Stella McCartney's Top Tips for the Environment

The designer's favourite tips for sustainable living

Refusing to use fur in her collections is a key value of Stella McCartney's brand. She recently launched a 'fur-free-fur' initiative. Pictures / Supplied

Recently described by the Business of Fashion as a "change agent", designer Stella McCartney has become known as a passionate advocate for a more thoughtful approach to luxury fashion and business. Her values are a key part of her brand - she refuses to use leather and fur - and she has a commitment to sustainability. Her interview with BoF founder Imran Amed is a must-watch, including questions from the audience at the end - where Stella answers questions from Vivienne Westwood, and dispenses advice to younger designers. "I'm a big believer in something is better than nothing," she explains. On her brand's website there is a dedicated section on sustainable living, including environmental tips - which we share below.

Up to 60 per cent of trash that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled. By recycling one glass bottle, you are saving enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

In the UK over 1.4 million tonnes of clothing are sent to landfill each year – donating them to charity avoids this fate and means someone else can enjoy them instead.

Use a plastic bottle filled with water to displace water in your flush tank: you will save up to 10 gallons a day.

Transporting water around the world and packaging it in plastic doesn’t make sense for the environment or your wallet. Switch to a filter and a reusable water bottle.

Up to 80 per cent of our clothing’s environmental impact occurs from washing and drying, which means you have the potential to have a big impact by reconsidering how you clean your clothes. Wash your clothes in cold water and hang rather than tumble dry. It’s better for the environment and for your clothes. For dry-clean only garments, try to find a drycleaner who uses only biodegradable materials.

Don’t cast a garment aside because it has a hole or a broken zipper - look for a local tailor who can give it a new lease on life (your local Stella McCartney store can recommend a local one for you).

Invest in a reusable shopping bag and always keep it with you. It is estimated we use between 500 billion and 1.2 trillion plastic bags annually, 10 per cent of which ends up in the sea - the result is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a giant floating rubbish-island in the North Pacific.

Billions of gallons of gas are wasted from commuters sitting in traffic each year. Why not reduce your impact by carpooling, taking public transportation, walking or biking to work. Many employers even have incentives for those who carpool or bike to work.

Everyone knows that organic is better for you, but not everyone can afford to buy organic produce all the time - so whether you have a back yard or a window box, why not plant your own vegetable garden. It is the easiest way to guarantee organic and nothing tastes better than homegrown vegetables.

The average life span of an incandescent light bulb is only 1,200 hours, while a compact florescent bulb on average lasts 10,000 hours and an LED bulb lasts 50,000 hours. Compact florescent bulbs and LEDs often cost more than incandescent bulbs, however they end up paying for themselves through energy savings and lifespan. LED bulbs have recently become more widely available and can be purchased though companies like Phillips. In addition to saving money, compact florescent and LED bulbs also have much lower carbon dioxide emissions.

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council and anything that has the FSC logo on it means that it was made from a sustainably managed forest. So look for paper, wood flooring, furniture, and other products that come trees that are FSC certified. By choosing FSC certified products you are assuring that you aren’t contributing to deforestation and that you are encouraging forest conservation and forest biodiversity.

* Read more about Stella McCartney's sustainable approach to business on her website.

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