What is ethical fashion and how to prioritize it

Let’s start with why I decided to write this article

I had already read and heard about some of the impacts caused by fast fashion via Instagram posts or online articles, even saw some short documentaries about it. However, it was mostly after reading this French book ‘’Une mode éthique est-elle possible?’’ by Majdouline Sbai, that I started to get more into this topic. I no longer feel the same way entering a fast-fashion store now that I’m more aware of what goes on in this industry. But I also feel the urge to tell others about it before it’s  »too late » and we no longer can save the planet anymore. Unfortunately, the book is only available in French, but I’d highly recommend it! Before getting into it I would also recommend the documentary ‘’ The True Cost’’ that explores the impact of fashion on people and the planet.

Let’s continue with the definition

You might have heard of many concepts linked to ethical fashion such as up-cycling, local production, eco-design, organic cotton etc… Besides, it is not always called ethical fashion, it can also be called sustainable fashion, eco-responsible fashion, slow fashion, or conscious fashion. But what is ethical? And how is it measured?

There is no concrete definition of this term since everyone has their own vision of what ethical is and isn’t. But in general, it’s a question of operating according to moral values: respect for people, the planet and of oneself, aiming to reduce the negative impact on all three. 

Ethical brands do their best to be more transparent and can answer questions such as ‘’where is the garment produced? What are its components? Are they pesticide-free? What are the conditions of its manufacturing?’’ – unlike fast fashion brands. However, In the end it’s really more about values rather than rules and each ethical fashion player, regardless of agreeing with each other on the term ‘’ethical’’, always goes in the same direction: a less destructive fashion for humans and the environment.

What if I told you that you could be fashionable and help the environment at the same time?

The rate at which we’re using resources isn’t sustainable for our planet, nor is it necessary. If we want to have a positive impact on our environment and continue existing on this beautiful planet, we need to address this issue now, because at the pace we’re currently going, we won’t be able to in the future anymore.

We should bother with ethical fashion, because as said Mahatma Ghandi, “there is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”

What is the solution?

Switching our consumption habits to more sustainable and ethical ones is a difficult process. Especially, since we live in a consumerist society and seem to be stuck in a vicious cycle, basing our life on consumption. In addition, for the first time in history, the global environmental and social problems, but also the solutions, seem to be beyond our understanding and out of our reach.

Frankly, there is no such thing as the perfect solution. Instead, there are plenty of interesting alternatives, each presenting their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s go through a few different facets of ethical fashion that will help you form your own opinion and guide you to do your part.

What is the problem of today’s fashion or also called ‘’fast fashion’’?

For the last 20-30 years, the fashion design and manufacturing process has become extremely complex. To the point that today, big and small fashion brands seem to be unable to identify and to control their entire production chain. 

Fast fashion has now become the dominant model in the fashion industry. The whole concept is about producing in a record time, constantly renewing collections, permanently offering new products in physical stores or online, and encouraging more frequent purchases. By doing so, 140 billion pieces of clothing are being produced worldwide each year. 

And while 20 years ago distributors only offered two ready-to-wear collections per year: spring/summer and fall/winter, they have now gone to 52. For this to work, fashion needs to be disposable, and the goal is therefore to buy more, cheaper, for lower quality clothing which at the same time uses low-cost labor to meet this low-price requirement.

All of this has been happening over the past decades, without considering the garment workers’ human rights or even the horrific environmental impacts it is causing. The volume of production, the low financial means devoted to manufacturing, the rhythm of the collections and the permanent sales are what make fast-fashion unsustainable today.

With so many aspects to tackle, we might feel overwhelmed or discouraged to start our ethical fashion journey. Faced with such complexity, it’s good to remember that even though there’s no global solution, there are thousands of local solutions, and we must never forget that small changes end up making a big difference.

Let’s start from the beginning of each garment

One of the biggest differences between ethical fashion and fast fashion lies in the production process and in the thought given to the lifespan of the garments. While fast fashion is focused fabric and promotes fashion that’s less destructive for us and the environment. The wages of the people who produce the material are also considered in the ethical fashion process. 

