Andrey Bazarnov

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Galileo IIIC
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Ulyanovsk, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Russia
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CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF STRATEGIC OFFICER, IT 

Galileo IIIC

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image from  Girlfriend

image from Girlfriend

Here are 10 amazing sustainable activewear brands you will love wearing during your workouts.

When shopping for activewear, there are a few things I ask myself.

1) Was it made ethically?

2) What material is it made from?

The brands I list on my website always have a high standard of ethics when manufacturing, and if you are unsure of a brand that is unlisted, just ask them! Most should have the info on their website, but if you can’t find it, a quick email should tell you. Material wise - this is a tough one. I prefer organic cotton for my workout clothing because it is a natural fiber (even though it is usually mixed with a little spandex for stretch). These fibers don’t shed micro-plastics like recycled polyester does. Since a lot of ethically-made workout clothing is made from recycled polys, you just need to make sure to wash it correctly in order to avoid the many micro-plastics going back into the water systems. You can read more about this topic here.

Now, to get my butt back into shape….

& here are some brands helping me do so!

You May Also Be Interested In:

10 Sustainable Sneakers you Can Run, Walk & Be Active In

14 Sustainable Swimwear Brands to Enjoy this Summer

Where to Find Organic Socks for the Entire Family

sustainable-activewear

tenere

Material | GRS-Certified Recycled Yarns

Price | $68-118

A new activewear brand to hit the sustainable fashion scene, Tenere is creating athletic bottoms for both men and women. Not only is Tenere using completely recycled materials (even the elastane is recycled), but they also believe in radical transparency. Each product comes with a QR code to learn all about its supply chain. Plus, they are more size inclusive than most with sizes up to 3x.


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Inhala Soulwear

Material | ECONYL

Price | $40-120

INHALA uses eco-friendly materials like ECONYL (regenerated nylon) and Peruvian fair trade organic cotton. Not only that, but the INHALA team has followed a zero-waste and no-plastic commitment, so all of their collections have zero-elastic designs. They use recycled and reusable packaging as well as home compostable garment bags. Plus, every purchase plants a tree.


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Arms of Andes

Material | Alpaca

Price | $60-250

If you are looking for high-performance & sustainable outdoor apparel, this is your go-to! Straight from the Andes mountains, Arms of Andes is using 100% Alpaca Wool in every design. Not only does their alpaca wool come from small-scale indigenous producers, but they make all of their clothing in Peru, as well. So why, alpaca? Because it’s natural, biodegradable, anti-bacterial, odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, and breathable - making it perfect for outdoor activity!


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Wolven

Material | OEKO-TEX certified Recycled P.E.T fabric (RPET)

Price | $36-108

Are you needing a little extra pep in your step when working out? Well, look no further than Wolven. Their vibrant prints are everything you need to make working out fun. I love the fact you can even wear a lot of their pieces for everyday - not just at the gym. They have many different styles, prints and colors - and even some great solid pieces (which would be awesome for mixing-and-matching with all of their prints!).


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Girlfriend

Materials | ECONYL®, Recycled PET, Recycled Nylon, Cupro

Price | $38-78

This brand is the best when it comes to size inclusivity. Girlfriend goes up to a size 6X, and has so many different colors and styles to choose from. They use a lot of different fabrics, but all are made from post-consumer waste. Their facility in Taiwan specializes in eco-friendly and high-quality textile, and their ethical cut-and-sew SA8000 certified factory is in Hanoi, Vietnam.


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Organic Basics

Materials | Tencel, Organic Cotton, Recycled Nylon

Price | $42-98

If you are looking to buy basics by the packs, this is an awesome brand to go to. Besides their comfortable underwear, Organic Basics is home to basic crew necks, socks and a really great activewear line made with Polygiene® Stay Fresh technology which helps keeps the laundry loads to a minimum. I have one of their sets from the Silvertech collection, and it is one of my favorites!!


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Pact

Material | Organic Cotton

Price | $25-45

I own a few pairs of their leggings and tanks which are great for working out. Especially if you don’t like ‘athletic’ wear, this organic cotton clothing is a wonderful alternative. It looks more like everyday loungewear, and is incredibly affordable. After owning one pair of their leggings for 6 years, I can tell you the quality is great wash after wash!

code: SustainablyChic20 for 20% off


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tentree

Material | Recycled Polyester

Price | $45-58

A sustainable brand who makes conscious clothing and plants trees. So far, Tentree has planted over 43 MILLION trees! Not only that, but they try to make their clothing as accessible as possible when it comes to pricing. Their goal in creating YouWear was to give you the most sustainable activewear out there without sacrificing stretchy comfort.


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Azura Bay

Materials | Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester, Hemp, Tencel

Price | $39-89

This place has everything you need for your undie, lounge & activewear drawers!

Azura Bay’s range of activewear includes awesome brands like Organic Basics and Groceries Apparel.

While you are there, make sure to grab some undies. They have a beautiful curated collection!


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Made Trade

Materials | Organic Cotton, Modal, Bamboo

Price | $38-110

Seriously one of the best sustainable fashion & home curated places online, Made Trade is home to several different athleisure brands!From joggers to soft tees, they have a lot to choose from for your workout routine. I’m personally loving this brand pictured here. Their name is Mary Young, and they have a lot of beautiful colors If you are looking for plus size, they have a couple options, as well!


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OM Matters

Do you remember the yoga practice cards I had on the blog last year? Well, OM Matters has created a FREE app where you can access those cards, as well as articles, inspirational quotes and journal lessons about the  8-limbed path. OM Matters also has a yoga clothing line where 10% of sales are given to support yoga for at-risk youth.

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This post is sponsored in part by Arms of Andes, Tenere, Inhala and Wolven & contains affiliate links. As always, views are genuine and brands are truly loved. Thanks for supporting the brands who are working to make this industry a fairer and cleaner place!

 

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Content Creator: Natalie Kay

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By 2030, we will face a global deficit of 40% of water in an identical climate scenario — or even worse — than the one we are facing now. This trend is due to a combination of three factors — population growth and demographic change, urbanisation and climate change. To put this into context, the world’s total population is estimated to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050. At the same time, water consumption is increasing by 2.5% per year faster than the world’s population growth.

Energy and sustainability in the water industry

The water sector consumes 4% of electricity worldwide. If you look at one of the biggest operating costs — electricity — the savings potential becomes significant. Reducing energy expenditure will achieve greater synergies.

Organisations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) or the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are demanding that companies demonstrate corporate water management and promote the responsible use of water resources.

When it comes to climate change, 25% more natural resources are currently being used than the Earth can yield at a sustainable rate. We need to create resilient and sustainable water supply for people and industries everywhere. The water sector has a double challenge in the face of climate change. On the one hand, the need to be more efficient by reducing energy consumption and prioritising the use of clean energies. On the other, encouraging a more efficient use of water both in the agricultural and urban sectors through public awareness campaigns or improved leakage management techniques.

The water industry’s role in biodiversity and livelihood

Water is required to support biodiversity. Without sufficient and good quality water, stresses on species greatly increases biodiversity losses. In turn, biodiversity is critical to the maintenance of both the quality and quantity of water supplies, and plays a vital — but often under-acknowledged — role in the water cycle. Ecosystems and their biodiversity should not be viewed as consumers of water, but as essential elements of natural infrastructure within water management. Without ecosystems, and the complex biological relationships and processes that they support, the quantity and quality of global water resources will become severely compromised. The current paradigm, in which water and biodiversity are managed separately, is obsolete.

