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From clothes to coffee, “sustainable” is retailers’ favourite buzzword—and a comforting myth

We may feel better about buying clothes and goods labelled "sustainable." But not only is the actual definition of the word unclear, the truth is, none of us can buy our way out of climate change

By Emma Flynn  

Even clothes marketed as "sustainable" can cost the planet. Photo: Prospect composite

From coffee cups to menstrual pads, the buzzword du jour is “sustainable.” But what does that mean when used to describe consumer goods?

I first noticed the proliferation of sustainable products in Instagram advertisements; everything from runners and sandals, to lingerie and socks, cotton swabs and toothbrushes, water bottles, coffee cups, bags, jewellery, and lunchboxes. It’s as common in real life, the word often emblazoned across food and drink packaging. Seemingly everything I could ever need…

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