Ethical fashion and textiles

Our clothes are made from many different fabrics, but the 2 main categories are ‘’natural fibers’’ and ‘’synthetic fibers’’.

Natural fibers exclude synthetic fibers and are obtained from nature (ex: linen, cotton, silk, wool, hemp, cashmere). However, we need to be careful if their origin is natural, because they can be produced intensively and have a significant impact on the environment. The best-known case is cotton alone, which consumes 1/4 of the planet’s pesticides. Nevertheless, the advantages of these fibers are: 

  • better for our health 
  • not using oil for their manufacture (unlike synthetic fibers)
  • not participating in the pollution of the oceans with micro-plastics (discharged by abrasion of synthetic fibers during washing). 

Synthetic fibers are completely manmade and essentially made from plastic (ex: polyester, nylon, lycra). More than 60% of clothes are made with synthetic textiles derived from oil, like nylon but mostly polyester. 

The fashion brands love them because they are cheap, durable and easy to adapt to many purposes. But those synthetic fabrics shed large amounts of microfibers, especially when machine washed, but also while being manufactured, and even just worn. Which is another problem the poor quality of fast fashion items is causing us. 

Since plastic isn’t biodegradable, these synthetic fabrics release ‘’microplastics’’ often invisible to the naked eye into the air and our wastewater systems, and from there arrive into our rivers, lakes and oceans. For instance, Lake Geneva, the biggest lake in Europe, is almost as polluted as the ocean with micro-plastics, causing huge environmental issues.

In short, ethical fashion considers the impact of using materials to make clothing. Linen, cotton, polyester, denim; each fabric has a different impact on the planet and its people. It is therefore important to carefully choose what our clothes are made from and of course to prioritize natural fibers over the synthetic ones and preferably organic to avoid pesticides. Choosing the lesser impact is what ethical fashion is all about.

Ethical fashion and tailoring

As mentioned before, this is a sector where there is massive violation of human rights at work. Fast fashion is responsible for the abuse and exploitation of not only the planet’s natural resources, but also the people who make our clothing. 1 in 6 people work in the global fashion industry, and most are earning less than $3 a day. Exploited, underpaid and put in terrible working conditions, is what these people go through every single day. Basic rights such as access to clean drinking water or decent temperatures inside the factories, is unknown to them. Even though the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013 (killing at least 1,132 people and injured more than 2,500) forced the world to recognize the wickedness of the fashion industry, the problem remains the same years later.

We should bother with ethical fashion because we’re all human. The emotional and mental stress of a cotton farmer and the conditions of garment factory workers wouldn’t be wished to anyone, so let’s take them in consideration. The tragic event of the Rana Plaza should have never taken place and serves as a cruel reminder as to how important ethical production is. 

There are many aspects that can make the production of garments more ‘’ethical’’ In terms of tailoring. Let’s go through some ethical fashion concepts.

Fair trade manufacturing: 

Fair trade clothing responds to the problem of non-respected workers in this sector. While 430 million are thought to work in fashion and textile production worldwide, these jobs are often badly paid, physically difficult, devalued, with few or non-existing security conditions and offer no prospect of development. Fair trade clothing responds to this problem by committing to respecting labor standards.

Made In Local: 

Made In Local is generally made in France and on the rise now, but faced with the difficulties of finding all the appropriate suppliers locally, it sometimes turns into made in Europe. In this case, we are not talking about fair trade since French and European labor standards are already very high and are most probably respected since there are more frequent controls. The goal of this concept is to relocate certain industrial activities in our consumer countries, making it possible to recreate local jobs and limit polluting emissions linked to transport (although the raw material, the fabric/fiber often still come from the other side of the planet).


However, the general method within the fast fashion industry is dyeing clothing with chemicals and pollutants to give them that perfect shade of pink, orange, or whatever is “on trend”. Also, did you know that in China, they say you can tell the popular color that season by the color of the rivers? 

