Plastic mass production started only six decades ago, however this material is already causing serious environmental and health issues. Nevertheless, where there is problem there will always be someone coming up with a solution; be it wax worms that can eat plastic or companies that turn plastic bottles into a yarn to create clothing.
In the last couple of days with such articles coming out as – National Geographic “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled” and BBC “Earth is becoming ‘Planet Plastic’” – you start to wonder how can you as an individual reduce plastic input to minimum. As discussed in the previous article by My Good Planet, you can take your own fabric shopping bags, switch to a bamboo toothbrush, carry your own water bottle and travel mug, and buy your food from farmers market. How about also looking at your clothing labels, particularly your sportswear; because that’s where you look for a stretch.
Polyester or fibre made out of plastic in a way has become an essential part of our modern wardrobe. It gives your clothing that nice stretch, which keeps your clothing intact; highly important for sportswear. However, it is valuable to remember that this polyester also contributes to the billions of tons of plastic in landfills. As National Geographic writes:
“Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, so most of it still exists in some form. Only 12 percent has been incinerated.”
Quite a nice and elegant solution to plastic fibre is polyester made out of recycled PET bottles; it removes plastic from the landfills and gives us a new garment. It might be quite a noble pursuit to buy clothing only made out of 100% natural fibres or 100% recycled polyester, however it is certainly achievable. If the demand for recycled PET bottle polyester will be there, fewer bottles will go to landfills and economically it will be cost effective for cities to invest in recycling programs.
A rough guide to you, one pair of yoga leggings requires 25 plastic bottles. How does it work? Conveniently enough plastic bottles are made of the same polymer – polyethylene terephthalate – as polyester. So the post-consumer water bottles are shredded into plastic flakes and then melted down into pellets. These pellets are then melted again and are extruded to make fibre; the fibre can then be processed into a fabric. Completely manmade material that was once a piece of trash is now a brand new material.
Check your clothing labels before you buy something, preferably choose natural fibres or recycled polyester. And for the sake of Planet Earth avoid polyester that is not recycled! For inspiration see below a list of just a few sportswear, particularly yoga wear, companies that are using recycled polyester in their clothing. The list is organised alphabetically.
This brand gave their first yoga leggings away for free, only for a cost of shipping. What is even better, their clothing is made and assembled ethically. GC have Oeko-Tex and Bluesign certifications, and their factories are certified SA8000, that ensures there is no child labour, they provide living wages and safe conditions.
A lifestyle clothing brand based in Canada that cares for our planet. They not only use fabric made from BPA-Free recycled plastic water bottles, but they also take care that their leggings offer sun protection (SPF 50), which just makes practicing on a sunny beach that much nicer.
Manduka probably is one of the best respected yoga brands within the yoga community. They started with their Black mat and over time added yoga accessories as well as clothing. They are dedicated to source eco-friendly and recycled materials, to scratch the waste in their production and to even make the first 100% recyclable yoga mat. To add, all Manduka’s recycled polyesters are GRS-certified.
Another Canadian yoga clothing brand that uses Repreve fabric (fabric made from recycled PET bottles), meaning that all their products are made from 83% recycled plastic bottles. What is more, all their products are created and assembled in Quebec, reducing their ecological footprint even more.
Men rejoice this is yoga clothing brand only for you. OHMME is men’s yoga clothing brand that only uses recycled polyester, including one made from plastic bottles, as well as natural fibres. They even use Green Defence for an in-built antibacterial function; Green Defence integrates natural ingredients, such as almond extract or cinnamon for antibacterial function.
Patagonia is the first outdoor clothing manufacturer that began making recycled polyester from plastic bottles in 1993, leading an example to everyone else. They turned plastic bottles meant for landfills into fleece. Now they not only use plastic bottles for their polyester, but also unusable manufacturing waste and worn-out pieces of clothing, including their own.
RE3 or RE-cycled, RE-formed, RE-vived is a yoga clothing brand based in San Diego, USA. Their vibrant and distinct designs are all hand drawn by local artists, and they even use an eco-friendly dye printing process system, which has no water waste or pollution.
Teeki is an eco-friendly company that is based in Los Angeles and is truly dedicated to sustainability. Teeki even send out tips through their newsletter on how to make your laundry days a bit greener. Moreover, their bold designs are something that will make the heads turn and all their products are made locally in California, reducing their footprint even more.
Yoga Democracy is truly committed to recycled fibres, since 95% of what they produce is made out of recycled fibres. They not only use recycled polyester, even more, they use waterless transfer process to dye their recycled polyester. That not only saves our planet from plastic bottles lying around but also from massive water waste.
A Swedish yoga brand that not only cares about using recycled polyester for their clothing, but also makes sure that their packaging is sustainable. For their tags they strive to use only recycled and eco-friendly paper and organic cotton, plus they use 100% biodegradable plastic bags.