By MJ Deschamps
With fast fashion and quick turnover key commercial ingredients of today’s garment and apparel industry, excess textile production is prompting the sector to gravitate towards more recycling and re-use of materials, to conserve energy, increase sustainability and lower raw material costs. (more…)
The textile industry needs an affordable, sustainable alternative to oil-based polymers, and a recent study shows that hagfish slime protein threads have the potential to be spun and woven into novel biomaterials.
Hagfishes are an ancient group of eel-like, bottom-dwelling animals that have remained relatively unchanged for more than 300 million years. When threatened, hagfishes secrete a gelatinous slime containing mucous and tens of thousands of protein threads. These threads belong to the “intermediate filament” family of proteins, and they have remarkable mechanical properties that rival those of spider silks. (more…)
Walmart, Nike, Target, JC Penney, Levi’s and fellow members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition have unveiled the group’s index for measuring the environmental impact of apparel products across the supply chain.
The Higg Index is an indicator-based tool for apparel that allows clothing manufacturers and brands to evaluate material types, products, facilities and processes based on a range of environmental and product design choices.
This 1.0 version of the index was developed for apparel products and measures environmental outcomes in water use and quality; energy and greenhouse gas; waste; and chemicals and toxicity.
Future releases of the index, slated for 2013, will include footwear products and social and labor impact areas, the coalition said. The index eventually will be expanded to include quantitative data and metrics and feature an improved scoring method.
The current version of the Higg Index asks practice-based, qualitative questions to gauge environmental sustainability performance. It’s based on the Eco Index and Nike’s Apparel Environmental Design Tool. However, the Higg Index has been significantly enhanced through the pilot testing period, the coalition said.
The tool includes a Materials Sustainability Index, a cradle-to-gate assessment tool to give designers and the global supply chain information on the environmental sustainability of materials.
A group of 30 manufacturers and retailers launched theSustainable Apparel Coalition last year to improve the environmental and social performance of the apparel and footwear industry, from water consumption and chemical use to waste and embedded energy in products.
Last month, Nike partnered with Random Hacks of Kindness in the Open Challenge for Sustainable Materials, an initiative that asks apparel designers and developers to use sustainable materials listed on the Nike Sustainable Materials Index.
Article by Marc Gunther at Greenbiz.com: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/07/26/behind-scenes-sustainable-apparel-coalition?utm_source=E-News+from+GreenBiz&utm_campaign=21c7056b94-GreenBuzz-2012-27-07&utm_medium=email
The story of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition begins with a letter designed to get the attention of even a busy CEO. At the top: the logos of Walmart and Patagonia. John Fleming, who was then Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, and Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, signed the letter, which invited chief executives of some of the world’s biggest clothing companies–fierce competitors, ordinarily — to join together to develop an index to measure the environmental impact of their products.
Their pitch, in part, read like this:
Creating a single approach for measuring sustainability in the apparel sector will do much more than accelerate meaningful social and environmental change. Standardization will enable us to maximize sustainability benefits for all buyers without investing in multiple sustainability technologies and certification processes, and ultimately empower consumers to trust claims regarding sustainably sourced apparel.
Finally, as an industry, we will benefit from the unique opportunity to shape policy and create standards for measuring sustainability before government inevitably imposes one.
…The time is right and the need is great for the apparel sector to move forward now, without further delay, in unison, with strong partners like you.
It was a risky proposition. What if it turned out that a competing company had a better sustainability story to tell? Would consumers be given access to the index? NGOs? Regulators? Most big retailers knew that they had very little visibility deep into their supply chains. Did they really want to find out, for example, that a supplier to one of their suppliers, in a factory they had never visited in China or Vietnam, exploited workers or dumped pollution into a nearby river? Any meaningful index would require companies to ask tough questions and, eventually, face demands from others to share what they had learned.
The letter went out on October 1, 2009. Less than three years later, despite those risks, the apparel industry has made major progress towards creating a global sustainability index, the Higg Index, to measure and score products, factories and companies. A first version was released today by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the nonprofit group that developed the index.
Its vision? Nothing less than “an apparel and footwear industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.” The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) hired an executive director, Jason Kibbey, in January, and today it has more than 60 members, representing brands, retailers and suppliers who together account for more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industry.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to go green…
Revolution is sometimes necessary, if never comfortable. Thomas Jefferson knew this when he and his revolutionary colleagues laid out their grievances before dissolving the bands that connected them with the King of England. We celebrate the success of that revolution every year, and for good reason.
This Fourth of July, a couple hundred years later, there’s another revolution afoot, with the potential to shake up the way America does business, interacts with other nations and pursues happiness. “Green” is more than a buzzword. It’s a path forward for a great nation seeking to produce its own energy, shore up its security and provide sustainable prosperity for its people.
