adds up: an amount of plastic equivalent to 761,581,156 single-serve 0.5-liter PET (polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles. 
One solution Riendeau’s own company is involved in is rPET fasteners, recycled PET fasteners that are made primarily from recycled post-consumer waste. Another of their solutions is recycled polyamide (rPA) fasteners made from recycled nylon carpets – and they are launching a biodegradable fastener.
Game changers can come from numerous places. While sweeping initiatives are important, so too are the solutions that look at the smaller problems. 

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