Why Eco Clothing
Wondering why more and more people are turning to eco clothing?
We have come to a time in man’s history, where all around us we see large carbon footprints that our ancestors and ourselves have left on our environment.
These footprints are not only in the form of carbon emissions, but also in the form of pollution and depletion of natural resources, etc.
Just look at the garbage that is accumulating in our landfills. Take a look at the amount of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses we are pouring into the atmosphere every year, as we produce new goods, transport them and finally burn them in the incinerators.
As more and more people come to be aware of the dire situation our environment is facing today, an increasing proportion of people are turning toward eco green living. The use of eco-friendly products like eco clothing is one aspect of eco green living.
How are eco friendly clothes “green”
In general, eco clothing are often made of natural fabric materials that are non toxic and less polluting in their production, use and disposal.
For example, the production of organic cotton uses no synthetic pesticides and man-made fertilizers, as well as no genetically modified seeds.
Such agricultural practices are many times more environmentally friendly than the cultivation practices used for conventional cotton – the latter uses large quantities of pesticides and fertilizers, which contribute substantially to water pollution
and land pollution
Another eco fibre is hemp. Hemp is an environmentally friendly fibre, not only because little application of fertilizers, pesticides and water are needed for the hemp plant to flourish. The hemp is also environmentally friendly because it contributes toward carbon sequestering , i.e. capturing and storing carbon so as to reduce carbon dioxide concentrations (i.e. a green house gas) in the atmosphere. This is because the hemp plant grows very quickly and produce large amounts of plant matter even with minimal conditions. Hence, carbon in the atmosphere can be quickly and effectively stored by the hemp in its plant matter, which in turn can be used for many purposes, such as hemp clothings, hemp paper, hemcrete (a hemp-based construction) etc.
Eco clothing can also be environmentally friendly in other ways.
For example, eco clothing made from recycled fabric or recycled plastic help to divert fabric and plastic waste away from the landfills and incinerators, by giving them another use.
Similarly, eco textile made of soy fibres help to reduce waste, by making use of the left-over hulls from soybean food production in the production of textile fibre. Soy fibres have the added benefit of being biodegradable, just like the other natural fibres like cotton, hemp and wool.
Read more about the various types of eco friendly clothing and what makes them environmentally friendly, and yet useful.
Some designers or distributors of eco friendly clothes also take the additional effort to ensure that the fabric materials are produced through sustainable farming methods, and the production process do not involve the exploitative of labour, especially in the poorer countries.
Other benefits of eco clothing
There are other benefits of eco friendly clothing besides being more environmentally friendly.
One of the second greatest benefits of eco clothing is that they are healthier for you and me.
Conventional garments are often contaminated with chemical dyes and garment finishes (eg. finishes to make your clothing wrinkle-free, anti-bacterial etc), or even synthetic pesticides left over from the agriculture processes. For example, many conventional dyes and fixatives contain heavy metals and dioxins that are found to be carcinogenic.
These harmful chemicals on our conventional clothing come into ready and prolonged contact with our skin , and can cause us skin irritations and even allergies. Some of these chemicals might even diffuse through our skin into our body, especially when the chemical particles are small enough, when our sweat pores are open during sweating, or if the protective ability of our skin has been reduced substantially. The toxins that enter our body might then bio-accumulate and can cause harm to our health in the long run.
Besides being healthier for our skin, eco friendly clothing are also comfortable to wear. They have been around for centuries and used by our ancestors, before the invention of harmful synthetic chemicals like toxic dyes, pesticides and fertilizers, etc.
For example, organic cotton is absorbent, soft and comfortable to wear in warm climatic conditions. Eco-clothing made of soy fibre are light and even have anti-ultraviolet properties. Bamboo fibre and wool fibre clothing help keep you comfortable throughout the seasons – warm in winter and cool in summer.
Eco clothing – fashionable and affordable?
You might be surprised to know that eco friendly clothing are no longer limited to plain, simple looking t-shirts, blouses, pants and skirts.
Eco friendly clothes are becoming more fashionable, and there is a growing number of brands sprouting out with beautifully designed eco friendly clothes. Even brands such as Versace, Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney are all now looking to include clothes made with eco friendly fabric in their new design collection.
And not all eco friendly clothes with beautiful designs are expensive. On several online stores, I have seen pretty dresses at affordable prices, I have seen pretty dresses at affordable prices, starting from $50 and ranging to higher prices like several hundred dollars, depending on what you choose. These prices are comparable, or even better than what you find at conventional clothes shops. And what’s more, with the eco clothing, you can be better assured that you are exposing yourself, and the environment, to less toxic chemicals. It’s a win-win-win!
With eco friendly clothing becoming more fashionable and affordable, these clothes are likely to be appearing in more and more wardrobes. You should start considering them too.
Shopping for eco clothes
Before you embark on your shopping for environmentally friendly clothes, you may want to check out our green product directory to find out about the range of goods and brands available.
More importantly, do check out the reviews of environmentally friendly products and brands contributed by our readers, to find out which brands and products are of quality and value-for-money, and are truly eco friendly.
Leave your recommendations or criticisms of eco clothes you have used yourself and help others make better purchasing decisions.
If you are a supplier or manufacturer of going green clothing and wish to share more about your eco-friendly items with our readers, contact us through our green shopping catalog.
Beyond eco clothing
What really must come first even before eco friendly clothing is the practice of reducing and reusing.
It doesn’t really help if you are constantly buying new eco friendly clothing and then regularly discarding them in the rubbish bin, especially if they are still in good conditions. Even if your eco clothing is made of natural materials and hence minimizes pollution when sent to the landfills or incinerator, the fact is that you are still producing substantial amount of waste if you practise “buy-and-throw”. And the disposal of this waste will inevitably produce pollution in one way or another.
So if really want to go green, what we suggest that you do is the following:
- Reduce your consumption – purchase a few nice, evergreen and durable eco clothing, and use them till they spoil, instead of pursuing fashion trends and constantly buying new clothes and discarding old ones
- It is fine to pamper yourself, or your loved ones, once in a while with a new outfit. If you wish to give yourself or your loved one a treat, then yes, go for eco clothing, because the negative impact they have on the environment is less than conventional clothes. Nonetheless, remember, don’t overdo it. The first most important principle to going green is still to reduce consumption.
- If you have clothes that you simply can’t fit in anymore but they are still in good conditions, send them to others who will reuse the clothes, instead of dumping the clothes in the rubbish bin where they will surely be buried or burnt, or may even end up in the oceanic garbage patches.
Check with your local charity homes if they need used clothes. Alternatively, check with your local recycling companies if they collect old clothes for recycling or reusing in poorer countries. Make sure that the clothes you send to them are in good conditions. Nonetheless, this avenue for you to share your clothes with the disadvantaged others should not be abused. It should not be treated as an alternative “rubbish bin” where you can dump all your last season’s fashion wear, while you purchase more of this season’s fashion.
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