2018 was the year that we started to care. Thanks to a mix of David Attenborough’s dulcet tones and various viral pictures of marine life surrounded by plastic, we all stopped and took a proper look at what we were doing to the environment.
It was the year where everyone and their Mum started to call people out for their use of plastic straws (often misguidedly). The year that there was a 30% rise in plant milk sales. The year that saw Elle Magazine dedicating their infamous September issue to sustainability.
Yep, it was a big one for all things ethical and environment.
And with so much changing for the better in a year, it got me to thinking about what might happen in the next 365 days. Whilst I don’t expect us to completely halt climate change in just 12 months (though, a girl can dream), I am expecting to see some huge shifts in the way that we live daily.
Just as 2018 was a year of painful realisations and learning, 2019 will be a year of action. Well, that and pissing off Piers Morgan.
Vegan options will be available in (almost) every chain store
Gregg’s sausage role. Pizza Hut’s pizza. McDonald’s new wrap. Vegan options on the high-street have already been huge this year and we’re only a week in! If that’s not a sign of good things to come (namely the fact that it will all annoy Mr. Morgan), I don’t know what is.
The truth of the matter is that vegans are growing in numbers, going from just 540,000 in the UK in 2016 to a huge 3.5 million today. Quite simply, its a market that needs feeding. In order to be able to compete with their peers, mainstream restaurants, takeaways and convenience food shops will need to step their game up. So, expect lots more veggies and lots less meat on menus this year.
Bottle collection schemes will be more widespread
This year, I predict that we will take a leaf out of Germany’s book.
Back in 2003 the country implemented a bottle deposit scheme, meaning that returned beverage bottles were worth 25 cent. Essentially, the country sees these bottles not as something you buy, but something you borrow. And only bad friends don’t give back what they’ve borrowed. That’s why an astonishing 98.5% of them are returned, re-filled and eventually recycled.
Since the middle of last year there have been whispers about a similar scheme being introduced in the UK. I think 2019 will be the year. And even if the government don’t start pulling their finger out, independent businesses probably will, just like good ol’ Iceland.
Slow fashion bloggers will be en vogue
A few days ago I asked on my instagram stories what people’s #EverydayEco resolutions were. Overwhelmingly people told me that they wanted to buy less clothes/no clothes/only buy secondhand. Clearly the atrocities of fast fashion are becoming common knowledge. So, it’ll be harder and harder for fashion bloggers not to consider and address where their outfits are actually coming from.
Whether it’s established bloggers creating more sustainable fashion content, or fresh fashion bloggers whose whole niche is sustainability, I’m expecting to see more and more slow fashion content in 2019.
There will be supermarket pledges left right and centre
Last year Iceland made a promise to be “plastic-free by 2023” and stopped using palm oil in their own-brand products. A company that stocks hash brown fries and cares about the environment? That’s where I want to be shopping!
Listen, I know this sounds cynical. But the truth of the matter is that most supermarkets are not driven by their desire to save the planet. Instead, they’re aiming to get as many customers as possible and, therefore, to get more profit. To keep up with peers like Iceland, more and more shops will make similar pledges in 2019.
However, whether for the “right reasons” or not, less plastic can only be a good thing.
You would’ve been hard pressed to find a Christmas gift guide last year that didn’t contain a pair of bamboo socks. The Telegraph did it. I did it. Even the bloody Daily Mail did it! And, sure enough, I had a pair waiting for me in my stocking on the 25th.
In 2019, I suspect that we will be seeing bamboo used for a hell of a lot more. I’m talking not just for toothbrushes and socks. With more brands focusing on reducing plastic and using more sustainable materials in its place, the transition to bamboo seems inevitable. It’s fast growing, doesn’t require fertiliser and regenerates from the root, therefore doesn’t need to be replanted.
So basically it’s magic.
In 2019 expect to see a whole bunch of bamboo clothing, homeware and even tech (House of Marley have already started that particular revolution with their bamboo smart speaker and headphones).
Everyone will care less about straws and realise that it’s really not the biggest issue we’re facing
But maybe this one’s just wishful thinking.