As a company that designs and sells apparel for the outdoor community, we have begun to see the importance of utilizing recycled and eco-friendly materials. Three years ago, non-recycled apparel didn’t seem like a major environmental impact. Now that we are beginning to grow and expand exponentially, we have decided to take a stand against waste and hopefully begin a conversation in the running community about the importance of recycling. We want to continue to make rad clothing, but not at the cost of our environment. While there are still some items that we sell that we cannot yet find recycled materials for, our long-term goal is to ultimately have all of our products be recycled or utilize organic cotton.
“Textile and clothing recycling is a beneficial activity from both environmental and economic points of view. Through the recycling of used clothes and textiles, we can avoid pollution and energy intensive production of new clothing. Additionally, clothing that cannot be reused can be repurposed into such products as rags or recycled into fabric or other material for reprocessing. As cities are increasingly diverting other high volume waste streams such as organics, the recycling of old clothes has been called the next frontier for cities looking to reduce solid waste.” (Textile Recycling Facts & Figures, 2017).
In the United States, more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated, which is nearly double the amount from only 20 years ago. The average American throws away over 80 pounds of used clothing per year. The annual environmental impact of a household’s clothing consumption is equal to the carbon emissions from driving a modern car for 6,000 miles, or the water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs.
Only about 0.1% of used materials collected by charities and take-back programs are recycled into new textiles. For every two million tons of clothing recycled per year, we are able to reduce the environmental impact equivalent of the pollution caused by one million cars on the US streets. To put that in perspective, we waste nearly 26 Billion pounds of fabric and textiles per year that can be recycled.
Nearly 100 percent of textiles and clothing are recyclable, and 85% of all used clothing ends up in a landfill. This needs to change.
This change can happen multiple ways:
- The development of initiatives to promote recycling
- Harmonious collection efforts
- Supporting companies that utilize recycled materials
- Avoid purchasing new clothing made from non-recycled materials
While many see the importance of eating organic food for both health and the environment, the impact of organic cotton is still relatively unknown.
The production of organic cotton does not involve the use of chemicals, which reduces allergies to the wearer. Benefits of organic cotton clothing include: better health for consumers and farmers, environmental conservation, and cost savings for the farmers.
Conventionally-grown cotton accounts for nearly 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides used throughout the world (while it only takes up 3% of the total cultivated area). The excessive use of chemicals in the growth and production of conventional cotton has led to a significant amount of environmental pollution. Organic cotton, grown without pesticides or insecticides, helps improve the quality of the land, prevents water contamination, and conserves the biodiversity of the land. New research on the cost of organic versus conventionally grown cotton has shown that organic cotton is significantly cheaper to grow.
The use of organic cotton has increased dramatically in the last five years, jumping over 153% since 2006. While organic cotton has increased in production, it still only makes up .55% of the total global cotton production.
Benefits of Organic Cotton (from Econscious.Net):
- Keep millions of pounds of chemicals out of the environment
- Create healthier working conditions for farmers and agricultural workers
- Do not depend on chemical pesticides (poisons), synthetic fertilizers, or genetically engineered ingredients
- Reduce global warming. Organic farms pull CO2 out of the atmosphere as much as three times the rate of conventional farming practices and releases less CO2 into the atmosphere because it does not rely on chemical fertilizers and herbicides (Rodale Institute, 2008)
- Promote bio-diversity. Insect and bird life has been found to be as much as 50% greater on organic farms than conventional farms (UK Soil Association, 2000)
- Demonstrates your commitment to social and environmental responsibility
We are proud to partner with Econscious Clothing for our Fall Line of Dirtbag Runners apparel. We utilize their eco-friendly recycled cotton apparel, which comes from post-industrial cotton manufacturing waste and is turned into soft, linen-like fabric. 25% of our apparel is made with organic cotton, which adds softness and shape retention to the clothing.
Econscious works with factories who share their commitment to manufacturing quality products and providing a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. They ensure that the factories adhere to wage, child labor, overtime, health, safety and environmental standards regulations.
Econscious is also partnered with 1% for the Planet, a global organization that connects dollars and doers to accelerate smart environment giving. Econscious donates 1% of all retail sales to environmental non-profits that are working to restore, protect, and advocate for our home, planet earth.
THE FUTURE OF DIRTBAG RUNNERS CLOTHING
Inspired by companies like Econscious, we are moving forward with an intention of making this world a better place. By utilizing as much of recycled and organic materials as possible, we will be helping to reduce the impact of conventionally-grown and the production of new materials. We believe it’s our duty to help support the momentum of utilizing organic and recycled materials.
To explore our new fall line, visit our online store here: DirtbagRunners.com
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