As we look to celebrate Earth Day, it’s disheartening to see that there is still much work to be done to save the planet from its own peril, whether through increased carbon emissions, destruction of critical habitats key to sustaining delicate ecosystems or continuous pollution of the oceans, lakes and other waterways.
However, one other area we cannot overlook is the immediate concern of overflowing landfills. According to a recent article posted in Bloomberg News, the U.S. is the most wasteful country on the planet at 4.9 pounds of trash per person, per day. One solution to this growing problem of landfills is finding alternative ways of repurposing man-made materials such as plastic and polyester into other products, most notably in the clothing industry.
The concept of a circular fashion industry is a fast-growing movement to reuse and recycle all materials, eliminating waste and pollution and regenerating the environment in a “circular model”. This rethink of the fundamentals of how the industry operates is gaining traction among sustainable fashion brands.
We can close the loop on man-made materials by repurposing them in other meaningful ways which are beneficial for the planet, thereby reducing unnecessary waste in landfills.
Here are five companies who are committed to ensuring that sustainable fashion is always in style:
Nike launched a host of circular products this year, including a recycled-content version of the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star and an “exploratory footwear collection” made from factory and post-consumer waste. But the line of competition apparel for the Tokyo Olympics will be the crown jewel in the brand’s 2021 foray into the circular economy.
In July 2021 athletes representing the U.S., France and Brazil in Tokyo will compete in Nike uniforms made with 100 percent recycled polyester when teams take the field, proving that circularity doesn’t mean sacrificing performance. Click here to learn more about how Nike is a champion for the environment.
Online consignment leader The RealReal engages with their 21 million global members (and growing!) in the circular economy and helping create a more sustainable future for fashion. At a time when one garbage truck’s worth of textiles is landfilled or burned every second, driving awareness of resale and sustainability is crucial.
Promoting itself as a replacement for “fast fashion”, The RealReal has changed the way people shop. Educating and empowering consumers to make more sustainable choices was the genesis in developing a first-of-its-kind “Sustainability Calculator” that quantifies the impact of resale on the planet.
Learn more about how The RealReal is keeping it real with sustainability in fashion.
Diverting plastic bottles from landfills (nearly 100 million so far!) and transform them into their signature thread—which is then knitted into durable, washable and sustainable styles like shoes, bags and accessories. They transformed 200,000 pounds of marine plastic into sustainable bags unlike any other. Beyond keeping waste out of the ocean, this cool material is also fully machine washable.
Click here to read about Rothy’s commitment to sustainability.
Allbird’s shoes are made with merino wool or eucalyptus trees for the uppers and sugar cane for their patented SweetFoam soles. They even made the patent on the soles’ material public so that other brands could utilize it as a sustainable alternative. Recycled plastic and castor bean oil also make their way into the inner-workings of the shoes. The company uses 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard for packaging that serves as a shoe box, shopping bag, and mailer all in one.
Learn more about how Allbirds incorporates natural and recyclable materials in their products.
The company best known for promoting the idea of disposable “fast fashion” is making its own runway pivot in sourcing exclusively sustainable materials by 2030 and become “climate positive” by 2040. Featuring innovative biodegradable materials including fiber derived from wood pulp and food waste, the 2021 collection won’t skimp on style or circularity in fashion.
Click here to read more on H&M’s business model for sustainability in fashion.
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