And while we’ve swapped to easier, cheaper, and brighter colors that bring along a bunch of disadvantages, most of them are fabricated in developing countries with no regulations. Even if certain standards exist, there is no effective means of control. As a result, pollutant emissions are increasing exponentially every year, flowing into water ways, contaminating drinking and bathing water of surrounding villages. 

The repercussions of irresponsible dye use may lead to stillbirths, mutations, and other life changing conditions, along with the destruction of plant life and ecosystems. The disadvantages of these dyes, such as environmental pollution and human health, have long been neglected. 

To not participate in this, you can buy ethical fashion which focuses more on ethical dyeing processes. These dyes have often been replaced by natural ones (certifies the absence of the 100 most dangerous pollutants), recycled dyes, or even better no color change at all. The price to humanity and the environment of conventional dyes and processes just isn’t worth it.

But why is ethical fashion expensive?

Ethical fashion is usually pricier because the whole concept is the exact opposite of fast fashion that we have gotten so used to. The whole process is taken into account: from the materials used to the wage the garment workers were paid to create the garment – that’s what ends up costing it a bit more. The respect towards garment workers who are well-paid and fairly treated, the preservation of the environment by using better cotton or carbon neutral shipping service to import garments, or simply the fact that we wrap our body with these natural and more sustainable garments is definitely worth the price they come with.

Any ethically-made garment should be viewed as an investment. It is made to last, unlike fast fashion clothing. When you pay for an ethical and sustainable piece of clothing, you are investing in each individual time you will wear it, a concept called “cost per wear”. (Cost per wear describes the price you pay for a garment, divided by the amount of times you wear it. For instance, if you buy a garment for $100, and wear it 4 times, that garment cost you $25 each time you wore it. So, if you end up wearing this item once a week, in one year you will bring the cost per wear right down to $1.92307692308 – less than half of the price of your daily coffee.)

Start your own ethical fashion journey!

Globally, an estimated 92 million tons of textiles waste is created each year. The equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up in landfill sites every second. Let’s see what we as consumers can do to reduce this number and how to adapt a more ethical fashion.

1. Change the way you consume: from having to being

Joining an association, educating yourself and choosing more durable clothes is already a big step, but to have a profound change, we must question our relationship with objects. We live in a consumerist society, and we have been consciously and unconsciously programmed to consume as much as possible. That’s why when we buy clothes, we should ask ourselves: “Does this meet a well-considered need or am I simply looking for happiness, well-being? »,  »Don’t I already have something similar? ». 

Once we realize our overall volume of consumption is depleting natural resources, but also that the employees who produce it are being exploited, we can reflect better on our environmental and social impacts for each act of purchase and allows us to stop over-consumption.

2. Get back to basics

Stop buying these temporary trends and start buying trend-defying basics. This could be a pair of quality-made denim jeans, or a timeless ethically made top or a jacket that has been designed for versatility and durability. Buying basics and staple pieces for your wardrobe will save you lotof money in the long run.

3. Choose your clothes well and take care of them

Finding your style is very important and useful, because if we feel good in our clothes, we’re less likely to get rid of them. As a result, we buy less and keep items longer. 

We are often seduced by the major trends of a season or an era, that we end up forgetting that everything doesn’t suit everyone. We must therefore try to identify the clothes that give us the feeling of being true to ourselves. To find these clothes, they must be adapted to our mode of existence. What are my days made up of? What is my job? What is the climate? How do I move? These questions should be answered before choosing.

To keep your clothes the longest time possible, you must follow the instructions on the care label (how to wash, dry etc.; air drying clothes is of course the most ecological alternative).

4. Repair, Recycle, Rewear, Resell

Even if we adopt a more responsible consumption or the « Zero Waste » approach, we sometimes will still need to say goodbye to a piece of clothing. Instead of simply throwing it away, here are some alternatives to ensure your wardrobe remains ethical and sustainable.