Jefferson didn’t spend a lot of ink on energy policy in the Declaration of Independence, but a selective reading of his “indictments” against the King almost sound like a treatise on sustainability. (At least, the whole argument for untangling ourselves from that rotten King of England is framed as aligning human behavior with natural law and the “powers of the earth.”)
So, this Fourth of July, start participating in the next revolution, one that embraces good-old American ingenuity and hard work on the path toward a brighter future for our great nation.
Read more about how to Declare Your Independence from Oil, Waste, Factory Food, & Suspect Chemicals: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/declare-independence-47062306#ixzz1zUmsAlEd
At their recent commencement, more than 5,000 graduates at George Washington University joined hundreds of thousands of other students across the country in forgoing traditional polyester gowns for versions made entirely from bits of melted plastic.
By Maggie Fazeli Fard, The Washington Post
When George Washington University’s Class of 2012 marched across the Mall in D.C. to accept its degrees recently, the nation’s backyard was transformed into an eco-fashion runway.
Sure, the men wore dress shirts and slacks while the women donned colorful spring dresses and shoes that wouldn’t sink in soft soil. But on top of these outfits, each GWU student sported the newest trend: gowns made from plastic bottles.
More than 5,000 graduates at GWU joined hundreds of thousands of other students across the country in forgoing traditional polyester gowns for versions made entirely from bits of melted plastic.
“The ‘green’ gowns look and feel the same, and the students were really excited,” said Robert Blake, the manager of the GWU bookstore and a member of the university’s regalia committee. “For us, this was really a no-brainer.”
The eco-friendly fashion statement is part of a larger effort by colleges and universities to reduce the carbon footprint of commencement ceremonies.
Read full article here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018289998_greengowns27.html
Only 30% of people in the Southern region of the United States had curbside recycling collection in 2008. Eighty-four percent of people in the Northeast had curbside recycling. The South also has the most landfill facilities – 726, in contrast with 134 in the northeast. [EPA]
Fact courtesy of Busch Systems – like them on Facebook
Making recycling make sense
Variation in recycling programs, unclear labeling, and inaccurate recyclability claims make proper recycling a challenge. The How2Recycle Label was created to provide consistent and transparent on-package recycling information to consumers.
We created a special version of the label for plastic bags and films that are accepted primarily at retail stores with plastic bags. For more information, see plasticbagrecycling.org.
Another label is coming to popcorn, yogurt and other products, but instead of adding to the visual noise caused by some confusing labels, this one is designed to give plain and simple recycling information.
The How2Recycle label, created by nonprofit GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition(SPC), will pop up on 10 companies’ products throughout the summer and into 2013. The label explains the recyclability of each component of the package, clearly stating the material each part is made from and adding special instructions if needed.
“When consumers think about sustainability, they think about recyclability, so having that transparent communication is really important,” said Anne Bedarf, SPC’s senior manager.
The standard recycling symbol means a material is widely recycled, while the symbol with a slash through it means the material isn’t recycled. The addition of the phrase “check locally” means the material is recycled in limited areas. The label with the phrase “store drop-off” is for plastic bags, wraps or films that are accepted at many grocery and retail stores.
The How2Recycle label is already being used on two Seventh Generation products — a limited edition 180 oz. detergent bottle and new 22 oz. pre-wash spray — and more than 50 products at outdoor gear company REI.
Both companies are members of the SPC, and fellow members ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG), Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will join them in using the label on Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Kirkland Signature brand products and computer accessories.
Consumers appreciate labels
Transparency was one impetus behind the birth of the label, which started as discussions among SPC members in 2007 about greenwashing in brand labels. Concerned companies asked the SPC to research material and recycling labels, which ultimately led to the SPC asking its members to develop their own ideas for what an informative recycling label should look like.
The SPC took those ideas and spent much of 2010 speaking with governments, trade associations, recyclers and the Federal Trade Commission to get input before rolling out the How2Recycle label.
The label is partially based on the On-Pack Recycling Label in the United Kingdom, which also breaks down each packaging component and declares how commonly it’s recycled.
Bedarf said studies of the U.K. label found consumers appreciate that companies are clear about the recyclability of their packaging, even if the materials can’t be recycled.
Danielle Peacock, an SPC project associate, said the same thing is happening here.
“U.S. consumers are also finding that just knowing that the company is making an effort means a lot to them,” she said. “They think highly of the company just for using it.”
One of our MantraMeds Insiders took our sustainable medical scrubs to Panama on a medical mission. His team performed routine dentistry for people in need while there. He wrote us:
The scrubs were great thanks so much. I was in Penonome, Panama for 2 weeks doing dental work in poor communities. I appreciate you getting me the scrubs so quickly and exchanging sizes, ya’ll made it really easy. They were the best looking scrubs in Panama.