Managing this scarce resource

Today, 1.4 billion people worldwide are without access to basic sanitation. Worldwide, 240 million people are without access to an improved water source. Through its Access to Energy program, Schneider Electric invests in water solutions that enable universal access by deploying adapted offers for emerging countries. As an example, the company installed a solution for two wells converting energy from fossil fuel (diesel) which supplies sufficient water for irrigation at the Water Desalination Plant in El-Heiz village, Egypt. The project’s main objective was to provide the inhabitants of El-Heiz community with two solar-powered wells to cultivate around 140 Feddans. This will help reduce the company’s carbon footprint (CO2 emission) by almost 38 tons annually.

With over 40,000 installations worldwide, Schneider Electric software can help water companies to intelligently manage water supply and sanitation operations in cities like London, Sydney, Shanghai, Las Vegas or Barcelona, to name a few. There are examples like:

  • WaterForce, a New Zealand-based leader in sustainable water solutions, wanted to address the growing demand for water with a sophisticated, but easy-to-use, cloud-based water management solution that leveraged the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to monitor and control geographically isolated assets. Deployment of SCADAfarm, an integrated automation and information management platform built on EcoStruxure and Microsoft Azure technologies, has led to increased visibility of irrigation system performance and status — for both farmers and WaterForce. With more control and visibility into operations, farmers reported up to 50% energy savings in the first season. Remote monitoring means farmers save significant time driving to inspect assets. Additionally, as a solution builder (OEM), WaterForce can now offer additional value-add services such as fault diagnosis and performance benchmarking.
  • Shoalhaven Water is a large regional utility on the New South Wales South Coast covering an area of approximately 5000 km2. Tied to the Shoalhaven City Council, the utility is responsible for the delivery of potable water with the majority from four large water treatment plants in both the north and the south, as well as numerous water reservoirs and dams, water pumping stations, valves and dosing systems. Overall, they treat and distribute approximately 45 million litres of potable water each day. By utilising Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture, Shoalhaven Water mapped out a clear plan to bring quick delivery of Schneider Electric telemetry hardware and SCADA software enhancements to remote sites. This deployment has resulted in improved proactive maintenance capabilities through streamlined reporting and overall reduction in maintenance fees.

Aligned with the United Nations (UN)

Schneider Electric is proud to contribute to the achievement of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially (SDG 6) for clean water and sanitation.

Access to water and sanitation are basic human rights and are critical sustainable development challenges. These challenges will only worsen and the impacts on people will only increase as competing demands for clean fresh water (agriculture, households, energy generation, industrial use, ecosystems) are exacerbated by the effects of climate change putting more pressure on water quality and availability.

Concretely, the company addresses this challenge by prioritising water efficiency across operations by installing best practice technologies for water conservation. Schneider Electric is helping its customers drive their efficiencies across the entire water cycle, better manage their assets, as well as reducing their capital and operational costs.

Clean drinking water will be more scarce and limited in the coming years. We must balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring the poorest people don’t get left behind. It is absolutely critical that we raise awareness to achieve both conservation and efficient consumption of our most precious resource now, before it is too late.

For more information, visit https://www.se.com/au/en/work/solutions/for-business/water/.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/tuastockphoto

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Invitation from Kevin Harrington, the original « shark » on the hit TV show « Shark Tank », Camomile’s Advisory Board Member

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image from  Veronika Guardi

image from Veronika Guardi

Do you have a special event or a wedding to attend to soon? A lot of formal evening dresses you find, today, are made from synthetics to give an appearance of silk or look more expensive than they actually are. They also use a lot of sequins and beadings made from plastic, which makes them even more difficult to decompose over time. Finding a sustainable and ethical formal gown is definitely harder to do, but there are a few handful of brands who are working to change this! You will be in a gorgeous party dress in no time!

You May Also Be Interested In:

10 Sustainable Shoe Brands to Last You Season after Season

7 Ethical & Sustainable Jewelry Brands for the Minimalist

10 Natural & Non-Toxic Makeup Brands for Soft, Clear & Healthy Skin

sustainable-formal-dresses

AGAATI

Price | $360-1500

AGAATI designs are thoughtfully produced with a zero waste philosophy. The makers are trained to reduce {& recycle/upcycle} waste while pattern making, cutting and sewing. They make it a point to have as little waste as possible, and with what they do have, they think of creative ways to reuse. AGAATI uses natural fibers & non-toxic dyes for all of their pieces. Biodegradable fibers like cotton, silk & wool are the most popular choices for the designs, & handwoven textiles are used for at least half of them. 


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La Femme Apero

Price | $125-395

Parisienne inspired NYC-based brand, La Femme Apéro is feminine, sophisticated, bold, and sensual.

They create exclusive pieces from silk and silk/cotton blends in small quantities. You know you won’t show up to an event wearing the same thing as anyone else!

They currently have two beautiful dress designs to choose from, and a range of blouses and skirts if you prefer to wear two pieces instead of a full dress.


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Transcend

Price | $130-695

Inspired by the colors and textures of India’s shopping bazaars, Transcend’s dresses and separates are handmade and embroidered by artisans out of eco-conscious fabrics like organic cotton and linen. Founder and Designer Nazia Siddiqui wanted to make high-quality embroidery and prints accessible to women through timeless silhouettes. These pieces are designed to last, with an incredible attention to detail—one dress can take up to 70 hours to make!


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Veronika Guardi

Price | $87-219

A UK-based brand, Veronika Guardi is combining luxury and sustainable fashion to flatter all figures. Their silhouettes are celebrating all female beauty, and are designed to empower the women who wear them. Each design is made from either sustainable, recycled or deadstock fabrics. Even their manufacturing is ethical, and is done in their own EU factory.

Their prices are also very accessible, so you won’t have to pay an arm and leg to dress ethically to your next event!


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Bohyne

Price | $500 - $2000

Boyne’s beautiful collection of elegant dresses, separates, bridal wear, and accessories are made to order exclusively from locally-crafted, plant-based, and deadstock fabrics. Each piece is handcrafted through their partnership with a Cambodian Fair Trade Certified co-op and is designed to be repurposed and reworn.

Plus, Bohyne will donate 25 kilos of rice for every item sold from their Deadstock Collection.


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Amour Vert

Price | $118-238

If you are looking for great little black dresses, Amour Vert is the place to start. They have some really sweet and sophisticated silk dresses, as well.

A classic favorite in sustainable fashion, Amour Vert makes 97% of their clothing right here in the US. This brand uses a lot of beautiful, sustainable fabrics like TENCEL, Organic Cotton, Certified Silk, Ethical Wool & Hemp. Even their packaging is eco-friendly & compostable!


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Eileen Fisher

Price | $158-458

This is a classic sustainable brand to refer to when shopping for new pieces.

Eileen Fisher is very inclusive on sizing - everything from petites to plus size.

Their range of dresses can work for outdoor ceremonies or you can easily dress up the georgette crepe designs with heels for indoor attire.

Everything is just so timeless, and they use the best in sustainable fabrics.


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Sezane

Price | $150-200

While not all of their dresses could pass for an evening gown or party dress, Sezane certainly has a few that would be perfect for special occasions - like this gold beauty!

“Sézane was born from a desire to offer all women high-quality, perfectly-cut pieces that can be worn forever. Born in Paris & crafted using the expertise of the best ateliers: we offer luxury quality at a fair & accessible price. Je ne sais quoi for all.”