First, we can give it a second life ourselves by repairing it or bringing it to a seamstress (filling holes, fixing rips, or removing stains that seem impossible to get rid of). By doing so, we end up saving money and keeping unnecessary waste out of landfills. 

It’s also possible to transform and customize it (examples: embroider an old sweatshirt, cotton shirts can become makeup removing pads or grocery bags etc etc!). You’d be surprised at how many books and videos exist offering an infinity of ideas! 

Finally, we can donate the clothes we no longer wear to relatives or associations that make the less fortunate benefit from these donations. Last but not least, reselling our clothes on specialized websites or in consignment stores is also an option (examples of sites: Le Bon Coin, Vinted, Facebook marketplace)

5. Buy second hand

Buying second-hand remains an economic and ecological solution that prolongs the life of a garment. Nowadays it’s very easy to find secondhand clothing: Depop, Facebook Marketplace/groups, Instagram, Vinted and of course local shops are great to find vintage and one-of-a-kind items. 

examples of stores in Luxembourg: 

  • Trouvailles (Luxembourg city, 2nd hand shop)
  • Pardon my closet (Check their Facebook to know where they are currently)
  • Pilea (Luxembourg city, 2nd hand clothes) 
  • Rethink your clothes (Luxembourg city, upcycling)
  • Royal second hand (Luxembourg city, 2nd hand shop luxury items)
  • Akabobuttek (Luxembourg city, Fairtrade clothes)
  • Lena Sarl (Luxembourg city, 2nd hand shop luxury items)
  • Caritas (Esch, 2nd hand clothes + kids)
  • Benu (Esch, upcycled clothes)
  • Weltbuttek (Esch, Fairtrade clothes)
  • Devï (Bonnevoie, upcycled clothes)
  • Secondhand4kids (Ettelbruck)

6) Rent & Swap

Renting clothes gives you the opportunity to wear something new without paying its full price. This is especially agreat idea when it comes to parties or rare occasions. Moreover, it’s important that we embrace the circular economy of renting clothes.

You could also swap clothes with friends or family members to participate in a happier fashion future. Ethical fashion is more than how the garment is made, it’s also about the idea of making clothes last, enjoying wearing these items and maximize its use to not end up in a landfill. Swapping clothes is great because what is old for you, is new to someone else and vice versa, creating happiness for the new wearers.

7) Change how you wash

To minimize microfiber pollution in the ocean and the air due to our synthetically made clothes, we can change the way we wash them: 

  • Wash less often and hand wash where that’s an option (ex: removing a stain on otherwise good to go jeans)
  • Use a shorter washing cycle at a lower temperature (30 degrees or ‘’eco’’ mode) ⮕ the longer the wash, the more time for micro-plastics to be released
  • Wash similar textiles together ⮕ fibers can be released when tougher fabrics rub up against softer ones (use liquid detergent instead of powder)
  • Do full washes rather than half full washes ⮕ less space allows less friction
  • Substitute dryer usage with open-air drying

8) Know where to buy:

The less we buy, the better, but if you really want to buy something or are searching for something in particular, it’s important to know where you could find these items ethically. There are many websites that highlight ethical brands and select them for their respect of these values. 

Here are some great ones: WeDressFair, Happy New Green, SloWeAre, Goodonyou, Modetic, El Market, Dressing responsable,

9) Break up with Fast Fashion

Now that you’re more familiar with the existing alternatives, you might feel more encouraged 

to start your ethical journey. The next step would be breaking up with Fast Fashion. Start by unfollowing their Instagram accounts and hitting that “unsubscribe” button at the end of their emails. Avoid going to their shops in town. The constant promotion of cheaply-made clothing that fills our social media and our streets has made mindful consuming harder, and cutting off that problem from its source is the best way to combat it.

By following these steps, we as consumers, would reduce emissions by more than half. And while all of these gestures seem small or insignificant, they end up making a huge difference. 

