It used to be something else.

Photography: Marcio Delgado

Words: Marcio Delgado

Model: Ellis Kane


Until 2017, sustainability wasn’t really on my radar. For me, someone used to working with corporate content often driven by numbers and pie charts, it was a fancy word loved by brands trying to justify why they had a higher price tag. Occasionally, I would buy something organic or made of responsibly sourced materials. However, this was more by accident than via elaborate research or having put much thought into it.

Then, later in 2017, I was commissioned to fly to the United States to film for a global campaign featuring digital influencers from around the world. One of these influencers was Valeria Hinojosa, a Miami-based content creator who swapped a career in private baking to become a full-time conscious travel and lifestyle blogger, working alongside eco-friendly brands.

Since then, I have noticed more and more companies trying to do their part when it comes to creating a more sustainable world, from outsourcing recycled materials, to improving the way products are packaged and distributed.

Although by the end of last year more than 120 countries had banned plastic bags – with 60 more countries threatening to impose taxes for their single use – there is still lots more to be done as a 2019 World Wide Found (WWF) report estimated that an astonishing 570,000 tonnes of plastic is dumped into the Mediterranean Sea each year, which is the equivalent of 33,800 plastic bottles every minute.

So, where can we go from here? In June 2020 the UN will host an Oceans Conference in Portugal, where worldwide progress will be assessed, and countries will pledge to take measures to prevent plastic pollution. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, in between campaigns, I recently spent a whole morning shooting with solely sustainable products in East London. Here you can see the result of wide variety of items I worked with, as well as how the companies making them are having a genuinely positive environmental impact.

This used to be a plastic bottle

British ribbon maker Berisfords was already in business for six years before Alexander Parkes invented Parkensine, the first man-made plastic, in 1864. Then, when high-density polyethylene was introduced in the early 50s, plastic bottles started to be used on a commercial scale. This sparked environmental worries that persist today.

In 2019, this 158-year-old company partnered with a leading European yarn supplier to develop Newlife, a double-faced satin ribbon woven with yarns made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The journey for this ribbon starts with the collection of plastic bottles via recycling points within mainland Europe. After the cleaning process, bottles are broken down into smaller plastic flakes before being converted in filaments that will become certified 100% recycled yarns.

From bottle to necks

Investing in fashion that saves water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions – British online fashion retailer, ASOS, has several items made in a sustainable way.

Featured here is a recycled poly-satin scarf made with a leopard baroque print. The polyester used is made from plastic bottles and textile waste that have been processed into plastic chips and melted into new fibres. From £14.00

This used to be a shirt

All of Soumate’s products are knit from pre-consumer, recycled cotton yarn.

Made of remnants collected from t-shirt factories, that would normally go into a landfill, this American company’s products avoid the use of any additional dyes or colours. The outcome is eco-friendly colourful socks that are sold worldwide.

The vegan lipstick

German manufacturer Lavera has won over 350 awards for its pursuit of making organic and vegan cosmetics using 100% natural ingredients. Its name has Latin roots, coming from the word for ‘the truth’. The lipstick swatches on the model’s face were made using Lavera Maroon Kiss 009 Bio lipstick.

A new lease of life

Spanish manufacturer Relevo gives a second chance to plastic with its 100% petrol-free recycled bin bags where old used plastic bags are turned into new ones and sold across Europe. Besides regular collaborations with foundations and NGOs, a % of the company’s revenue is put back into educational programs on recycling.

From £3.99 on

Marcio Delgado – is a London-based Journalist, producer and photographer working with brands and content creators in Europe, USA, Asia and Latin America.

More about sustainability and behind the scenes: @marcio_delgado