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Made Trade

Price | $90-588

I actually have worn this dress to a wedding before, and plan to again this fall! It is from one of my favorite sustainable brands Left Edit.

Made Trade is home to hundreds of ethical and sustainable brands, and they have a great collection of special occasion dresses for all different sizes.

With Made Trade, you are able to easily shop your values since each product clearly indicates what you are supporting!


ethical-formal-cocktail-wedding-dresses

Stella McCartney

Price | $665-5,600

I drool over these dresses. Stella McCartney is definitely on the pricier side of things, but I would LOVE to wear one of their dresses one day.

While this is the more luxurious side of fashion, Stella McCartney is very serious about sustainability. They work hard to source some of the best fabrics for their collections, and they hold a high standard of ethics for manufacturing. This is something I wish we would see more of in luxury fashion!


ethical-formal-cocktail-wedding-dresses

Symbology

Price | $140-325

Another great ethical fashion place to check out for plus-sizes!

Symbology has a ton of beautiful dresses to choose from - and they even have wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses if you are in the hunt for those.

This sustainable brand is out to make fair trade sexy. They have merged artisanal fabric techniques with fashion forward designs that give you a one-of-a-kind item that connects women in a global community.


sustainable-evening-dresses

ThredUp

Second-Hand

Looking for a really great deal!?

Why not try second-hand?

ThredUP has thousands of choices, and you can even shop by occasion. They have dresses for formal, cocktail, wedding… you name it!

sustainable-formal-dresses

This post is sponsored in part by La Femme Apero, Transcend, Veronika Guardi, Bohyne, & AGAATI and contains affiliate links. As always, views are genuine and brands are aligned with our ethos. Thanks for supporting the brands who are working to make this industry a fairer and cleaner place!

 

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Content Creator: Natalie Kay

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brava-fabrics-sustainable-fashion

When I was first introduced to Brava Fabrics, I was immediately drawn to their unique, fun prints - and prices! Often with sustainable fashion, you tend to see a lot of the same thing, like minimalistic color palettes and boxy dresses. It’s refreshing to find brands who create a little outside that niche box and take risks with their designs. Not to say Brava isn’t timeless and classic because I can wear seersucker and stripes forever, but they do have a special little character to their aesthetic. In this post, I’m going to dive into more detail on why I find this brand worth knowing - and wearing! 

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Reasons I Love Brava Fabrics

Unique Designs that Don’t Follow Trends: Trends aren’t completely bad, but they create an overwhelming sense of needing to produce more & more. You don’t have to keep up constantly with the fashion world; however, I understand the fun of it all. When it comes to sustainable fashion brands, following trends kind of defeats the purpose; if one of your designs happens to be trending, that could be a great selling point, but to design solely based on what’s popular doesn’t end up being sustainable for anyone. I like that Brava marches to the beat of their own drum, and their designs end up coming off quite timeless. I don’t think you could become easily bored or tired by their prints and patterns. 

Ethical Production in Spain & Portugal: Not only are they creating slow fashion you can wear for many years, but Brava is also ethically producing everything close to home in Spain and Portugal. They believe in fairness and transparency throughout the entire supply chain, so they keep a close relationship with all of their tailors. It’s essential for them to offer fair working conditions, adequate working hours, safe working environments, and fair wages to every employee who touches their product. Especially in the current fashion climate, these offerings are imperative. 

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Eco-Minded Fabrics: The textile nerd in me is always excited to write about this part! I want to talk about their primary choice of fabric, ECOVERO™ Viscose. I've always had a love-hate relationship with viscose. It, unfortunately, has a bad rep because generic viscose isn't that sustainable. Viscose is a semi-synthetic made from wood pulp. It's known for being very soft and comfortable and is a very common fabric (bamboo is viscose, too!). However, most of the time, the pulp used for this type of fabric is not derived sustainably, and transparency lacks in the entire production model. Luckily, LENZING™ has come out with a new standard in eco-responsible viscose with their ECOVERO™ textile. The manufacturing of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact than generic viscose, and it's derived from certified renewable wood sources. So we can still enjoy all the benefits viscose has to offer but in a more sustainable form. You can read more about this textile here. They also use a classic favorite, Organic Cotton. 

Affordability: A big issue we have within the sustainable fashion movement is the lack of accessibility. While sustainable clothing will cost far greater than its fast-fashion counterparts, there still needs to be a price level easier for people to obtain. I find Brava’s price points to be that happy medium more people can enjoy and feel a part of the sustainable fashion industry. 

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What I’m Wearing

Leo T-Shirt: I’m a Leo, so naturally, I fell for this shirt. This playful tee is made from ECOVERO™ (like all of the pieces I’m about to highlight), and it’s a great fit. It comes out to be just above $50 and looks purrfect with the Seersucker Shorts. 

Seersucker Ocean Shorts: I’ve always been a big fan of seersucker. It’s a great look for the warmer months, and these shorts are unbelievably comfy with their elastic waist and organic cotton fabric. Plus, they have pockets! 

Earthy Stripes Top & Pants: Wear them together or separate; the Earthy Stripes have added some much-needed summer color into my wardrobe. I honestly feel like I’m wearing pajamas because this outfit is so easy and breathable on a hot Florida day. The pants have been quite versatile in my wardrobe. I’ve been dressing them up with clogged heels for dinners out and wearing sandals for a more casual look. 

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You can shop Brava Fabrics online - here - and make sure to follow them on Instagram for updates of new clothing launches! 

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eco-friendly-toys-for-kids

While shopping secondhand is one of the best ways to get sustainable toys for kids, there are a few brands that are super planet-friendly and making amazing toys for babies, toddlers & kids. Elliott has a bit of a mixture of hand-me-downs (some of my toys, even), pre-loved toys from my favorite kid thrift stores & new, eco-friendly toys. This post will highlight the conscious ‘new’ toys & show you where to get them! Of course, I always recommend shopping at local stores, too, if you have them. It’s wonderful to keep the small businesses thriving during this time!

you may also be interested in:

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Baby Gifts from Sustainable Brands

A List Of Affordable Sustainable Kid’s Clothing Brands

The Best Organic & Sustainable Baby Clothing Brands

eco-friendly-kid-toys

Micro Kickboard

Micro Kickboard is well-known for their kid scooters and fun helmets, but recently they released an ECO scooter made from recycled, discarded fishnets. Elliott absolutely loves this scooter, and we ride it around the neighborhood almost every day. The Mini Deluxe is $90 and is for 2-5-year-olds, and the Maxi Deluxe is $140 and is for ages 5-12. They both come with a gold standard 2-year manufacturer's warranty. Truly an awesome buy!


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Cuddle & Kind

1 Doll = 10 Meals

The owners of cuddle+kind wanted to create a sustainable stream of giving that wouldn’t rely on donations. Since September 2015, the sales of their adorable little dolls have helped provide over 13 million meals to children in need! Every cuddle+kind doll is handmade, stitch by stitch with a lot of love in Peru. They are hand-knit, hand-loomed, embroidered & crocheted by traditional artisans.