Sources :


Luxembourg’s transportation situation

According to a research published by in August 2019, three-quarters of the households in Luxembourg own one (45%) or two (30%) cars. Furthermore, the statistics reveal that 8% of households own three cars and a minority (3%) owns four cars or more. In other words, this means one out of ten Luxembourgish households has three or more cars available to use (11%).

Which makes Luxembourg a real car paradise with the highest number of passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants in the EU with 670 cars, with our neighbors scoring far better with Germany having 570 cars, Belgium having 520 cars and France 480 per 1000 inhabitants. To this statistic comes that Luxembourg has the second-highest share of passenger cars younger than two years with 29.2%.  

But why is that the case, why don’t we use public transportation in Luxembourg more often?

When we talk to people about public transportation in Luxembourg, they often say that the connections and times are quite bad and impossible to rely on, so they just use their cars to be more independent. For example, a trip from Mondorf to Luxembourg takes 26 minutes by car but up to two hours by train or a trip from Luxembourg city to Echternach takes 40 minutes by car while the same trip takes one and a quarter-hour by bus on weekdays. But longer commutes are not the only problem, people also often argue that buses and especially trains aren’t reliable with their timing and often arrive too late at their destination and that the number of buses per line isn’t enough. For example, living in Rameldange means that on Weekends you will only have one bus every two hours.

Well, why is it this way?

There isn’t any particular reason for this, but we can try and simplify it a bit. So, one obvious point is that our public transportation grid is quite outdated. For example, there are bus lines traveling the exact same routes as trains (290 from Luxembourg city to Mersch), all these bus lines should be revaluated and if there is no need for them then cancel them and use the extra resources to strengthen busy lines. The second big problem is that our road network is already at capacity especially the closer you get to Luxembourg city. As buses use the same roads as cars and as mentioned before we have quite a car problem buses will get stuck in the traffic and delay their arrival by default.

The positive aspect of our public transportation and road network problem is that the government acknowledges the problem and is coming up with solutions. For instance, many parking lots are being built around cities in Luxembourg, allowing workers to take the bus to their workplace instead of contributing to the big traffic problem inside the city. Also, 2.2 billion Euros have been invested in building tramlines and on strengthening the rail network to carry more people. The first tram line between Kirchberg and the central station is already constructed which will expand by 2025 to include the airport Findel and the neighborhoods of Bonevoie, Howald and Cloche d’Or. As well as a line traveling between Esch/Alzette and Luxembourg city. The goal of this is to keep cars out of the city and for the workers to use primarily public transportation from and to work. But even buses driving to cities stop on their edges and there the passengers change to lines driving through cities. To conclude, public transportation has been made free for everyone in 2019 to incentivize the citizens to use it.

All of these efforts show their first impacts on the passengers carried by rail, where the rise went from 22.5 million (2015) to 25 million (2019). The same can be observed on bus lines where inner-city travel rose from 12 million passengers (1938) to 47.7 million (2015). For the outer city travel, it went from 19.7 million (1990) to 43 million (2010). Similar numbers can be observed when talking about budget and the number of trains and buses used. For example, CFL’s budget rose from 289.3 million (1999) to 560.9 million (2019). Simultaneously, the number of trains doubled throughout these two periods.



Lëtzebuerger Transport Situatioun

Zu Lëtzebuerg, huet den am August 2019 eng Recherche publizéiert déi weist, dass dräi Véierel vun de Haushalten een (45%) oder zwee (30%) Autoen besetzen, d’Statistik wéist awer och nach datt 8% vun de Stéit dräi Autoen besetzen an eng weider Minoritéit ( 3%) gehéieren véier Autoen oder  nach méi. An anere Wierder, dëst bedeit datt ee vun zéng Lëtzebuerger Haushalten dräi oder méi Autoe zur Verfügung hunn fir ze benotzen (11%).

