We’re all doing our best. Starbucks is trying to ditch the straws. Airports are banning plastic water bottles. It’s getting harder and harder to come home from the grocery store with plastic bags. There are updates on global warming and rising sea levels every day. Most people are striving to life a lifestyle that values the planet. What many people don’t realize is the way fashion can impact the environment.
The ways we make, buy, and sell clothing need to change. The planet needs us to take every possible step to alleviate the stress caused by manufacturing, farming, and shipping. If you’re looking to put more effort into living a sustainable lifestyle, you may be surprised to learn that you can start with your wardrobe.
Cotton is a mainstay. It’s a light and breathable fabric that people love for tees, socks, and undies. It’s soft and cozy, but it comes at a price. Cotton requires an unsustainable amount of water to grow. In fact, it takes 2,700 liters of water to create a single shirt. That’s 713 gallons. To put that colossal number into perspective, doctors recommend that an adult woman should drink 72 ounces of water a day. That’s enough water to sustain a person for 1,267 days, or about three and a half years of life. So few of us even meet our hydration goals, making that number realistically four years or more. That’s all for one shirt that will be tossed away once its faded and the graphic is worn out.
This doesn’t even account for the amount of fertilizer used to grow cotton. The nutrients and fertilizer volume required to yield a high amount of cotton from a single plant can pollute and ruin the soil. The byproducts often pollute freshwater habitats and groundwater supplies, making the toll of cotton production shockingly harsh for the planet.
Many brands have utilized cotton alternatives to create clothing. One of the most popular alternatives to cotton is modal, a semi-synthetic blend. Modal gets its softness from the cellulose fibers of beech trees. Beech trees are carbon neutral – they filter the air without taking a toll on the environment. They also require twenty times less water to grow for the same volume of material. This means that your modal tee requires 36 gallons of water to create, versus 713. That’s closer to the average amount of water used to take two showers, making the cost much more bearable than several years’ worth of drinking water.
Manufacturing and Buying from Overseas
A staggering 87% of the total CO2 emissions from ships comes from overseas shipping. Unfortunately, fast fashion and lesser quality clothing is typically made overseas in countries like China and shipped to the US, where it is then shipped again to the consumers. Shipping in general accounts for more than 17% of all CO2 emissions, and shipping as little as possible can help protect the planet.
That’s why buying local is the best idea. If you live in the United States, purchasing clothing made in the United States can significantly help to reduce CO2 emissions. Your clothing won’t have to travel as far to get to you. Less fuel is used and less pollution is released into the air.
Our Modal Tees
Wanderlux’s graphic tees are made of modal. Our graphics are designed to last hundreds of washes without fading, so they’ll look brand new for years. It’s a sustainable tee you can keep forever. We manufacture all of our clothing in California, keeping it local and sparing the planet the emissions that come from shipping things back and forth overseas.
We’re committed to doing our part to help protect the planet. Are you?