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consumerism-and-clutter

Consumerism and Clutter

This article is written by Victoria Kent, Investment Specialist at Elevate Super.

A special report by the United Nations found the material footprint per capita has increased considerably – from 8.1 tons of natural resources needed to satisfy a person’s needs, to almost 12 tons of resources extracted per person in 2015.

Consumerism and Clutter

How do we reconcile our material comfort-seeking, fashion-conscious, newest gadget-desiring selves with our need to live more sustainably? It’s a question many people and companies are asking themselves.

Our way of doing things has to change

The buy-consume-dispose economy has reached its growth limits and is fuelling an environmental crisis. The world generates 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 % of that not managed in an environmentally safe manner.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second.

Consumerism and Clutter

But what’s worse than textiles? The construction industry.

It’s the single largest consumer of resources, consuming three billion tonnes of raw materials every year while producing around one-third of all waste – much of which ends up in landfill.

Australian property group, Mirvac is a great example of a company that is making progress to tackle this problem, with a stated plan to send zero waste to landfill by 2030.

Thankfully, the world is committed to doing something about this. Here at Elevate, it’s no secret we are big on promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production aims to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels, and substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

One way this can be done is through food packaging. When it’s designed for recycling and reuse as opposed to single use, this can help prevent unnecessary food spoilage and reduce the carbon footprint of the food supply chain.

Consumerism and Clutter

Social licence to operate

Understanding that sustainability is essential in retaining their social licence to operate and remaining relevant, clothing companies like Adidas and Zalando are increasing the proportion of sustainable materials its products are made from, as well as expanding their ‘pre-owned’ offering.

Adidas’s Parley trainers are made from plastic waste. Zalando’s flagship sustainable private apparel label ZIGN spring/summer 2020 collection was comprised of garments made with either 50% or more ‘sustainable’ materials, or a minimum of 20% recycled content.

The fashion industry is in dire need of a sustainable makeover given only 1% of global textiles are currently recycled.

What goes around, comes around

Other companies are also expanding their circular economy investments; choosing to invest in an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources over the take-make-waste linear economy.

A great example of a company embracing this concept is Tomra. They are a leading provider of sensor-based sorting for the food, recycling and mining industries.

They believe a holistic approach is required in order to address the environmental crises, including implementing progressive approaches to waste collection, product bans, principles for designing out waste and keeping products and materials in use.

Consumerism and Clutter

Figure 1 by Robb1037. Tweed, NSW / Australia – April 03 2019 : People returning bolltles, plastic, cans and cartons for a refund. Automatic Recycling machine NSW return and earn.

Another standout circular business is Rockwool, who also incorporate circularity into their business model. They upcycle waste materials, recycle their own waste in closed loops and design products for long life and indefinite recycling.

Regulatory change is in the wind

Last year the European Commission introduced laws to halve the amount of plastic waste the EU produces by 2030. These new waste reduction targets and sustainability laws are to ensure products placed on the EU market are recyclable, repairable and designed to last longer.

Lasting longer is the key here. Ever heard of planned obsolescence? The technology industry is notorious for it. This is where manufacturers design a product with a short lifespan, so consumers have to buy a new one, leading to throwaway culture.

Consumerism and Clutter

No longer out of sight, out of mind

Back home, the Australian Government passed the Recyling & Waste Reduction Bill 2020.

The bill included a suite of initiatives introduced by the Federal Government to promote a circular economy, improve Australia’s waste management systems, and boost its domestic recycling. It also included the Australian Government’s commitment to ban the export of waste glass, plastics, tyres and paper.

Consumerism and Clutter

The legislation is aimed at encouraging a circular economy for waste in Australia by enhancing voluntary product stewardship, supporting businesses to realise the full value of recyclable materials, and working toward more sustainable resource use.

We need to rethink our consumption habits and prioritise circularity over convenience. Hopefully, the new legislation will enable Australian consumers to make better choices when purchasing and disposing of products.

Ultimately, when it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle, some of the best advice is what we’ve all heard before: reduce, re-use, and recycle.

Consumerism and Clutter

Source: Resource Recovery Playbook by Tomra

Consumerism and Clutter

Source: Wasting the Resources of Waste – Resource Recovery Playbook by Tomra

Elevate Super

About Elevate Super

Elevate Super is a retail super fund, powered by successful fintech AtlasTrend. AtlasTrend was created in 2015 to build a new investment service to help our customers learn and invest with purpose in long term world trends. At Elevate Super, we believe you shouldn’t have to give up competitive financial returns to do good.

We assess and measure investments based on their long-term growth fundamentals plus positive contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a global blueprint for balancing our economic, social and environmental needs.

Important notice:
Elevate Super is a sub plan of the Aracon Superannuation Fund (ABN 40 586 548 205) (Fund) issued by Equity Trustees Superannuation Limited (ABN 50 055 641 757, AFS Licence No. 229757, RSE Licence No. L0001458) (Equity Trustees). AtlasTrend Pty Ltd (ABN 83 605 565 491) is the promoter of Elevate Super and an AFSL Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 001233660) of Fundhost Limited (AFSL 233045) (Fundhost) and Havana Financial Services Pty Ltd (AFSL 500435) (Havana). This communication contains general advice only and does not take into consideration your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. None of the information provided is, or should be considered to be, personal financial advice. The information provided in this communication is believed to be accurate at the time of writing. None of AtlasTrend, Equity Trustees, Havana, Fundhost or their related entities nor their respective officers and agents accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in, or any actions taken in reliance upon the general advice provided. A copy of AtlasTrend’s financial services guide can be found at www.atlastrend.com/fsg.

This communication is not an offer to invest in Elevate Super. Before deciding on Elevate Super, you should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) and seek professional financial advice to consider if Elevate Super is appropriate for you. The PDS is available at www.elevatesuper.com.au/pds or by calling Elevate Super on 1800 875 148. The TMD is available at www.elevatesuper.com.au/tmd.

Any managed investment fund product (Fund) mentioned in this communication is offered via a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which contains all the details of the offer. The PDS is issued by Fundhost as responsible entity for the Funds. Before making any decision to make or hold any investment in a Fund you should consider the PDS in full. The PDS is available at www.atlastrend.com/pds or by calling AtlasTrend on 1800 589 778. The Target Market Determination is available here.

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