In celebration of Earth Day, the world’s largest environmental movement, we’re spotlighting commonly used products like cotton clothing, household textiles and kitchenware. Moreover, we’ll explore why material sourcing and manufacturing processes make a significant difference in the health and well-being of each of us and the planet Earth.
Materials Sourcing Matters
What you buy, where you buy it, and how it’s been made matters. The cliché, “They don’t make things the way they used to,” is very true. The evolution of technology and advanced manufacturing processes have made it easy for big corporations to mass-produce lower cost, lower quality goods. This process often includes outsourcing to people working under poor conditions in faraway factories. Mass-production results in consumers buying more items than ever before, but also discarding them more quickly. Pollution is another result.
Textile factories are second only to agriculture in the amount of pollution they create. It takes over 2,000 chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens, to turn raw materials into finished fabrics. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 80 billion pieces of this fabric wind up in landfills worldwide, with the average US citizen throwing out 70 pounds of clothing each year. Textile waste pollutes the environment and ultimately the food chain.
The Sustainable Alternative
Sustainability is based on the principle that everything necessary for our well-being either directly or indirectly depends on our natural environment. It means avoiding the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions that support humans and nature to exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.
From clothing and textiles to kitchenware and furniture, eco-friendly shoppers have become increasingly conscientious about their buying decisions. They don’t mind spending a little more for sustainably produced products that, unlike mass-produced goods, are both high quality and long-lasting. Another relevant cliché is, “You get what you pay for!” Fortunately, more and more companies are offering sustainably made, certified organic products for environmentally responsible consumers.
PrAna is one such company pioneering the sustainable clothing movement. They are among the first major clothing companies to offer Fair Trade Certified products. That’s impressive, and certainly not something you’ll find in most mass-production cotton and textile factories. PrAna not only has 100% organic cotton clothing, you’ll also find clothes made from hemp, recycled wool and responsible down.
At bambu, we take pride in our sustainable products and our manufacturing process. We offer over 100 organic items, limit our (recyclable) packaging, are dedicated to reducing single-use plastics, and as a 1% For The Planet member, we give back to the environment. Our B Corp Certification means we meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability while aspiring to solve social and environmental problems.
Cotton – Organic or GMO
Over 90 percent of the cotton grown in the US is genetically modified. In fact, non-organic cotton is one of the most pesticide and chemically contaminated crops in the entire world. These fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are known to contaminate our air, land, and water sources. Not only does it add to our already over-burdened landfills, post-consumer clothing waste generates global pollution.
Organic cotton is 100% natural and sustainable. The organic farming of cotton combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote a good quality of life for all involved. Rather than damaging the soil, organic cotton farming replenishes and maintains soil fertility. It has less impact on the air and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton
Cotton Clothing: Choosing organic cotton clothing will eliminate your exposure to chemical toxins and reduce their impact on our environment. Look for companies that clearly display their products as Fair Trade and Fair Labor Certified, and/or use the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certification. Some examples include PACT organic cotton clothing, Winter Water Factory, and Loomstate, each of which offers certified organic cotton clothing.
Cotton Home Textiles: At bambu®, you’ll find GOTS certified organic textiles like our denim apron, kitchen towels, baby bibs and multi-use adjustable soft bowls. These products are made from cotton, hemp, denim and sustainably harvested cork designed with quality, longevity, and the environment in mind.
bambu® Certification: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
Label Grade: GOTS
Certifying Institute: OCS Ecocert Greenlife
License No.: 140081
Organic and Sustainable Bamboo
Although it’s been used for thousands of years, bamboo products are rapidly gaining popularity among environmentally aware consumers. An evergreen flowering plant in the grass family, bamboo is among the fastest growing plants in the world making it 100% sustainable. Famed for its extreme durability, strength and lightweight properties, bamboo is an incredibly versatile and beautiful natural material.
Much like cotton, an organic bamboo certification means the material must be grown without the use of fertilizers, pesticides or chemicals of any kind. Therefore, it can only be assembled and finished with organic oils and strictly regulated food-safe adhesives.
Bamboo Kitchenware: bambu® is the only company that offers USDA certified organic utensils. Handmade from a single piece of organic bamboo, the bambu kitchen utensils are finished with an organic food-safe oil. They are naturally stain and odor resistant and are made to last. So, when replacing your old plastic and metal kitchen tools, consider choosing organic bamboo utensils.
We also offer a wide array of cutting and serving boards made of organically grown bamboo and reclaimed cedar wood. And a range of compostable plates and cutlery as a durable, yet elegant alternative to single-use plastics. To get your children off to a good healthy start in life, bambu® has USDA certified baby products that meet and go beyond strict safety and quality care standards.
Make Every Day Earth Day
As consumers, it’s our responsibility to make buying decisions that are good for us and for the planet we call home. Whether you’re shopping in a retail store or online, take a moment to check what the products you’re purchasing are made of, and how and where they were made. Then, consider making a sustainable choice. Since they last much longer than mass-produced items, you’ll ultimately save money while doing your part to support planet Earth.
Reduce: Reducing is a form of simplifying your life that has a positive impact on the environment. Take time to consider if you really need to buy the latest gadget, trendy item of clothing or that new set of cookware. When replacing clothing, textiles, kitchenware and other items, consider investing in more sustainable, durable alternatives that are long-lasting and recyclable. The less you buy the less you waste. Buy with intent, not with haste!
Reuse & Recycle: Before throwing something out, try to repair it, use it for parts, check for alternative uses, or donate it to a local charity. Gently worn clothes can be passed on to someone in need, while worn out clothing is great for quilts, patches, or cleaning rags. Check out the Council for Textile Recycling and use their handy search tool for locations to donate and recycle clothing, footwear, household textiles and accessories.
Happy Earth Day!