Des Zuelen mécht Lëtzebuerg zu engem richtegen Autoparadis mat der héchster Unzuel u Persounenautoen an der EU mat 670 Autoen pro 1000 Awunner, woubäi eis Nopere vill besser ofschneiden mat Däitschland 570 Autoen, Belsch 520 Autoen a Frankräich 480 pro 1000 Awunner. Zu dëser Statistik kënnt och nach, dass Lëtzebuerg deen zweet héchsten Undeel u Passagéier Autoe huet, déi méi jonk wéi zwee Joer sinn, mat engem Undeel vun 29,2%.

Awer firwat ass dat de Fall, firwat benotzen d’Lëtzebuerger den ëffentlechen Transport net méi dacks?

Wa mir mat de Leit iwwer den ëffentlechen Transport zu Lëtzebuerg schwätzen, soen se oft datt d’Verbindungen an d’Zäite relativ schlecht sinn an onméiglech sinn sech drop ze verloossen, dofir benotze se léiwer hiren Auto fir méi onofhängeg ze sinn. Zum Beispill, dauert eng Rees vu Mondorff op Lëtzebuerg 26 Minutten mam Auto awer bis zu zwou Stonnen mam Zuch oder eng Rees vun der Stad Lëtzebuerg op Iechternach dauert 40 Minutten mam Auto wärend déi selwecht Rees eng an eng Véierel Stonn mam Bus dauert. Awer méi laang Pendele sinn net deen eenzege Problem, d’Leit plädéieren och dacks datt Bussen a besonnesch Zich net mat hirem Timing anhalen an oft ze spéit op hirer Destinatioun ukommen. Dozou kennt och nach, datt see net oft genuch kommen, zum Beispill, zu Rammeldang wunnen heescht datt Weekends nëmmen all zwou Stonnen ee Bus kennt.

Firwat ass datt esou?

Et gëtt natierlech net een eenzege Grond, awer et kann een probéieren de Problem bëssen ze vereinfachen. Also, een offensichtleche Punkt ass datt eisen ëffentlecht Transportnetz zimmlech all ass. Zum Beispill, et gi Buslinnen déi genau déiselwecht Strecke fuere wéi Zich (290 aus der Stad Lëtzebuerg op Miersch), all dës Buslinne kéinten nei evaluéiert ginn a wann se net méi néideg sinn, da kann een se annuléieren a déi extra Ressourcen benotzen fir Linnen ze stäerken déi iwwerlaascht sinn. Dat zweet Problematik ass, datt eist Stroossennetz scho ob maximum Kapazitéit leeft, besonnesch wann een de Stied wei Ech oder Lëtzebuerg méi no kënnt. Well Bussen déiselwecht Stroosse benotze wéi Autoen a dowéinst am nämmlechten Stau stinn, ass den Problem net nëmmen deen vun enger schlechter Organisatioun mee och deen vun ze villen Autoen ob den Stroossen.

Datt Positiivt un eisem ëffentlechen Transport a Stroossen-Problem ass datt d’Regierung de Problem unerkennt a Léisunge sicht. Zum Beispill bauen mir Parkhaiser ronderëm déi gréisser Stied zu Lëtzebuerg, wou d’Aarbechter parken a dann Busse kënnen op huelen fir ob d’Aarbechtsplaze, sou datt se net mat hiren Autoe bannent de Stied fueren an se verstopfen. Doniewent ginn 2,2 Milliarden Euro fir ausginn fir den ëffentlechen Transport auszebauen an d’Eisebunnsnetz ze stäerke fir méi Leit kennen ze transportéieren. Déi éischt Tramslinn tëscht dem Kierchbierg an der Gare ass scho gebaut, déi bis 2025 ausgebaut gëtt bis ob de Fluchhafe Findel an d’Quartiere vu Bonevoie, Houwald a Cloche d’Or verbënnt. Wéi och eng Tramslinn tëscht Esch / Uelzecht an der Stad. D’Zil vun dësem ass d’Autoen aus der Stad ze halen a, datt d’Aarbechter virun allem den ëffentlechen Transport fir op d’Aarbecht ze benotzen. Awer och Bussen, déi a Stied fueren, wäerten an Zukunft virun den Stied stoppen an do wiessele Passagéier dann ob Buslinnen, déi se an d’Stied fueren. Als lescht däerf een net vergiessen, dass den ëffentlechen Transport fir jiddereen am Joer 2019 gratis gemaach gouf fir säi Gebrauch ze promovéieren.