Find out more about the MantraMeds Insider Program here: http://mantrameds.wordpress.com/insider-program/
Sign up to become an Insider here: http://www.mantrameds.com/insider-signup
“From fair trade coffee to organic designer fashions, Ethical Ocean will help you find the products that make the world a better place.” Join the movement w/ their Facebook App
Repreve Recycled Fiber that we use in MantraMeds Scrubs sells their eco-friendly materials to tons of cool companies! Check out this one – American Flora - Founded by a veteran dancer, American Flora is a line of dance and yoga wear that emphasizes a woman’s true femininity, athleticism and beauty. They create boutique high-performance garments inspired by our passion for dance and the beauty of our natural world. Smart design and extensive use of eco-friendly Repreve® fabric ensures each piece in our collection provides the ultimate combination of luxury, comfort and performance. American Flora is made in the United States from 100% US sourced material.
On Earth Day, we met a representative for The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Earthspun Apparel & MantraMeds are working out plans to do a lesson at TCMU on the sustainable fabrics we use in our clothes!
Check out this video from the Recycled Regatta at Waterfest 2012! Click the image below or go to the following link to view Youtube video. http://youtu.be/-qt-0Kxc72Q
Pepper – the Eco Friendly Dog
By Gia Machlin
This is Part I of a two-part post on how consumers can use Eco Labels to distinguish the green from the greenwash.
After years of making fun of dog owners in the city, I became one myself: a city dweller with a canine friend. Meet Pepper. Of course now I think having a dog in the city is the best thing since sliced bread, but I still feel somewhat ridiculous picking up after Pepper does her business on the sidewalk. Luckily we have those tidy little poop bags to help us out and keep the mess to a minimum. I realize that using an old newspaper is probably more eco friendly, and I may just switch to that, but as I was getting used to this dog walking concept, using the bags just seemed much less disgusting.
So I walked into the pet store and asked for biodegradable poop bags, and the clerk pointed me to some bags hanging in a display case. On the packaging, there was a picture of the earth with some recycling arrows around it and the words “earth friendly.” If I didn’t happen to be in the sustainability field, I might have taken this information at face value and bought the bags. But I didn’t recognize the symbol as representing a reputable eco-label and I looked further. Nowhere on the packaging did the product claim to be biodegradable, compostable, or made of renewable materials. In fact, the bags were, as far as I could tell, no different than any other plastic poop bag. But I’m sure the manufacturer fooled a few customers into believing their product was “greener” than the next. How is this possible?
It’s possible, because there is very little regulation around what companies can claim as “green,” “eco friendly,” or “earth friendly.” Not that there isn’t any regulation – in 1992 the Federal Trade Commission came out with the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims also known as the “Green Guide“. This regulation has been updated several times, and in October 2010 the FTC proposed major updates to this section of the Federal Register (the proposed updates have yet to be finalized). So this is all good, and the FTC has started to enforce these rules, but the rules are new, and in some cases unclear, and the door is still open for all the “greenwashers” and their claims for now.
So, as a consumer, knowing that the door is still open for marketers to make all kinds of green claims, how do you know what’s green? Well the first thing to know is that nothing is truly “green.” Everything we buy has some kind of environmental footprint. A product’s footprint is calculated using many factors: the material used to make it, the energy used to manufacture it, the gasoline used to transport it, the electricity needed to operate it, and the waste created when ultimatelydisposing of it. But a product can be “greener” than another. (The most environmentally friendly option is not to buy anything new at all and reuse what’s already out there!) So how do we know what’s “greener?” Currently, we at EcoPlum believe the best option is to buy products that have are made of recycled materials, have been certified green by independent organizations or that have earned a reputable eco-label.
Now, how do you know which Eco-Label is reputable? That’s the topic of Part II of this post. But, for now, here is a list of eco-labels we have found be run by independent non-profit or government third parties that appear to have no vested interest in the products or companies they certify.
[Note: the EcoPlum Online Boutique carries only eco friendly products that have been certified green, have a third party eco-label, or are made of recycled/upcycled materials.]
Gia is the President and CEO of EcoPlum, Where it Pays to Buy Green®. EcoPlum is the green shopping rewards site with eco friendly products and green living ideas that makes it fun, easy and rewarding to go green. Under its loyalty program, buying green at EcoPlum online earns EcoChipz rewards points, good for coupons in its shop or donations to environmental causes.
Eco-Friendly Shipping: It Is Possible!
Love the convenience of shipping but hate the environmental impact? Don’t fret, eco-conscious consumer. Our experts are here to help. Earth911 sat down with Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, to get the low-down on shipping the eco-friendly way.
FedEx hybrid electric delivery vehicles are on the road in several major cities around the U.S. Photo: FedEx
1. Opt out of overnight
Ground or air? The age-old question has puzzled sustainable shippers for decades. And the decision to have an item shipped via ground or air mail is still the most important choice consumers make with regard to eco-friendly shipping, Hoover says.
