Putting Sustainability in Style

For environmental attorney Megan Baroni, every day is Earth Day. Megan turned her passion for the environment into a career, pursuing a master’s in Environmental Management from Yale University and a law degree from Pace Law School. Today, she applies her environmental expertise to a wide range of state and federal environmental issues at Robinson & Cole LLP.

The professional is also personal with Megan. As a mom of two, she strives to minimize her family’s environmental footprint and leave the planet intact for future generations. We asked Megan to share the bigger impact of Dudley Stephens’ sustainable style ethos, and her tips on good global citizenship. Here’s what she told us—and why we’ve sworn off plastic bottles for good.

It seems like the planet has a bit of a plastic problem. Can you help us wrap our heads around it?

As a consumptive society, we’ve created convenience products to make life easier. But those products take a toll on our environment. We have tried to reduce this impact, but damage has been done. Case in point: “Plastic Island,” a mass of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean more than twice the size of Texas (!). It grows every day, impacting the health of our oceans. Fish consume microplastics, which re-enter our food chain. Think about it this way: We’re literally eating the plastic we think we are throwing “away.”

Dudley Stephens fleece is manufactured from recycled bottlesand we've repurposed over half a million bottles (and counting) through our line to-date. How does this help address the problem and positively impact our environment?

There’s no such thing as throwing something “away.” We need to understand the lifecycle of products we use. We’re familiar with the 3 “Rs,” but we need to think about what they actually mean in our daily lives:

Reduce: Use less! Since we’re talking about plastic bottles, don’t use them! Like, ever! Reusable water bottles are SO must better for the environment and SO much cheaper for you.

Reuse: Sometimes we end up using disposable products, a fact of our modern lives. But these disposable products can and should have more than one life. I am not embarrassed to say I have a stockpile of used plastic bags in my kitchen. If I end up using a plastic bag for storage, I almost always reuse it…again….and again…and again…. 

Recycle: Most of us think we’re dutiful recyclers, but get this—91 percent of plastic is not recycled. Dudley Stephens is tackling the problem: Their fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles (and it’s super comfy, to boot). To date, Dudley Stephens has turned over over half a million plastic bottles into useful products. That’s half a million bottles that could have been destined for Plastic Island. As a consumer, that matters a lot to me. I love my Dudley Stephens in its own right, but I feel even better knowing it’s made of repurposed plastic.

What else can we all do to be part of the solution?

Understand that there is no magical place called “away.” When you dispose of something, it may no longer be with you, but it is still here. Think about the 3 “Rs” and how you can live them in your daily life. And support companies like Dudley Stephens that live the 3 “Rs” as well.