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Green Clothing: Saving The Planet One Tee Shirt At A Time
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Eco-concerns are a hot topic these days. Every newspaper, newscast, and blog has some mention of “going green”. Tips and advice bombard us from every angle, every media outlet. We all try to follow each of these tips, but it gets harder and harder to do at times. We try to conserve water and electricity in our homes. We work hard to use mass transit or walk and bike wherever possible. We, for the most part, are doing all we can do, right? What about what you are wearing?

Clothing is a major expense for most American families- the average is about $50 or more per month, and how many of those items are mass produced, poorly constructed and not at all eco-friendly? For about the same money, we can all commit to buying clothes that are not only more durable, but safer for ourselves and our planet.

Cotton can be one of the softest materials available, but it is also wreaks havoc on the planet from seed to product. Massive area of land must be cleared to plant this crop. Pesticides and toxic fertilizers are sprayed on the fields to make the plants grow better and stronger. After harvesting, the plants are further treated with chemicals, then dyed and finally made into clothing.

Buying organic cotton products is a far better choice, not only for the earth, but for your family, especially young children’s skin. Look for labels that say “organic, non-bleached cotton.” If you want clothing that has some color to it, the label should read “all natural dyes”.

Better clothing materials can be found however, so cotton is no longer the “King” crop that it once was. Recycled plastic bottles are being remade into trendy tee shirts, often with humorous but meaningful messages meant to bring awareness to the Earth. Bamboo is another sustainable, renewable resource for everything from your favorite tee to pants and undergarments. The resulting clothing is remarkably soft, durable and most of all, attractive.

Buy clothing and footwear that is eco-conscious whenever possible, or buy gently used clothing from thrift stores. This is an especially good tip for those who need an outfit to wear once, maybe twice and then will dump it.

Buying used prevents the need for the new version of this same outfit being made in the first place, and will keep an item from being dumped in a landfill before it is truly worn out. Recycle clothing and consider setting up a clothing swap with friends and family. Jointly owned clothing reduces the cost of buying, maintaining and storage for everybody involved.

And finally, use your clothing as gently as possible. Do not spray harsh perfumes directly onto the material if you use them. Do not use non-biodegradable detergents and consider using dryer balls instead of fabric softener sheets to both soften your clothing and reduce your drying time.

Look for eco-aware laundry products. Consider whether your clothing truly needs to be washed after an hour’s wearing or if you can freshen them in the sunlight instead. We all need to do our part, we all share the same planet. Let’s keep it green and healthy.


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