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eco-kids

A family-based business from Portland, Maine, eco-kids started with one product - an eco-dough Cammie’s (the owner) mother used to make when she was little. They ended up expanding on this product, and creating several different non-toxic arts and crafts supplies. The ingredients used are safe for children, and made from things like non-GMO flour, vitamin E and essential oils. They really are some of the best kid’s art supplies around!

use code Natalie10 for 10% off


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Green Toys

This is one of my favorite sustainable toy brands for kids! Every Green Toys design is made from 100% recycled plastic, primarily recycled from milk jugs. Everything is manufactured right here in the USA, and the milk jugs are collected, cleaned, and reprocessed into raw recycled plastic before being mixed with food-safe, mineral based color dyes. They have lots of different toys, but their bath time ones are definitely some of Elliott’s favorites!

use code Natalie10 for 10% off


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Legler

A family business based in Germany, Legler has been making eco-friendly toys since 1988. They are known for the great quality, and wide range of toys.

Something worth noting, they produce their own electricity on site with solar energy, and they’ve made their shipping process CO2-neutral.

We just see so many plastic toys, today, it’s nice to see such an amazing assortment of wooden toys to choose from.


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Le Toy Van

Another wonderful wooden toy brand, Le Toy Van is a small but big-hearted family company. They have been making wooden toys since 1995, and all are ethically-made with sustainable materials.

They use and replant a by-product of the rubber industry, Rubberwood, which they, along other woods, recycle into eco-friendly, high-quality toys. Many seem to LOVE Le Toy Van & they have won numerous awards.


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lovevery

One of the first toys I ever bought for Elliott was from this brand. I bought him their famous play gym, and he absolutely loved it. They have these amazing play kits you can have delivered to your door every two months as your child grows. Every piece of wood that comes with The Play Kits is sourced from FSC-compliant sustainable sources, and they use soft, natural 100% organic cotton. They also ship carbon neutral through projects that offset any carbon they emit while shipping.


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PlanToys

This lovely toy brand prides their business model around three pillars: Sustainable Materials, Sustainable Manufacturing, and Sustainable Mind. PlanToys use rubber trees and sawdust called “PlanWood” which is made from surplus sawdust and wood chips from production reformed using a thermal process. They finish off their products with a chemical-free kiln-drying process to make sure they last for years.

use code Natalie10 for 10% off


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Tegu

Elliott has so much fun with these magnetic toys!

The blocks are all specially designed to work together, and it’s amazing what you can build with them.

Tegu toys are known to help support childhood development from fine motor skills to story telling.

They make toys for babies to kids over 8, and Elliott has appreciated them from the very beginning.

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photo from  LowTides

photo from LowTides

I think some of the most interesting sustainable products are the ones made from other people's trash. Many brands are taking waste and recycling it into new products for us to love again. From recycled metals to recycled fibers, it's truly amazing what you can do to prolong an object's life. I love knowing the history behind what I wear and use every day, and with these products, you usually don't know what the first product was until someone tells you - 'oh yeah, that was made out of old t-shirts OR that was made out of plastic bottles.' That's how advanced we are when it comes to recycling. These really aren't your average home recycling projects ;)

You May also be interested in:

10 Sustainable & Ethical One-Stop Shops to Visit Before Amazon

7 Plastic-Free Ways to Store Food

9 Eco Products Helping You Go Zero-Waste

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Allégorie

Materials: Recycled Apple & Mango Peels

More than 30% of mangos are wasted during harvesting and transportation, and another 7% are wasted in supermarkets. Allégorie has collected discarded mangos from supermarkets. They’ve also collected apple peels from the juice industry since 1.4 million tons of apple peel waste is generated by the juice industry each year! They take both fruits and create textiles through eco-friendly processes.


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Dr. Scholl’s Shoes

Materials: Recycled Plastic Bottles

I am so excited to be partnering up with Dr.Scholl’s this spring to show you all the new sustainable initiatives they have been implementing over the last couple of years. They have started using plastic bottles to create their range of shoes for men, women & children. I’ll be sure to link my brand feature with them to this post soon!

code: SUSTAINABLYCHIC30FS for 30% off and free shipping


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EarthHero

Materials: Recycled Plastic, Rubber, Paper, Etc…

This eco-friendly online marketplace is home to hundreds of brands, and many of which are using recycled materials to create new products.

I did a post on Eco-Friendly Office Supplies a few months back showcasing just some of the many amazing products they offer for your home workspace. So many cool recycled goods!

*use code Natalie10 for 10% off


recycled-Pillow-sustainable

ecovibe

Materials: Recycled Cotton, Metals, Water Bottles

Another online marketplace with tons of wonderful eco-friendly brands to look through! I’ve linked their section of products with recycled materials, and you can find things for your home and your closet. “We take time and care to consider where and how things are made, who makes them and what they are made out of. We support local designers, women, minority and family owned businesses and small makers and manufacturers.”


recycled-backpacks

Lo & Sons

Materials: Recycled Plastic Bottles

I own one of their organic cotton duffles, and their quality is great. In addition to Lo & Sons’ organic cotton collection, they also have several pieces made from recycled polyester. From backpacks to large weekend duffles, you can find many of their designs using this recycled fabric. Recycled polyesters are great for traveling because they are easy to clean off and you don’t have the guilt of using virgin plastics.


recycled-plastic-beach-chair

LowTides

Materials: Recycled Ocean Plastic

With a truckload of plastic being dumped into our oceans everyday (yeah, it’s terrible), there has to be something positive to come from all the waste. Low Tides uses this ocean plastic to create their collection of chairs, and the prints are so fun! These chairs are very easy to carry with their two back straps. They also have 2 cup holders so you can enjoy some refreshing drinks while watchin’ the waves.


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Itemerie

Materials: Recycled Copper, Fabric, Glass, Plastic, Rubber,

A beautifully curated online marketplace, Itemerie is selling quality items you can expect to last for years. All of their items are lovingly crafted by skilled artisans, & made from responsible materials. What I think is so cool about this store are their little symbols next to each product indicating its values, which makes shopping so much easier! You can easily see which products are made from recycled materials or you can visit this page for them all!


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made trade

Materials: Recycled Plastic, Rubber, Yarn

I’m sure you have seen this shop on my site a few times already! Made Trade is home to several of my favorite sustainable brands - many of which use recycled materials to create their products.

I’ve attached a link that has all of Made Trade’s goods which are composed of post-consumer waste, and there are A LOT of them!! From clothes to your closet to dining in your kitchen, it’s amazing how many products are created from waste.


recycled-toys

MICRO KICKBOARD

Materials: Recycled Fishnets

Micro Kickboard is well-known for their kid scooters and fun helmets, but recently they released an ECO scooter made from recycled, discarded fishnets. Elliott absolutely loves this scooter, and we ride it around the neighborhood almost every day. The Mini Deluxe is $90 and is for 2-5-year-olds, and the Maxi Deluxe is $140 and is for ages 5-12. They both come with a gold standard 2-year manufacturer's warranty. Truly an awesome buy!


sustainable-recycled-leggings-activewear

Organic Basics

Materials: Recycled Nylon & Salt

This is an awesome brand for the basic pieces in your wardrobe. Organic Basics has a line using recycled materials called SilverTech™. This activewear is treated with a safe, permanent, bluesign® approved recycled silver salt called Polygiene® - which stops the growth of odor causing bacteria on the fabric. I own these leggings and the matching bra, and it’s one of my favorites to work out in!


recycled-suitcases

PARAVEL

Materials: Recycled Bottles

Paravel is a sustainable travel brand dedicated to exploring the world while minimizing our impact on it. They make one of the most sustainable carry-ons with a durable recycled polycarbonate exterior; recycled zippers, a lining made from 15 upcycled plastic water bottles; vegan leather details and wrapped steel handles; and an aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle. I own one, and I have to say, it really is a nice piece of luggage!


recycled-zero-waste-dress

tonlé

Materials: Upcycled Fabrics

If you aren't familiar with the zero-waste strategies within the fashion industry, there are two popular ones {1} where all the materials are used within a pattern {2} where garments are made from existing materials. tonlé believes in combining the two in order to honor their commitment to sustainability to the fullest.

