Sustainable Apparel

by John Hamlin 27. April 2009 21:58

Clothing is often an overlooked component to the green movement.  The news talks constantly about reducing our carbon footprint, but how does this relate to clothing? 

First and foremost, the greenest garments are those you already own.  No more resources are required to get them to you.  And best of all, no additional cost to you.  But we all like new clothing, so what should you look for in new clothing. 

cotton-bolls

When you do purchase new apparel, consider  clothing made from organic material.  This means the land has not been subjected to synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for at least three years.  Did you know that 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals in the United States are used to produce cotton, grown on just one percent of all major agricultural land. 

Fact: Each T-shirt made from one hundred percent organic cotton saves one-third of a pound of synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicalsPET

Another new trend in apparel is clothing made from recycled material?  PET (polyethylene terephthalate )plastic and scrap cotton are combined to make shirts and hats.  This process reuses material once discarded into the landfills and turns  it to soft and long lasting apparel.

Fact:  Recycling one ton of PET containers saves 7.4 cubic years of landfill space.

It is also important to note, that the greatest eco-burden of clothing is not their construction or distribution, but in their daily usage.  Washing clothing can involve large quantities of water, energy and chemicals. 

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Environmentally Friendly Fundraising

by John Hamlin 27. April 2009 14:46

Fundraising is a necessary component for most school groups.  As schools plan ahead for their next fundraiser they should consider the impact of their past fundraising efforts and ask the question…is this good for students and the community?

custom_bottle_tall For your next fundraiser consider an Eco-Raiser by Green Benefits.  These programs combine socially responsible fundraising and curriculum to raise the environmental awareness for students, families and the community.

For example, consider a custom imprinted water bottle for your group.  This great product helps raise valuable funds while protecting the environment.  Did you know that it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s supply of bottles water.  That’s enough to fuel 100,000 cars. 

Compact Reusable Bag

Another great fundraiser to consider are reusable shopping bags.  These bags can be custom imprinted with you school logo or community message and come in a wide array of colors and materials.  Here is a fun/scary fact about plastic bags.  The average American uses between 300 and 700 plastic bags per year.  If everyone in the Unites States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the earth 760 times.

These are just two options available by the team at Green Benefits.  For more information please email info@greenbenefits.net or go the fundraising page to view more products and programs. 

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Natural, Organic or Recycled - What's Your Pleasure?

by John Hamlin 21. April 2009 15:49

With Earth Day occurring this week, we though it was time to share a bit of information about “green” materials, and to clarify what eco-friendly means.   We receive many request about our products, including standard questions about what it means to be made of natural, recycled, organic or some combination of materials.  Here is a bit of basic information on some of the options we carry and few fabric options that to consider.

Bamboo fibers are certainly natural, typically organic and absolutely sustainable in that the plant grows prolifically. An added benefit is that bamboo has antibacterial properties, so that the fabric is a naturally odor- and bacteria-resistant option.  We love bamboo for for its soft silky feel.  We generally only sell our bamboo items as blank product, but can on occasion custom print or embroider for those that want a high quality natural product.

Like bamboo, cotton is a natural option, though it traditionally has required a significant amount of chemicals to grow in abundance. In fact, conventional cotton is one of the world’s most agro-chemically intensive crops per unit. It has been estimated that traditionally grown cotton takes about 1/3 lbs. of pesticides to produce one pound of cotton!  Organic cotton crops – tended with fertilizers and “pesticides” of plant or animal origin – have made the difference for cotton in eco-friendly markets. Green Benefits now offers all of our custom print products in an Organic Cotton.  In fact we now have a GREAT 100% Organic Cotton Custom print T-Shirt with FULL COLOR graphics for only $9.00 per shirt! 

Another natural fabric to consider for the environmentally concerned is hemp. This fiber is valued for its durability and softness. It is naturally resistant to UV rays. Green Benefits doesn't currently stock any hemp products, but will on request provide hemp as an option for your custom apparel. 

Yet another option for your fabric choice can be made from recycled materials. We encourage and desire to move away from petroleum-based textiles such as polyesters however there are alternatives that allow us to offer shirts, sweatshirts, fleece garments and fleece blankets made using recycled materials. For example, garments made from recycled PET filaments (extruded from broken down plastic water and soda bottles) are sustainable and useful. The benefit is that they deter the build up of plastics in landfills, which do not biodegrade. Yet, the value of a polyester garment – its durability and colorfastness – is preserved.

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American Food – It’s all Corporate

by John Hamlin 2. April 2009 19:18

I am getting excited that spring is coming, and hopefully soon despite the weather.  For me with spring, Thursday farmers market will start-up and a spring summer weekly shopping routine will begin.  I feel most fortunate to have many local markets to frequent.  This has not always been the case and based on the current issue of Yes Magazine, it seems that the majority of the food produced in the USA is produced by large corporations.  In fact it states that 2% of farms produce 50% of all agricultural products in the USA.

I recommend everyone pick-up this months, Yes Magazine to learn about the state of our food supply chain and support your local farmers market.

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General | Green Education | Green Food