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What is an Eco-Friendly Organic T-shirt?

When we are out selling our t-shirts at festivals, stalls and fairs one of the most common questions we get asked is, “What is an eco-friendly organic t-shirt?” On a good day, between my brother and I, we must answer this question at least a hundred times. Today, we bring some of this info to you as a blog post, not so we don’t get asked anymore, but for all our online friends.I can’t give you the complete low down on sustainable, honest and less damaging clothing in one post, but hopefully there’s enough here to get you thinking.

Growing

Cotton is a demanding plant. It needs lots of sunshine and a reasonable amount of water. To make the most money, farmers can use water from irrigation and pesticides and chemical fertilisers to grow the most amount of crop. These harm those working on the farms, pollute local water supplies andcause depletion of local water supplies. Google Aral sea crisis for more info on what the cotton trade did in Uzebekistan. An eco-friendly t-shirt has cotton that is organic ie using no fertilisers or pesticides. It’s even better when natural rainwater is used.

Harvesting

For quick harvesting, machinery can be used which emits greenhouse gases. A more eco-friendly option would be to use more efficient or cleaner machinery or traditional methods such as carts. These help lower the carbon footprint in an eco-friendly t-shirt.

Manufacturing

Energy is needed to process the raw materials, spin, dye or bleach the material. Manufacturing processes which use renewable energy such as solaror wind power, minimise or reduce waste by for example, re-using waste for fuel, using natural dyes or print t-shirts without harmful chemicals are obviously better. It’s a difficult process to firstly assess the impact of a non eco-friendly t-shirt and then compare to one where changes have made alongthe whole process….These carbon calculations could seriously burn somebody out:)Let’s not just concentrate on the eco-friendly aspects of clothing. Don’t forget all the guys working there, fair labour conditions are represented by the fairwear foundation.

Transport

One of the least eco-friendly methods of transporting all the material is by airfreight. Using sea freight and transport with renewable or more fuel-efficientsources helps to make clothing more eco-friendly. Don’t forget, posting to you guys counts too.