Consider the classic white t-shirt. Annually, we sell and buy 2 billion t-shirts globally, making it one of the most common garments in the world. But how and where is the average t-shirt made, and what’s its environmental impact? Angel Chang traces the life cycle of a t-shirt.
Within the last few months, Nestle has applied for an increase in the amount of water it is permitted to pump at one of its Michigan site wells. This increase would allow Nestle to go from pumping 150 gallons of water to 400 gallons of water per minute. To put this in perspective, Nestle may be able to pump as much as 210 million gallons per year for only 200 dollars (i.e. this is the price of a permit fee). Moreover, Nestle is paying next to nothing to extract and bottle up our fresh water, while preserving the plastic bottle that has drastically impacted the health of our ecosystems.
Let us also seriously consider the negative externalities associated with this exploitative objective: an excessive increase in plastic production- disposables that disturb ecological processes and human health. .
The use of plastic permeates through all major industries and the impacts become even more alarming when one considers the amount of micro-plastic in our own clothing and how it is affecting our health.
"Another emerging source of marine microplastics is microfibres leaching from clothing when washed. Microfibres are 1/100th the diameter of a human hair and are used for better waterproofing, breathability and flexibility in sportswear. The most common types of microfibers are made from polyesters and polyamides, and according to researchers giving evidence to the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee in 2016, the number of leached microfibres in wastewater could be as many as 1900 fibres per garment." Not to mention, micro plastics attract and carry toxic elements, such as VOCs and PFCs, which are then ingested and passed through the food chain, back to humans. For an informative read, click here.
The Story of Stuff critically challenges the underside of our production and consumption patterns, ultimately, the 'materials economy.' The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the Stuff in your life forever.
A Canadian advertising campaign reveals the whole truth about that sweater you would like to purchase. Learn more here.
Especially this holiday season, before you buy clothing for your loved ones (or yourself), do a quick search on "toxic clothing health concerns" to find out how most of what you buy/choose to wear is affecting health--yours, theirs, the world's--in ways you wouldn't guess or desire.
We hope you'll be glad to know why we encourage people to do more with less, enjoy the best and avoid investing in mainstream apparel full of formaldehyde (not restricted in US manufacturing), PFCs (Perflourinated Chemicals), VOCS (volatile organic compounds) and phthalates, among 8000 other chemicals used to make what you wear. Be aware that many are endocrine/hormone distrupting and do not wash out.
Here's an article from Shape Magazine about "What's Lurking In Your Yoga Pants?"
Does your place of choice for workout make money on branded apparel that's toxic to our health? While shopping recently at a very popular athletic apparel store, a customer was told that she should buy two different pairs of $98 leggings for aerobics and yoga. Wow, our customers get all kinds of use out of fabulous $26 organic cotton leggings, from workout to dinner out.
Maybe the health concerns with over 70,000 new American Airlines flight attendant uniforms will raise awareness of what is compromising health for us all. (Fly much?)
This is a time of shock and uncertainty about what will happen to the rights & resources we've all made efforts to protect over several decades, For 20 years, Clothing Matters' has been committed to providing people with opportunities to connect with Nature via clothing produced in ways that respect the integrity and interdependent nature of life.
For this reason, we're especially grateful to our allies who've supported the needs of those at Standing Rock, including friends of Clothing Matters here in our Blackport Building Community as well as those afar with whom we are aligned. We were gratified to hear that elders and medics caring for the injured were among those who received the 40 jackets we donated. One of our neighbors collected wetsuits to send for protection against water cannon assaults by police in below freezing temperatures.
We want to recognize and express appreciation for the leadership of Judy Wicks, dedicated to demonstrating the rewards and challenges of paddling upstream with confidence in the value of creating and staying a sustainable course. She traveled from Philadelphia to spend Thanksgiving at Standing Rock, serving dinner to 500 of those camped out to protect our waters and lands.
"I’m going to Standing Rock because the native people are spiritually evolved with a deep reverence for nature. In observing their leadership, I recognize the values needed to move our country forward - respect for Mother Earth and all species, cooperation, generosity, non-violence, humility and love", Wicks explains.