“Ground shipping is going to use less fuel than air,” she says. “So, the more you can avoid having things shipped overnight mail (or whatever is going to require air), that’s probably a good way to think about it.”
While top-name shipping companies, such as UPS and FedEx, are taking steps to reduce the carbon footprintof air shipping, choosing a ground method is usually your best eco bet. Transporting one ton of parcels for one nautical mile produces about 1.39 pounds of CO2 emissions, according to 2010 UPS data. So, if you can wait a few extra days for your package, go for ground instead.
2. Choose the right provider
Carriers for the U.S. Postal Service walk and drive through every neighborhood six times a week, which left Earth911 wondering: Since delivery trucks will be on my street anyway, is USPS my greenest choice for shipping?
“That can be true, especially if everybody [on your block] is getting mail,” Hoover says. “But if the trucks are driving through and not everybody is getting mail, I’m not sure if that ends up being considerably more efficient.”
Green perks offered by the Postal Service that the other guys can’t match include a program that allows you to purchase stamps and other supplies online and have them delivered with your mail. USPS will also schedule a free pickup for outgoing packages, which carriers will pick up at your doorstep when dropping off your mail. But the Postal Service isn’t the only eco-friendly way to ship.
“There are so many different parameters that it’s hard to come down and say, ‘This is always better’ and ‘This is always not preferable,’” Hoover says. She suggests keeping an eye out for trucks you see in your neighborhood most frequently. If you often see drivers from a particular shipping company in your neighborhood, you may want to opt for that company for your shipping needs.
“[Private shipping companies] are motivated to reduce their drive-times and increase their fuel efficiency,” Hoover says. “So, they’re going to try to plan the best routes and figure out how to get packages to people the most efficiently in terms of time and money, which also turns out to be the most efficient in terms of environmental resources.”
To keep carbon footprints shrinking, USPS, UPS and FedEx have all begun utilizing alternative fuel fleets. A growing number of companies, including UPS and FedEx, also offer carbon offset programs to help minimize your shipping impact.
CRA’s 22nd Annual Conference and Trade Show
“Recycling on the Rise”
March 19-23, Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC
The CRA is pleased to present our 22nd Annual Conference and Trade Show “Recycling on the Rise” to be held March 19-23, 2012 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. You will find this theme throughout the conference program, as we explore new strategies, new materials, new opportunities and new horizons.
Join us for the Southeast’s premier recycling conference at the hotel that defined Southern Hospitality.
Earthspun Apparel will be at Recycling on the Rise in Asheville this week. Stop in and see our kewl recycled tees!
earthspun tees are made with superior quality, American made, ring spun yarns. The fabric is a unique blend of recycled polyester (RPET) fibers from green, brown and blue plastic bottles. These are combined with American recycled cotton to create an earth friendly, unbelievably soft garment.
The result? Colorful tees that require no dying process, provide superior comfort, long lasting durability and quick drying performance that tread lightly on Mother Earth.
Try earthspun® apparel and feel the difference!
Consumers would increase sustainable apparel purchasing if only they could find it, according to a survey by Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing.
Some 69 percent of consumers considered sustainability at least sometimes when purchasing clothing in 2011 and shoppers intend to double their eco-apparel purchases this year, according to the 2012 Styling Sustainability survey.
But access to green apparel is hampering take-up. A third of consumers who don’t regularly consider sustainability in their apparel purchases said sustainable clothing wasn’t available where they shop. About one in four said they didn’t even know where to purchase sustainable clothing, according to the survey.
When shoppers do buy sustainable clothing, 57 percent said they became aware of eco-attributes through product tags, while 37 percent credited in-store information. Some 61 percent of shoppers expressed interest in an apparel sustainability rating or index.
Read full article here: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/02/09/lack-of-eco-clothing-hampers-sales/
by Mary Mazzoni02/08/12
As you’re browsing the Web for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift this week, why not choose a gift that gives back? Here are three fun ways to help the environment and your community while showing your honey you care.
Read full article here: http://earth911.com/news/2012/02/08/valentines-day-gifts-for-charity/
All pink and purple MantraMeds scrubs are on sale now through Feb 14! Go to http://www.mantramedsmarket.com/valentines-day-sale/
The MantraMeds website has some exciting new features to make shopping online that much easier. With additions like a new fit guide and videos of our model sporting each scrub, you’ll feel like you’re in a store trying our scrubs on!
To assist you in choosing the right size the 1st time we have created the Mantrameds Sizing Guide. Choose the style you like and find the fit type description (this is listed in the product description). Now refer to the fit guide drawings and descriptions to make sure you will like the garment’s fit. You can customize the fit to your personal preference easily by sizing up or down.
Read more for examples and pictures!