What Green Trends Can You Expect to See in 2020?
With people concerned about the planet’s rising temperature — and the irreversible damage it could cause — sustainability is becoming a widespread concept. Individuals and corporations alike look for ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, decrease reliance on electricity and reduce waste.
If you’re focused on the eco-conscious plans of the future, discover five green trends you can expect to see in 2020.
Experts have linked meat to climate change emissions for years. Livestock, especially cattle, produce methane as part of their digestive process. Plus, the way farmers manage manure outputs nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Beyond harmful gases, much of this food ends up in landfills, with around 40% of food supplies in the U.S. wasted.
Fortunately, as of 2020, plant-based meat options, such as Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger, as beginning to gain traction. The Beyond Burger has a host of ingredients, though it’s primarily water and peat protein isolate. The Impossible Burger, on the other hand, utilizes a soy protein concentrate.
Slow Fashion Brands
In 2014, people bought 60% more clothing than they did in 2000. As a result, the fast fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon emissions, more than international flights and overseas shipping combined. It’s also the world’s second-largest consumer of water. Each year, 85% of all textiles end up in landfills, and microplastics leach into the oceans.
This year will see a shift toward slow fashion, an industry that focuses on sustainability, considers the resources used and values fair treatment of animals, people and the planet. It also encourages buyers to purchase high-quality garments that last longer. Certain brands, such as Stella McCartney, Everlane and Alternative Apparel, have already made an impact in this sector.
Buildings and their construction account for 36% of global energy use and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions each year. While we all need a place to live, there are steps we can take to reduce the harm these structures have on the environment. That’s where net-zero communities come in, efficient neighborhoods that offset their energy use with renewables.
A few of these communities already exist in the United States. Kaupuni Village in Oahu, Hawaii, for instance, has 19 homes that implement recycled materials, aquaponics and solar panels. In Salt Lake City, you’ll find Utah’s first net-zero community, Living Zenith, which uses photovoltaic systems for power and sends surplus to the local grid. As 2020 continues, these neighborhoods will become a more familiar sight.
In the United States, packaging generates around 30% of all solid waste each year — an astounding 77.9 tons. Amazon alone ships 13 million packages per day. Plastic makes up the majority of these shipments, a material that doesn’t degrade in landfills and leeches into oceans, harming wildlife. In fact, 18 billion pounds of plastic makes its way into seas each year.
In 2020 and beyond, consumers will see a dramatic shift away from plastic and toward sustainable alternatives. According to one survey, 57% of shoppers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging. Look for a shift toward recycled materials, plant-based plastics and biodegradable options, such as mycelium — mushroom roots.
Today’s cars rely on fossil fuels, resources predicted to run dry in the decades to come. As a result, it’s essential to find sustainable alternatives. While a select few already drive electric vehicles (EVs), the sector will begin to see substantial growth in 2020. Auto manufacturers already pledged to spend $2.3 billion developing new EVs.
General Motors plans to build one of the world’s biggest battery factories in Ohio, a plant that will rival Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada. Toyota, which partnered with Chinese battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., is having difficulties keeping up with the demand for hybrids. Dozens of other brands have also announced their plans to reveal new EV models in the coming years.
Keep an Eye Out for These Green Trends
Climate change will have a significant impact on the planet, harming economies, ramping up disease, increasing the severity of natural disasters, boosting food and water scarcity and much more. If we don’t take action now, some of these consequences could become irreversible.
To do your part, keep an eye out for and encourage green trends, like the ones above. Individuals can make a difference, especially when it comes to where they spend money.
Emily Folk covers topics in sustainability, conservation and green technology. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.