Even their smallest scraps are made into recycled office paper and sticky rice for their hang tags!


recycled-handbags

Up-Fuse

Materials: Plastic Bags

It’s amazing the color and textures you can create with old plastic bags.

Up-fuse is saving almost 30 plastic bags from sitting in a landfill with each product produced.

Plus, each bag is sustainably-produced in their in-house workshop by their talented local sewers. I love that while they are making a conscious product, they are raising awareness for one of our biggest threats - plastic pollution.


recycled-swimwear-fashion

Wolven

Materials: Recycled PET

If you are looking for unique prints, this is your stop! Wolven has some of the coolest patterns known to swimwear and athletic wear. They are probably most famous for their leggings, and each pair uses 27 recycled post–consumer bottles to create the yarn. Wolven is also carbon neutral, and they donate 1% to the planet. Make sure to check out their new arrivals- the midi bike shorts are amazing!

photo from Mother Erth on  Made Trade

photo from Mother Erth on Made Trade

 

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image from  Anaskela

image from Anaskela

It’s about that time when we start thinking about sunny beach trips and packing our bags for some much needed ocean time. While I’ve always been one to just grab a towel out of our bathroom, it is nice to have a designated beach towel you can lay out comfortably on. This list has brands who are committed to better materials and ethical production - and make super cute beach towels that dry quickly and pack easy!

you may also be interested in:

8 Sustainable Beach Essentials For Eco-Friendly Fun Under the Sun

16 Sustainable Swimwear Brands to Hit the Water In this Summer

The Best Natural & Non-Toxic Sunscreens For the Entire Family

sustainable-beach-towel

Anaskela

Price | $58-64

Material | Recycled Plastic Bottles

These beautifully colored beach travel towels are super light weight, incredibly thin and compact helping you leave plenty of room in your vacation luggage! What’s really cool, the microfibre fabric is super absorbent, quick-drying and sand shakes right off. You don’t have to worry about bringing the beach back to your suitcase. Anaskela also sells beach blankets if you are looking for more space to lay out on.


sustainable-beach-towels

quiquattro

Price | $30-100

Material | Cotton

I love these beautiful Turkish towels! We still use our QuiQuattro towels - and my beach cover up - when we go spend some time in the sand. This wonderful brand partners up with Turkish artisans and women who are in need of work, but unable to leave their home. With each purchase, 10% of proceeds are donated to women’s education in Turkey.


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Affina

Price | $59.95

Material | Organic Cotton

Inspired by our coral reefs, Affina's Seaweaves™ beach towel collection is woven from natural brain coral and sea fan patterns. These colorful towels are made from 100% organic cotton using low-impact, fiber reactive dyes. Luxuriously oversized, the pattern is sculpted on the front in a soft terry velour with a solid terry back. They are tested and certified free from harmful substances by the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, and are GOTS certified.


organic-beach-towel

Coyuchi

Price | $68

Material | Organic Cotton

Another choice for a Turkish towel, Coyuchi’s flatweave Mediterranean set features a beach towel size in five different colors. They are woven from yarn dyed organic cotton, and come with the signature hand-knotted fringe. The cotton is grown and woven in the Aegean region of Turkey, and it is GOTS (a great certification) + Made Safe Certified.


eco-friendly-beach-towel

Hilana

Price | $40-55

Material | Upcycled Cotton

This is a cool towel because it uses 50% of its threads with regenerated cotton making it a more low-waste product. They are traditional flat-woven Turkish peshtemal, and crafted by artisans in Turkey. Hilana is a B Corp Certified company that creates sustainably made towels, throws, shawls, table cloths, and bathrobes that are detailed, soft and absorbent.


sustainable-beach-towel

Minna

Price | $98

Material | Cotton

I’ve always thought this brand made such beautiful textiles! MINNA uses traditional craft techniques to produce ethical goods with a contemporary aesthetic. Their new colorful beach towels are handwoven in partnership with weavers in Nahualá, Guatemala - and the cotton used in their products are colored with natural dyes or toxin-free synthetic dyes!


eco-friendly-towels

Sand Cloud

Price | $48-70

Material | Cotton

If you are looking for some extra-large beach towels, this is your place! Sand Cloud creates sand-resistant towels that dry 3xs faster than a conventional cotton beach towel. They have lots of fun prints and colors, too. When you purchase one of their towels, you help to preserve our marine life with 10% of their profits going towards marine conservation.


organic-beach-towels

West Elm

Price | $30-40

Material | Organic Cotton

I am loving the Pool Scene beach towel pictured here. Too cute! West Elm always has something fun to add to these lists, and their prices can (sometimes) be a bit more accessible. Their organic cotton is GOTS certified, and they have Turkish style towels as well as Terry depending on your preference. While I love supporting smaller brands more, this is still a good option.

sustainable-beach-towels

This post is sponsored in part by Anaskela & QuiQuattro and contains affiliate links. As always, views are genuine and brands are truly loved. Thanks for supporting the brands who are working to make this industry a fairer and cleaner place!

 

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organictowels

Are you in need of some new bath towels? We suggest looking into organic cotton (or hemp even) for your next bath set! Why organic cotton? Compared to conventional cottons, it uses less water, doesn’t require harmful chemicals to produce and has an overall lower carbon footprint. When you get out the shower, why not use the healthiest fabric on your clean body? Luckily, we have many sustainable brands making affordable to more luxurious bathroom accessories.

you may also be interested in:

8 Sustainable Beach Towels for Eco-Friendly Fun Under the Sun

7 Sustainable Robes for the Eco-Friendly Bathroom

7 Organic Bath Mats for the Sustainable Bathroom

organicbathtowel

Under the Canopy

This brand has a strong commitment to a cleaner planet and home goods industry. They adhere to 6 kinds of certifications {FAIR TRADE, GOTS, OEKO-TEX, C2C, RCS & FSC}, and sustainability is at the forefront of their business model. All products are made ethically with eco-minded materials. They want everyone included in conscious consumerism. Therefore, their products are affordable, accessible & {of course} attractive.


affina organic towels.jpg

Affina

All of Affina’s colors, patterns, and textures are inspired by nature.

Woven by some of the finest towel weavers in Portugal, these luxurious and eco-friendly bath towels are made out of 100% organic cotton. They are tested and certified free from more than 300 harmful substances by the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, and are GOTS certified. They also carry bath mitts, soap dishes, bedding, and beach towels, too!


organic-sustainable-towels

Coyuchi

From plush to Mediterranean style, Coyuchi is making towels to suit everyone. I really love how Coyuchi shows your impact when purchasing one of their products. For example, The Cloud Loom Organic Towels are save 1,190 days of drinking water, 5 miles of driving emissions avoided, and 114 sq ft of land farmed without pesticides. Coyuchi is probably one of the best brands to go to when shopping for linens for the home. If you get some towels, pick up a robe and bath mat, too!


organiccottonbathtowels

DELILAH HOME GOODS

These soft towels are European-crafted and made of 100% organic cotton. They are created with long-staple, 100% organic Turkish cotton, Global Organic Textile Standard Certified,  spun into fine yarns and loomed into long, two ply, double loops making the most of the fiber’s extraordinary length. The extra-long loops make the towels highly absorbent and soft, and up to 50% thicker than most other towels. Talk about cozy and warm!


organicbathtowel

Grund America

From washcloths to bath mats, these organic essentials are GOTS and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified. I’ve been using their 3 Piece Organic Cotton Towel Set in Sage, and love how soft & absorbent they are. I’m going to be snagging one of their bath mats in the future!

