Environmentally friendly t-shirts and other garments are increasingly becoming widely available.
What is an Environmentally Friendly T-Shirt?
In order for an item to be kind to the environment it should have a minimum impact. This means that the core materials should not have been grown or created in a destructive manner, that the manufacturing process is not harmful to the environment, and uses the minimum of resources. Additionally, the carbon footprint is kept to a minimum by reducing the number of miles that the item has traveled before it is sold.
An environmentally friendly t-shirt will comply with the above requirements and is becoming an increasingly attractive option for people interested in green living.
The most common material for t-shirts that are environmentally friendly is organic cotton. Organic cotton is cotton that has been grown without the use of harmful chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. In order for a product to be certified as organic, it is not just enough that the raw materials were grown in an organic manner, the manufacturing process must also comply with the high standards. With cotton, this means that the preparation process, including bleaching and dyeing, is done without chemicals and with minimum effect on the environment. This is why most organic cottons are a natural color. Color variations can be gained by the use of different cotton types. While it is possible to dye cotton with organic or natural dyes, the mordants required to set the dyes often are strong chemicals and therefore are not always regarded as being environmentally friendly.
Organic cotton is more expensive than conventionally grown cotton and therefore a good compromise is to combine conventional cotton with organic cotton. This reduces the negative impact of the cotton grown while providing an affordable item.
As organic cotton is processed without the use of strong bleaches and other chemicals, it is said to be stronger than other cottons.
There are other environmentally friendly materials that t-shirts might be made from. These include organic hemps and linens, as well as exciting new fibers such as bamboo and tencel, which is made from eucalyptus trees.
Where to buy T-Shirts that are Environmentally Friendly
Many specialist green living stores will sell t-shirts that are environmentally friendly. These stores can be found in most local communities, and a local environmental or green living group might be able to help with a shopping directory if required.
Increasingly, mainstream stores are selling more environmentally friendly products, and if your chosen store does not sell t-shirts that meet your requirements now, ask! It is through understanding consumer requirements and listening to the demands of green living consumers that they will understand better what our requirements are.
In addition, many online retailers sell a range of environmentally friendly garments, including t-shirts. These include:
One environmentally friendly way of owning a new t-shirt is to buy a secondhand or recycled garment. This not only keeps the garment out of land fills, it also saves the resources required to make a garment using virgin materials.
Recycled t-shirts can be given a new lease on life with the addition of some decoration or adornments. A plain white t-shirt and some fabric paint present all sorts of opportunities!
Someone with a few craft skills can transform an old t-shirt, perhaps making new garments for children or tops for babies.
Caring for Your Green Living T-Shirt
- Use an environmentally friendly detergent, such as Ecover.
- Dry your t-shirt out of direct light, since some organic dyes are not as light fast as chemical dyes.
- When you have finished with the t-shirt, recycle it by passing it on to charity shops or recycling charities.
Green living needn't mean boring clothes! With an increasing number of options available, there is likely to be a t-shirt for most tastes.