So it's laundry day. If you're like me, that means you've waited as long as was hygienically possible for this day to arrive. You're in an old pair of sweats and staring at a pile of clothing, that despite having a laundry basket, seems to always be on the floor. No?
Alright, I may still be a teenager when it comes to laundry. But I do know how to minimize my footprint when caring for my threads.
We're all about creating more sustainable clothing, not to brag but we feel we're doing our part. Shockingly though,
70-80% of clothings lifecycle impact occurs during washing and drying.
Kind of mind blowing. We put all this focus and effort into creating something which only accounts for 20% of the overall impact. Majority of it's in your hands. So here's what you can do to minimize your footprint.
Wear It More Than Once
One thing my teenage habit is good for is I only wash stuff when it's actually dirty. Let's exclude underwear here maybe...
The average family does 300-390 loads of laundry a year... consuming 60,000L of water. I had to fact check this. Who are these lunatics laundering everyday!? But it's true. That's the average.
Spot clean jeans, get an extra day out of a sweater especially if you had another shirt underneath. Not only will your clothes last longer. You will save some serious time in your life.
Do Full Loads
Easiest way to cut down those 300 loads. Just wait until everything is dirty! One thing my teenage laundry habits inadvertently nails. Increase load size, decrease frequency.
Cold Water Wash
Washing in cold water still cleans your clothes. Unless you're a mechanic, cold water will probably always get the job done. It always saves a shit ton of energy. 90% of the energy used in washing is to heat the water. Also likely to save you as much as $400 a year as an added bonus.
Hang It To Dry
This should be number one. Obviously the energy point applies here as well, totally a potential savings of around $200 a year for you and 2,400 pounds of carbon emissions. That's like not driving your car for 3 months.
You know all that lint you pull out? That's your clothes slowly coming apart. Dryers destroy clothing, they shrink fibres and cause colour fading. One sure way to make things last longer is don't cook them 300 times a year. All our threads are pre-shrunk and pre-washed, however we still don't recommend the dryer for this reason. It's super simple to get a drying rack. Stop being lazy.
I'm not a scientist. But conventional detergents and soaps have a ton of stuff I can't pronounce that generally suck for the environment (and your skin). Phosphates are the worst offender killing marine life and messing with ecosystem balances.
Over 60% of textiles are now created using polymers, another word for plastic. When you wash them little pieces of this plastic is shed and can end up in the ocean. No bueno. Your yoga pants, fleece sweaters, rain jackets, stretchy socks - all plastic.
The answer to this is to stop making things from plastic. But that's a pipe dream. It is extremely durable, very comfortable, cheap and offers technical benefits where natural fibres can sometimes lack. There's a reason it took over. One day, we'll get wise but in the meantime there's many things you can do to stop the problem.
1) Wash with a Cora Ball or Guppy Friend Bag
Both of these are consumer based solutions for capturing micro-plastics in your washing machine. We all have polyester clothing, we should all be using one or both of these.
2) Get a washing machine filter.
Bit of install here but quite easy and this is a really great solution. Eventually we hope every washing machine comes with these, but in the meantime, you can add it in. Check out one option here.
3) Buy Garments With Majority Natural Materials
If you need a technical garment for performance or athletics, look for garments with lower polyester quantity. You can get blends that perform just as well as the 100% polyester versions and lower the implications of micro-plastics. Consider natural performance fibres like Merino Wool as an alternative.
Our Take On it
We focus on making clothing from natural fibres for this reason, but creating from waste means we sometimes get very high quality material with a smaller percentage of polyester. We think it's better on your back than in the bin. Especially if you're taking steps to reduce the problem at home.
Recycled polyester isn't right for everything. Making clothing from 100% recycling plastics should be avoided. But it does have some useful applications. Backpacks, hats, shoes, and other accessories that you either never or infrequently wash are awesome uses to recycled plastic. With these applications, not only are you diverting plastic from landfill you are reducing consumption by around 75% compared to making it with new material.
We use recycled plastic bottles to create our headwear and accessories. Our logic here is that we want to avoid things you wash regularly but in some cases this is a good option that can also be recycled once again into a circular system.