Grund America’s mission is to ‘bring about conscious consumption for all through the use of high-quality organic linens that can be trusted to perform for years to come.’


organicbathtowels

Sunrise Bliss

You know a product is a keeper when you aren’t in your own home and miss it. That’s how I am with these towels. I have one at my grandparents where I frequent often because I can’t wash my hair and not have one on hand. I LOVE these towels, and even carry one in my car & handbag for those ‘just in case’ days. Each towel is made from GOTS Certified Organic Cotton with low impact dyes, and washes very well.


coyuchi-mediterranean-bath-organic-6pc-towel-set-coyuchi-undyed-w-slate-stripe-607331_1500x.jpg

made trade

One of my favorite online stores for home goods has several different sustainable bath towels from you to choose from.

Made Trade carries brands like Coyuchi, Minna and Anatoli. Plus, they make sure each product covers one {or more} of these values - Sustainable, Fair Trade, Heritage, USA Made & Vegan. Each value has a little symbol that is placed right next to the product so you know exactly what category it falls under.


organicbathtowel

SOL Organics

SOL Organics live up to these four features: sustainable, organic, fair & transparent.

I love my SOL bed sheets so I’m sure their GOTS certified towels are just as wonderful! Like their name, they look quite plush and cozy. Their longer cotton fibers means stronger, finer & smoother yarn. The long staple fibers spun into single-ply yarn makes for light, long-lasting towels. Along with their organic cotton, they also use low-impact dyes!


sustainable-bath-towels

Boll & Branch

Their towels look like plush luxury, and are all made from 100% organic cotton.

Boll & Branch uses a 2-ply organic cotton yarn and high pile height to give their towels a substantial feel. They are able to fluff up the yarns through a special, chemical-free tumbling process. You can always try their products out during a 30-day trial period, but based on reviews, I think you’re gonna like them. They have bath robes, too, if you want to add that on.


sustainable-organic-towel

Anact

A towel made from hemp and organic cotton! A fiber I’ve been rather excited to see have a comeback is hemp. The hemp fiber has so many benefits, it’s silly we haven’t been able to grow it for years, and unfortunately, at this point, there are still a few obstacles to combat such as access to quality fiber seed, processing equipment and market size before it becomes widely used. This brand is based in my town Jacksonville, FL and they make a wonderful towel set!!

organic-sustainable-towels
 

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No matter how much care we take curating our wardrobes, there inevitably comes a time in the lifecycle of any piece of clothing when it no longer fits us, we simply don’t want it anymore, or it has been so worn and well-loved over the years that it has started to fall apart.

The question for any conscious consumer then becomes: what happens to our old clothes when we recycle them, and what are the most sustainable options for our old and unwanted clothes? 

Our Clothing Waste Problem

In her book A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying For Life, Tara Button shares that the average woman in 1930 owned nine outfits, whereas we now buy an average of 67 items of clothing every year. Research shows that the average modern American discards 81 pounds of clothing a year, and the Environmental Protection Agency reported that US landfills received 11.3 million tons of unwanted textiles (predominantly unwanted clothing) in 2018. 

Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to clothing waste: the large majority of our unwanted clothing is shipped abroad either to used clothing markets or overflowing landfill sites abroad—out of sight, out of mind, for us at least. If we had to keep our own clothing waste, our domestic landfills would be well past crisis point by now.

Fast fashion prioritizes speed and low prices, which means that the quality of our clothing has deteriorated, as well as increasing the amount of clothing that is produced and consumed. As a result, clothing tends to break more easily, and repairing clothing is often perceived to be more effort or expensive than simply buying new; inevitably, more clothing is also thrown away. Synthetic fibers, which release toxic chemicals into the water system when we wash them, as well as into the environment when they’re discarded, can be difficult to recycle, even if we try to avoid sending them directly to landfill.

It’s not all bad news, though: in recent years, we’ve also seen a resurgence in the popularity of second-hand clothing, mending clothing, and the use of recycled (and recyclable) fabrics. Many ethical fashion brands have been evolving to think about not just the ethics of where their clothing comes from, but also where it will end up, striving to close the loop and embrace a circular design model.

It’s important for every conscious consumer to understand what happens to our recycled clothes so that we can make the most sustainable choice with each item of clothing we’re ready to discard. Before we talk about recycling clothing, it’s helpful to think about what happens to donated clothes, as a large proportion of donated clothes end up heading to recycling plants, too. 

What Happens to Donated Clothes? 

The first step for any charity or organization accepting donations is to sort the clothing into wearable or unwearable categories. The wearable donations are classified as “first grade”, and will generally go on to be sold in second-hand clothing shops or even in second-hand clothing markets abroad. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of transparency in the industry, but estimates of how much donated clothing falls in the first grade (i.e. resellable) category range from around 10-50 percent. Adam Baruchowitz, founder of Wearable Collections, a New York-based non-profit that collects used clothing in the city, says that “For any bag you collect, 50 percent is going to be wearable and 50 percent is going to be used for other purposes.” Meanwhile, Lucy Siegle reported that around 10 percent of the approximately 300,000 tons of donated garments in the UK each year was re-sold in domestic shops in aid of charity. 

Other clothing will be exported and sold in second hand-clothing markets; in fact, research shows that a third of all globally donated clothes are re-sold in Sub-Saharan Africa. While there’s certainly a high demand for Western clothing, the huge influx of used clothing from countries like the USA and the UK is a mixed blessing for locals: Dr. Andrew Brooks, author of Clothing Poverty, shares that between 1975 and 2000, Ghana’s textile and clothing employment fell by 80 percent, while Nigeria’s 200,000-person textile industry has been greatly reduced, too. Kenya’s local textiles industry has been so disabled by the influx of clothing from overseas that their government fought a proposal to ban imported textiles, saying that they wouldn’t be able to clothe their population without second-hand clothing. 

Where clothing lacks any resale value, this lower grade but still usable fabric will be sent to recycling facilities to be turned into new fibers or used for car seat filling and wiping rags for industrial machines. Some will also inevitably end up in landfills, either domestic or (more likely) abroad. 

Ultimately, when we donate our clothes, we hope that our closest purge is also positively impacting someone else’s life. However, we need to be careful that any clothing we donate is of good quality and in good repair because charities need quality, not quantity. People sorting through donated clothing report regularly finding bags of dirty, unwashed clothing—even dirty underwear, which can’t be salvaged easily and so inevitably go straight to landfill. Furthermore, one bag of clothes with mildew can contaminate any other clothing they come into contact with; by donating dirty clothing, not only are you just creating extra unprofitable work for a charity, you’re also potentially making other perfectly good donated clothing unusable, too. 

The first and most basic principle of donating used clothing is ensuring everything is clean, in good repair, and generally of  sellable quality. If you have items that meet this description, there are plenty of local options where you can donate your good quality clothing, from community clothing banks to organizations like Goodwill. 

Meanwhile, there are several different options for any clothing that’s no longer of a sellable quality; first, we’ll explore the pros and cons of recycling and look into how to recycle sustainably

What Happens to Recycled Clothes? 

