These FAMU students embrace sustainability

FAMU student Linney Osias. Photo courtesy Osias

When talking about sustainability, you may only think of the saying, “reduce, reuse and recycle.” But some FAMU students have taken it to the next level.

Linney Osias and Simone Sadler, co-founders of Plaid n Polka Dots, have created an environmentally ethical source for shopping fashionably.

Many synthetic materials such as polyester, Spandex and nylon create micro plastics that drastically affect our Earth’s waters. Thanks to secondhand donation centers such as Goodwill and Savers, many clothing items are resold and even sent to textile recycling centers.

The EPA reports that Americans generate 16 million tons of textile waste a year. On average, 700,000 tons of used clothing gets exported overseas and 2.5 million tons of clothing are recycled, reports Over 3 million tons are incinerated, and a staggering 10 million tons get sent to landfills.

“By giving clothes a new cycle of life, we can actually reduce our carbon footprint,” Sadler said.

With textile waste being over six percent of Americans’ total municipal waste, smaller secondhand sellers such as Plaid n Polka Dots, Spells Market co. and Garb•age Thrift give new life to old clothes.

“Me thrifting wasn’t really sustainable, it was just a way of life until I realized the amount of waste that was accumulated from clothing,” Osias said.

Buying clothes secondhand not only saves the planet but can build community through swap meets and give fashionable clothing selections to people in need.

Sustainable shopping doesn’t just stop at clothing but even household items, school supplies and packaging contribute to America’s overall waste.

Many artists have contributed waste such as plastics, textiles and even metal scraps into their work but still sendoff items in protective casings that generate even more pollution.

Ciara Johnson is a self-taught artist from Miami who reworks cardboard scarps and converts them into packaging for customers. This form of sustainability allows trash to be repurposed for multiple uses while creating a zero-waste business.

“I stopped buying water bottles but I was thinking about how could I go further,”  Johnson said. “Reusing as much garbage as I can, I noticed that I used a lot of cardboard and went from there.”

Packaging alternative such as biodegradable packaging peanuts, corrugated bubble wrap and other eco-friendly and recyclable can help change the tide of packaging.

Kennedy Gullatte, an environmental studies major at FAMU from Washington, DC is another student who shows her love for the environment through spreading awareness.

“I recently did a story on Cancer Alley in Flint (Michigan) and how the people of this neighborhood are dying. There a hundred plus chemical plants in a few miles radius of each other,” Gullattesaid. “This is what sparked me creating my page.”

The founder of (@Environmentalracism) on Instagram, Gullatte is all for helping minorities realize the environmental injustices happening in their community.

Although sustainability may sound as simple as recycling there are many more steps needed to make a change.