Monday, March 12, 2007

News Analysis

You are What You...Wear?
Team ARFE-SmartWool and ARFE management wear eco-friendly SmartWool clothing whenever we can--and it's not just because they're out title sponsors.
Oh, sure, we wear it because it performs well, looks great, and doesn't smell, even when we do, but we stumbled across something recently that we think everyone should sit up and pay attention to: A report from Cambridge University on the sustainability of clothing and fashion today. Titled "Well Dressed?" it questions what impact, exactly, the clothing industry has on sustainability, and what consumers can do to help us along our road to a more sustainable lifestyle.
The report's executive report notes that the major environmental impacts of the textile and clothing industry arise from "the use of energy and toxic chemicals." We figured that meant thee actual machinery and electricity for production. But--big surprise--it turns out that most of the energy use is dominated by burning fossil fuel to create eletricity for water and air for laundering.
Then, with the advent of stores like H&M and Mexx, which provide styles that rotate in and out so fast they make our head spin, and at a cheap, cheap price, many consumers are just throwing out what they want.
On average, notes the report, UK consumers send "30 kilos of clothing per capita to the landfill."
There's no word yet on the US consumer, but I'm afraid to ask.
So...what can you do?
*Buy organic, or from your local consignment or second-hand store. Hey, everything old is new again, and there's no shame in being retro.
*Buy fewer garments that may cost more (Racers shouldn't be any strangers to this practise.)
(Right, a top from a certain member of ARFE Management's closet. She own a few of these. They each cost her an arm and a leg, but she wears them everwhere, and has owned them each for well over six years. They still look great.)
*When you rip something, stitch shut the rip, instead of throwing out the item and buying a new one.
*Dispose of used clothing and textiles through recycling businesses or second-hand shops.
And, finally--
*Launder your clothes less often. We know, we know. But if you're just going for a 12K run or some such, we bet if you hang your top up and just let it air dry, you'll find that it's not as gross as you might expect. (We know, we've tried this.)

Of course, don't forget to tell all your friends. And--do comment below. We're curious to hear what you think.

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