Clothing that is sent to a recycling facility will be sorted by hand for the type of textiles, and then will be shredded, ground, and treated, going through a different process depending on what new life it is destined to have. Some might be turned into recycled fabric and make it back into your wardrobe in the form of a brand new garment. Other lower grade fabric will be used in less glamorous, though still useful, ways, such as insulation, padding, or industrial textiles.

Given that it takes synthetic materials hundreds of years to biodegrade (a minimum of 200 years for a polyester dress), it’s clearly important to keep fabric from heading to landfill. And, another benefit of the recycling industry is that it provides jobs that require skill and can’t be replaced easily by machines, which struggle to identify fabric without the ability to feel it. 

However, recycling is not a straightforward win because many synthetic fabrics are difficult to recycle in an environmentally friendly way. Serge Lazarev, founder of Green Tree Textile Recycling in New York City, says that materials like Spandex and Lycra are problematic: “When elastic and rubber mixed in with the textile material, we don’t have a way to separate it.”

If you decide to send your clothing to a local recycling plant rather than reusing it in your own home, there are a couple of best practices to bear in mind. Firstly, check out the info provided by your local municipality to find out what options they offer, and make sure you pay attention to the information they share about what to send and how to prepare and sort it. 

Avoid buying new synthetic fabrics wherever possible, but if you do have a synthetic item to recycle, try to find a specific recycling program for synthetic fabrics to make sure they have the expertise to do it properly; one way to do this is to get in touch with circular fashion brands who use recycled fabric and ask them for advice about which companies they use to source their upcycled fabrics so that you can donate your clothing directly. Supporting brands that use recycled and sustainable materials is a great way to vote with your wallet and support the recycled fabric industry; Patagonia, Thought, and many other ethical fashion brands use things like recycled polyester and plastic bottles in their fabrics.

Some brands run specific recycling programs themselves; Madewell accepts old jeans to use as insulation in houses built in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity (and they’ll give you a discount on your next pair of Madewell jeans in exchange).  

What Can We Do Instead of Recycling and Donating Old Clothes?

So, if we should only donate high-quality clothing, and if recycling should only be done with care or as a last resort, what are our other options for old or unwanted clothes?

Ania Grzeszek is a textile artist and a big advocate of visible mending. As she explains, “recycling or donating [clothing] is simply shifting the responsibility to someone else, but is not the most sustainable solution. The easiest way to reduce the ecological impact of our clothing is to simply wear it longer (and also wash it less!). By extending the life of the garment, you literally help save the planet and opt-out from the fast-fashion cycle.” Ania encourages people to embrace their creativity and to normalize mending clothing. “This is one of the biggest shifts I noticed in the past years,” she says, “from patches and mends being frowned upon, to fixed clothes being now a way to express your views, and also personal style… You don't have to be good at it from the start, just experiment with it and see where your creativity takes you.”

Photo credit:    Kaliko

Photo credit: Kaliko

Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro also celebrates the rise of the mending trend, but her new book Loved Clothes Last also explores the need for a diverse range of options for all budgets when it comes to ethical fashion. She points out that mending clothing and wearing hand-me-downs or second-hand clothing used to be a sign of low income and low social status, and that as this becomes more socially acceptable, even celebrated, we must avoid making fast fashion simply the latest way we stigmatize the less affluent. 

The fact that more people are embracing used clothing, and that the stigma of keeping and mending and passing down clothes is fading, is all great news—as long as it doesn’t mean that the re-sale price of secondhand clothing rises, pricing out people who used to rely on used clothing stores to dress themselves and their families.

Use the guidance below to help you decide on the best way to recycle or upcycle your clothing; you and your wardrobe are unique, and so the answer will look a little different for everyone.  

How to Recycle or Upcycle Clothing That’s Still In Good Condition

  1. Clothing swaps: Host a clothes swapping party with your friends (covid-permitting, of course), or share photos of items you think might suit a friend or family member, telling them you thought of them and wondered if they’d like the item you’re ready to part with. Many brands like tonlé host clothes swaps on their own platforms now, too.

  2. Re-selling: Why not earn some money from the clothing and accessories you no longer want, and ensure they go directly to a good home rather than to landfill? There are so many different re-selling apps to choose from; you’re spoilt for choice.

  3. Investing in clothes from circular fashion brands: Supporting brands like that use recycled materials, or better yet, use recycled materials and also give their customers the ability to send their clothing directly back to be recycled by the company, is a powerful way to ensure the future is circular and waste-free.

  4. Donating good quality items: Donating good quality clothing to clothing banks or charitable organizations is a good option too, as long as you make sure you’re not just using them as dumping grounds. A good rule of thumb is to do a gut check and if you don’t think you’d be able to sell a piece on a re-selling app, it might not be re-sellable for a charity, either.

How to Recycle or Upcycle Clothing That’s Damaged or Worn

  1. Teach yourself some basic mending skills: Whether you go for invisible or visible mending, there’s a lot to be gained from taking the time to sew on buttons, darn holes, and patch fraying places in your clothing. You can keep things simple or get creative and experimental—it’s totally up to you and what works for your style.  

  2. Outsource your mending: Not handy with a needle and thread, or short on time? There are plenty of professionals out there who can help you if you don’t have the time or inclination to learn yourself. The repair economy is a growing sector, and it’s great to encourage this if you can.

  3. Upcycle your old clothes at home: If you’re a crafty type (or know someone who is), there are plenty of fun ways you can re-use old fabric in your home. We’ve shared a few ideas to get you started below, but really the options are limitless.

  4. Recycle responsibly: If all else fails, recycling should be our last resort, instead of just throwing fabric in the trash. Just make sure you’ve taken the time to look into the best local recycling options for the type of fabric you’d like to recycle. 

8 Inspiring Upcycled Fabric Projects For Your Home

Once you’re ready to embrace a little in-house recycling, it’s a great idea to invest in your very own rag basket where you can keep any discarded clothing that’s beyond repair and can now be used for household cleaning and craft projects. It can help to have a sewing machine, but you can do a lot with a simple needle and thread.

  1. Patching: Sometimes, using a contrasting fabric to patch a piece of fraying clothing can be a fun style statement. If your style is more minimalist, you can always try this on kids’ clothing first, as their clothing is usually more colorful, and it might feel like the stakes are a little lower, too.

  2. Alternative window dressings or framed art: I was really inspired by the creativity of my neighbor when I saw that she’d created lace stained-glass-style window panels with old pieces of lace she’d saved over the years; they make a beautiful alternative to privacy blinds or lace curtains. Even if you don’t have the skills or inclination to try something like this yourself, you could consider commissioning something similar from a local artist.

Image credit:  Sophie Caldecott

Image credit: Sophie Caldecott

Quilts: Quilting may be a rather complex art, but it’s also a lovely way to reuse old clothes with sentimental value. If you’re a beginner to quilt-making, keep things simple with simple squares of fabric, and go from there.

  1. Rag rugs: Rag rugs, also called Toothbrush or Amish style rugs, are a classic way to recycle old clothes at home. It may look intimidating at first, but with the help of this handy video tutorial from Barri-Jayne Makes, you’ll soon be hooked.

1.Cushion covers: Atia Azmi of The Bright Blooms makes a lot of her own clothing from scratch, but points out that you don’t have to be as ambitious as she is to create something new for your home from old or unwanted clothes. Save sweaters you accidentally shrank in the wash (we all do it) and turn them into cushion covers, cardigans, or mittens.

