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Royal fashion statement goes a long way

Prince William visiting Singapore.

Prince William was spotted wearing a tie made of recycled plastics on a recent trip to Singapore. Keeping up with orders has been ‘crazy’ for its maker Wilmok, a small company based in Rome. It’s wonderful to see people using their fame to shine a spotlight on sustainable endeavours.

The handmade floral blue tie has been dubbed the ‘Prince of Wales’ tie and is made from three-and-a-half recycled polyethylene (PET) bottles. William wore it at a global summit for wildlife preservation and what followed was an enormous peak in sales, says Wilmok founder Darryll Wilson. He is ‘touched’ by the unexpected support from such a prominent figure.

Social impact

As well as relying on recycled polyester to help reduce plastic waste, Wilson aims to help struggling families in Nepal. Each tie sold provides a week’s worth of food for one child, arranged by the charity Food For Life. Some of the money also goes towards their education, giving them a better start in life.

It doesn’t surprise me that William chose not to just wear any tie, preferring one with a positive social impact. After all, he has been trying to honour the legacy of his late mother, Princess Diana, who cared deeply about her charity work.

Wearing an eco-friendly accessory was no coincidence because the prince flew to Singapore to celebrate the winners of the 2023 Earthshot Prize. He launched this annual competition with biologist David Attenborough in 2020. This year, there were 15 finalists from 25 different countries working to realise cleaner oceans, waste-free communities, and more.

Five winners shared a total prize pot of roughly EUR 1 million. Here is a list of all 15 projects aiming to bring about a better, cleaner world.

Big hearts

For Wilson, life has changed dramatically in just one week. ‘We’ve had more visits in a day than we usually get in a month.’ He says support has been ‘overwhelming’, with requests coming from the UK and abroad.

‘Here’s to the little victories and the big hearts that make it happen,’ Wilson adds. He summarises his intentions by quoting Anne Frank: ‘No one has ever become poor by giving’.

I agree that the circular economy offers the perfect opportunity for a more united, inclusive world. Tackling plastic waste and improving living conditions in emerging nations aren’t exactly separate problems, are they?

Whether issues are in Asia or closer to home, they are ours. We’re all in this together.

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