Check out her latest blog post to read about more about why she joined the people at Standing Rock, generously protecting our rights and resources with such strong commitment to what is in the best interest of us all. http://judywicks.com/
We're honored to know Judy Wicks as a valued customer who has thoughtfully invested in pieces from our world class collection during Clothing Matters' first decade as well as our our second.
With respect for humanity & all lives of the world dependent on clean water, we honor the efforts of those at Standing Rock, raising awareness of the need for us all to be more responsible with our choices and the interdependent nature of our world.
Clothing Matters' support goes out to them with a donation of forty jackets made from recycled plastic bottles to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions by close to 60%, & eighteen of our premium hemp hoodies, embodying a united spirit.
We're grateful for this opportunity to make what we believe is the most valuable investment of 20 years.
Below are a few reasons why we'd like to see Grand Rapids include apparel in sustainability conversations and take action to help our Great Lakes State become the most sustainably dressed region in the nation. Did you know that apparel is one of our worlds most toxic and wasteful industries and a top polluter of clean water?
After reading the sobering info below about your old clothes, find out why we're so excited about providing the best of sustainably manufactured apparel items that can take the place of 2, 3 or 4 and gratify you more...Check out a new bestseller--Clothing Matters' own design:
A 3 (or more) length skirt that serves as a healthy, comfortable shaper to smooth contours, is also a sheath top for over a camisole & under a cardigan...is also a 4 season infinity scarf and hood to keep you cozy, comfy and chic. Designed, cut and sewn by our own team, made of the best blends, available in hemp/organic cotton or bamboo/organic cotton, at $29.
You probably have too many clothes, and a pathetically small percentage of used clothing donated to nonprofits ends up serving any significant value.
From MSN Money/Newsweek 9/3/16:
"According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84 percent of unwanted clothes in the United States in 2012 went into either a landfill or an incinerator.When natural fibers, like cotton, linen and silk, or semi-synthetic fibers created from plant-based cellulose, like rayon, Tencel and modal, are buried in a landfill, in one sense they act like food waste, producing the potent greenhouse gas methane as they degrade. But unlike banana peels, you can’t compost old clothes, even if they're made of natural materials. “Natural fibers go through a lot of unnatural processes on their way to becoming clothing,” says Jason Kibbey, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. “They’ve been bleached, dyed, printed on, scoured in chemical baths.” Those chemicals can leach from the textiles and — in improperly sealed landfills — into groundwater. Burning the items in incinerators can release those toxins into the air.
Meanwhile, synthetic fibers, like polyester, nylon and acrylic, have the same environmental drawbacks, and because they are essentially a type of plastic made from petroleum, they will take hundreds of years, if not a thousand, to biodegrade."
For full article: http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/no-one-wants-your-old-clothes/ar-AAim8tF#image=2
Unfortunately, the protective layer of ozone that has protected many generations from the sun has been severely compromised.
How comfortable and non-toxic can sun protection be?
A relatively new rating designation for sun protective textiles and clothing is UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), which represents the ratio of sunburn-causing UV measured without and with the protection of the fabric. We take pride in partnering with those who innovate for clothing to be better than you knew it could be. Our organic cotton dyed with clay has a mean UPF protection factor of 92, which we believe is superior to any sun protection clothing on the market.
The content of clay (that is added sometimes to sunscreens) effectively blocks most of the harmful sun radiation.
White clay is used as a base in many of our low impact dyed as well as clay dyed items for excellent sun protection.
We hope you'll find time to honor the lives of so many who lost their lives at Rana Plaza 3 years ago due to the demands of fast fashion. Don't be tempted by what's tragic, no matter how soft and lovely it seems.
Let INTERNATIONAL FASHION REVOLUTION Week remind you of all the reasons why it's worth knowing more about what you're putting on your precious body.
Do a quick search to find reasons why we encourage you to consider how one piece and take the place of 2, 3, or 4, and gratify you more.
Be willing to hold yourself, your brands and your country accountable.
What's happening with apparel production in the U.S.?
Thanks to Melanie for the moving poem she recently shared in response to this post.