One of the items that most people must have is clothing. Nudist Colonies are definitely a rarity, therefore we must all wear clothes or at least we should at work. (Who wants to be sued for sexual harassment!). The most eco, sustainable thing you can do about clothes is to 1.) Buy only what you will wear. 2.) Recycle the clothes you don’t wear. 3.) Re-purpose your current clothes 4.) When buying, consider Eco Friendly and organic clothing.
Sustainable clothing is easy to find on the internet. Although depending on where you live you may not have many local stores to go look, touch, feel and try on styles. The good news, there is a strong trend for stores to stock ‘environmentally friendly’ textiles and products.
Advantages of Sustainable Clothing:
- Easy to care for
- Most have natural ‘ingredients’, like UV and insect repellents.
- Durable and Strong
- Timeless Styles: Never go out of style, after all, eco clothing has been worn for over 1 Million Years.
- It takes 1 pound of polluting chemicals to every 3 pounds of finished fabric.
- Growing Cotton uses 22.55 of all the insecticides used Globally.
- Growing enough cotton for 1 T-shirt requires 257 gallons of water.
- The EPA considers 7 of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in the USA as ‘to likely’, ‘probability’ to contain human carcinogens.
When you are looking for ‘Green’ Eco Clothing there are several factors to consider:
- Where was it made? How much energy was expanded getting the product to market?
- Is the Company itself practicing sustainable policies?
- Fair Trade: Is this an item that is fairly traded?
- Material Content: Is the material a sustainable Textile ?
- Pesticide Free: How many chemicals it requires to grow or process to make ready for market?.
- Labor Conditions: Is the company practicing fair labor practices?
- Ecological Footprint: How much land it takes to bring the product to full growth and support it?
- Inks and dyes: Are they soy based?
Top 20 Eco Friendly Clothing Materials
1.) Alpaca: Where to find: Indigenousdesigns.com . (Personally, I would just go to Peru! I love Peru)
2.) Organic Cotton: This is cotton grown wthout toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Organic Cotton is grown under Fair Trade Guidelines and is biodegradable and compostable.
3.) Hemp : Hemp plants are made from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is illegal to grow these plants in the US even though this variety contains no THC. Hemp does not need pesticides or fertilizers to grow fast. Strong, naturally UV resistant and biodegradable and compost able. Hemp had been used in many products for over 10,000 years. You can buy hemp from Hempy’s and The Hempest,
- Betsy Ross sewed the first American Flag from Hemp
- Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain in ships rigged with ropes and canvas sails made with Hemp.
- Declaration of Independence was drafted on Hemp Paper
- Benjamin Franklin owned a hemp paper mill
4.) Bamboo : Bamboo grows very fast thus no pesticides are necessary. Fiber is soft, naturally UV resistant and anti=bacterial. Requires a minimal amount of manufacturing chemicals. It is biodegradable. The downside is the majority of bamboo is grown outside the USA, therefore the energy it requires to get bamboo to market is not sustainable. I look at it this way, the boats bringing bamboo over are also bringing cell phones, eye glasses, and every other gadget and product made. Bamboo clothing is available from many sources including Bamboo Clothes,
5.) Soy: or Soy Silk Is made from the by products of soy manufacturers, thus using post consumer resources. Is biodegradable and compost able. Ideal Bite had some great feedback and styles on Soy Clothing. Some companies offering: Exofficio, and OkoBox.
- Rumor has it that Henry Ford wore a Soy Silk Suit
6.) Tencell/ Lyocell: Made from wood pulp from fast growing trees. (Eucalyptus.) Chemicals are used although 99.6% of the chemicals go back into the production cycle, therefore do not pollute the environment. Biodegradable and compost able. You
7.) Organic Wool: Is a great resource, providing how they are raised and treated.
9.) Ingeo: Man Made Fiber derived from Corn. How it hold see this Report from Ingeo
10.) Calico/ Muslim: Fabric made from unbleached cotton.
11.) Hessian Cloth: Woven Fabric made from jute or hemp. Durable although coarse materials. You can make clothes from Hessian cloth although more popular use is bags. Other common names, Burlap and Sackcloth.
12.) Recycled Polyester: Patagonia
13.) Corn: Fairly new on the market. Engro
14.) Organic Linen: One of my favorite clothing lines, is FLAX. Their website doesn’t have a organic statement, but they are usually in ‘Natural retail locations.
15.) EcoSpun which is a trademark name : Fabric Made from plastic containers. But there are many companies such as Prana who also produce clothing from recycled bottles. You can even buy the products for promotional use.
16.) Nettle Fiber: Made from stinging nettle a weed. We all know how durable weeds are. Nettles are used in many cultures today for clothing, baskets, yarns and other products. For an example of the ‘New Nettle’ from BBC News.
- The uniforms from Napoleon’s Armada were made from nettles.
- In Nepal, nettle is used for clothing and sailcloth.
17.) Spider-Web Fabric: For more information go to Moondial. Even though this is not available yet, it is a new break though that has far reaching effects in the natural environment.
18.) Milk Silk: Silk made from milk. New Research, and not much is known about Milk Silk. Cyarn is currently making this.
19.) Ramie: Good choice for warmer climates. Good Stain resistance, doesn’t shrink.
Recycled Material Trivia:
- Fleece jackets. About 25 two-liter plastic pop bottles can be used to make one fleece pullover. About 15 will produce a fleece vest.
- T-shirts. Pop bottles can be recycled into a smoother polyester for use in T-shirts and other clothes.
Green Fashion from Mahalo Daily
Organic Clothing from OrganicClothing
Bamboo Information from LA Times