All dës Efforten weisen hir éischt Auswierkunge, wei opsteige vun der Unzuel un Leit déi mat den Zich transportéiert goufen, klemmt vun 22,5 Milliounen am Joer 2015 op 25 Milliounen am Joer 2019. Dat selwecht kann een op Buslinne beobachten, wou d’Rees bannent de Stied vun 12 Millioune Passagéier am Joer 1938 op 47,7 Milliounen am Joer 2015 geklommen ass an d’pendelen ausserhalb vun de Stied ass vun 19,7 Milliounen am Joer 1990 op 43 Milliounen am Joer 2010 geklommen. Änlech Zuele kënne observéiert ginn wann een de Budget an d’Zuel vun den Zich déi benotzt ginn ukuckt, hei ass de Budget vun der CFL vun 289,3 Milliounen am Joer 1999 op 560,9 Milliounen am Joer 2019 eropgaangen, gläichzäiteg huet d’Unzuel vun den benotzten Zich verduebelt.



Why use the EcoBox?

The EcoBox itself is produced by a German manufacturer called Ornamin, who specializes in the production of food containers, tableware and eating aids. For the base of the EcoBox, they used a polymer called PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate), and the lid is made from PE (Polyethylene). Both compounds are fully recyclable and do not lose their properties and qualities in this process, so even if a container/lid is damaged the company will take them back and reuse the plastic to make a new EcoBox or one of their other products. Both compounds also have the benefit that they do not leak chemicals and microplastics into your food. This is important as many of the Polymers used in food containers or plastic bottles are carcinogenic, a good example of such plastic is PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) which is mainly used in plastic water bottles or single-use-cutleries.

The EcoBox was introduced to the public in 2018 by the Luxembourgish government with the help of Superdreckskescht, which is a recycling company that specializes in plastics and generally materials that are harder to recycle. They also offer sensibilization work for schools and companies, for example, their trash separating label for companies (of which the Mesa has one). The EcoBox is an initiative to reduce the single-use plastic (SUP) waste created in Luxembourg. A study showed that Luxembourg creates 4490 tonnes of plastic waste each year. As SUP will be banned in 2021, the EcoBox is a pilot project aiming to reduce our excessive waste problem and replace SUP with long-term solutions.

Since its introduction, the green reusable container rose in prominence at restaurants and cafes around Luxembourg and by July 2020, 62 000 Boxes were being used in hundreds of canteens, schools, and restaurants. At the end of 2020, the number of boxes increased to 75 000. If we assume that each person uses one small and one large one, then within half a year around 5 000 new customers were using the EcoBox, which makes this project one of the most successful transition initiatives in Luxembourg.

The EcoBox ecosystem works with a deposit system. People ordering food to go from a restaurant pay a 5-euro deposit for the container (any size), they then take it home and clean it once they are done with it. They can then choose to give it back to a restaurant that supports EcoBox and get their deposit back or reuse it. As people only pay a deposit, even if the box breaks, it is basically free, which makes it a valuable, eco-friendly, and cheap alternative for consumers.

The initiative for a more sustainable food container for restaurants comes at the right time as there will be an EU-wide ban on SUPs from July 3rd, 2021. Furthermore, as the government is overseeing the initiative, restaurants are more likely to adapt and accept the containers when selling take-away food. Restaurant owners were often opposed to putting take-away food in reusable containers as it goes against hygiene regulations or simply because they didn’t want to be bothered with an alternative. Hopefully, the attitude towards ecological alternatives will change, now that there is a government-led initiative available.