2. Wrapped clothes hangers: Take inspiration from Kristen, founder of Upcycle My Stuff, and give your ugly plastic clothes hangers a pretty makeover by wrapping strips of fabric tightly around them, securing them with glue—no sewing needed.

Image credit:  Upcycle My Stuff

Image credit: Upcycle My Stuff

3. Hair scrunchies: While scrunchies are back in style, why not use some old fabric scraps to make yourself or your kids a brand new hair accessory? All you need is a small amount of attractive fabric and some elastic for one of the simplest sewing projects out there.

4. Bunting: Fabric bunting is one of the easiest craft projects to try with old fabric, and if you like the results, you can keep it after every celebration and re-use it again and again. This tassel bunting from Upcycle My Stuff is no-sew, so you won’t even have to get a needle and thread out.

Image credit:  Upcycle My Stuff

Image credit: Upcycle My Stuff

As crafter Barrina Mills of Barri-Jayne Makes says, “Using your old textiles to create something brand new is such a beautiful thing to do. You can start small and go as big as you like. You might even amaze yourself with what you can create. Then when someone admires your work, you can say with pride, ‘I made that!’.” 

Whether you’re a crafty type or more into swapping, re-selling, or recycling with intention, there’s a sustainable option for your old and unwanted clothing out there for you. Let’s strive for a future in which we consume less new clothing and virgin textiles, make what we already have in our wardrobes last longer, and ultimately make sure any unwanted clothing doesn’t end up in a landfill. 


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About the Author

Sophie Caldecott is a freelance writer living in a cottage on the edge of the moor in the South-West of England. She writes about grief, empathy, ethical fashion, and the things that connect us and make us human. You’ll most likely find her cozied up by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book.

 

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fashion industry pollution

We’ve all heard that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries, but there are so many elements within the fashion industry that make it unsustainable; it can be difficult to comprehend all the ways that fashion damages the environment. If we can understand how the fashion industry pollutes the planet, we can start to make more informed decisions when we shop to avoid causing more harm. Fast fashion is particularly damaging to the environment, often being produced very rapidly and in vast quantities. 

Fast fashion produces high volumes of low-quality clothes, with garments losing their shape or fading in color after a few washes. This has resulted in the average time a piece of clothing is worn drastically reduced over the last 15 years. For example, in the United States, clothes are only worn for around a quarter of the global average, as reported by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation based on the data of Euromonitor International. 

Trends also play a huge role in the destructive cycle of fast fashion. As brands need to quickly turn out thousands of new items every month, they look to celebrities, social media and pop culture for inspiration, creating new ‘trends’ that they push to their consumers. Shoppers, especially younger women, feel they have to keep up with the trends and continually buy new clothes to achieve their desired aesthetic, often mainly for social media. 

The rate at which clothes are being produced today has resulted in many types of pollution, causing damage to the land, water, air and the people and animals that share this planet. We’ll break down some of the worst ways that fashion contributes to pollution, and its effect on the environment. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, and most of the world’s clothes are produced in China, Bangladesh, or India, countries largely powered by coal. This is the most polluting type of energy in terms of carbon emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions occur during the production, manufacturing and transportation stages of the fashion supply chain, but one could argue they are produced elsewhere too. The fashion brand headquarters produce gas emissions, as do the retail stores and even during the product use, e.g., washing your clothes. In the US, doing the laundry in each household in the country is estimated to release an average of 240kg of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

Greenhouse gases have a variety of environmental and health effects. They’re causing climate change by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to more extreme weather around the world, disruptions to our food supply chain, and increased wildfires. Greenhouse gases also contribute to respiratory disease from smog and air pollution.

fashion industry waste

Water

Creating clothing is an incredibly water-intensive process, and the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet. Large volumes of water are needed at nearly every stage of the process, from textile production to dyeing fabrics. To produce one pair of jeans requires around 10,000 liters of water, according to the United Nations. Leather production is one of the biggest contributors to water pollution in the fashion industry, with 22,000 liters of untreated liquid toxic waste being dumped daily into waterways by tanneries in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Water contamination can happen at various stages, too, from the use of fertilizers in cotton production, which heavily pollutes runoff waters and evaporation waters, to the chemicals used in textiles factories, including lead, mercury, and arsenic. When this wastewater enters the local waterways surrounding the factories, it is extremely harmful to the aquatic life and the health of the people living in close proximity to the water.

Chemicals 

Sadly, chemicals play a big role in the fashion industry. To produce clothing, chemicals are used during fiber production, dyeing, bleaching, and wet processing. Material production, in particular, causes a large percentage of the chemicals used in fashion; for example, non-organic cotton production uses 11% of the world’s pesticides and 24% of all insecticides. Animal leather is another material that heavily relies on chemicals, with 80% of the world’s leather production using chromium. This toxic chemical compound can cause a range of effects on the humans who come in contact with it, including kidney or liver damage, long-term cancer and reproductive problems

The chemicals used throughout the garment-making process are polluting our waterways, causing soil degradation, and poisoning animals on land and sea. Humans are also affected by the chemicals from the fashion industry, from the workers who handle the raw materials to the consumers themselves. Research has shown that our body’s largest organ, our skin, can absorb chemicals from the clothes we wear, leading to effects such as skin irritation, developmental issues, and even cancer. 

fashion pollution

Plastic

While many of us are trying to cut down on the amount of plastics we buy when we’re shopping for groceries, it’s harder to detect the plastics that are in our clothes. Many of the fabrics used to produce clothing contain plastics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide, made using a process called polymerisation. Melted down, plastic chips are spun into a strong, light, fast-drying plastic yarn and then turned into fabric. Up to 64% of new fabrics made are currently made from plastic. As plastics are derived from crude oil, coal and gas, buying clothes with plastics continues the demand for fossil fuels. 

Plastic clothing also causes microfibres (tiny plastic particles) to release during washing, with studies claiming as many as 700,000 microplastic fibres can be released in a single clothes wash. Microplastics then enter rivers and oceans, causing harm to marine life and can even be transferred to humans, with researchers finding microplastics in human organs

Waste 

With fast fashion causing clothing to be seen more as consumable goods rather than an investment, we’ve seen clothing become increasingly disposable, leading to vast amounts of textile waste. On average, each American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone. 

Of the discarded clothes, only 15% is recycled or donated; the rest goes to landfill or is incinerated. Clothes with synthetic fibers can take hundreds of years to decompose, and during the decomposition process, textiles release methane gas and leak toxic chemicals and dyes into the groundwater and our soil.

Knowing the different types of pollution is an important step to understanding what true sustainability means within the fashion industry, but what can we do to reduce the impact our clothes have on the environment?

Here are a few tips to avoid the most polluting materials and reduce your wardrobe’s environmental footprint:

  • Check labels before you buy – what is the item made of?

  • Avoid fabrics like non-organic cotton, conventional leather and synthetics like polyester and nylon

  • Opt for organic and natural fibers that do not require toxic chemicals to be produced

  • Look out for third-party Certification Labels or other indications that a brand has taken steps to reduce their environmental impact

  • Wash your clothes less often and only at 30 degrees

  • Use a Guppyfriend bag to catch microfibres from your synthetic clothes

  • And, as always, buy less, choose well and make it last


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About the Author

Sarah is a freelance writer with a focus on vegan fashion, sustainability and ethically made clothes. She campaigns for change in the fashion industry through her blog and on her Instagram page.


 

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Content Creator: Sarah King

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