What makes eco-friendly clothing eco and what are the brands to look out for?

Eco-friendly

Definition: not harmful to the environment

Eco-friendly clothing is clothing made from either natural fibres or recycled materials

Natural Fibres

Natural fibres come from trees or plants that can be grown or harvested over and over again, or from animals that are shorn every year. The manufacturing of these fibres is more eco-friendly than the production of synthetic fibres, and they naturally decompose so they create less buildup in landfills

Organic, natural fibres are made without the use of pesticides, fertilisers & chemicals so they are kinder to the skin and the planet. They are also much stronger than synthetic fibres so will last much longer and helps to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up on landfill

Most natural fibres are heavily regulated to ensure the consumer is receiving what they should be

Some examples of natural fibres:

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Bamboo

  • Grows naturally without the use of pesticides or fertilizers
  • Regenerates naturally and is biodegradable
  • Only needs rain water to grow
  • Grows faster than any hardwood trees
  • Grows on soil that is not suitable to grow other crops
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Organic Cotton

  • Grown without the use of persticides or fertilizers
  • Builds strong soil through crop rotation
  • Heavily regulated that by independent companies that verify the entire supply chain is organic and complies to ecological and social criteria
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Merino Wool

  • 100% natural
  • Biodegradable
  • Ethically sourced
  • Renewable - sheep are shorn every year
  • Animal friendly - The sheep are only shorn in the Summer to ensure comfort and farmers follow animal welfare standards
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Eucalyptus Tencel

  • Cut rather than uprooted so the trees grow back quickly
  • Trees require little water to grow
  • 99% of the chemical, water and waste in the manufacturing process is reused in the closed loop system
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Modal

  • Multiply by rejuvenation
  • No chemicals needed
  • Lowest consumption of fossil energy, CO2 neutral and meets the highest environmental standards
  • 80-90% of water used in the manufacturing process is immediately returned to surface waters without contamination
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Bambor

  • Made from a blend of organic cotton, bamboo and a small amount of elastane for stretch
  • GOTs certified and have the Oeko Tex Standard
  • Trademark fabric from the brand Asquith

Recycled Materials

Clothing and products that are made from recycled materials reuse items that would otherwise end up in landfill or in our oceans. Although not always originally natural fibres, recycled products are eco friendly as they stop waste, examples include t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles, bags made from drinks can ringpulls, and bracelets made from recycled flip flops!

Plastic Alternatives

Our throwaway society uses 13 billion plastic bottles, around half of which are not recycled and 100 billion single use coffee cups each year with less than 1% of those being recycled. Although the amount of plastic carrier bags has dropped since the carrier bag charge was introduced, supermarkets still sell the plastic bags for a 5p charge. By offering plastic alternatives the amount of plastic in our landfills and our oceans will be reduced. Plastic alternatives including reusable coffee cups, stainless steel drinking bottles and fabric tote bags.

Eco friendly brands

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Asquith

Their active-wear is made with the best quality bamboo and organic cotton and is GOTS certified and certified by Oeko Tex

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Aura Que

Purses & tote bags handmade by artisans in Nepal and Vietnam. Made from cotton by a fairtrade collective and supported by UNICEF

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Bozo Tribe

Gorgeous bracelets made by artisans in Mali. The Bozo tribe collect flipflops from the river, clean them & melt into bracelets

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Ecoffee Cups

Funky, re-useable travel cups made from bamboo. BPA and Phthalate free, light, sturdy and have a 'no-drip' lid

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Egos

Slippers made from felted wool and handmade by artisans in Nepal. Dyed using eco-friendly colouring

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Én Gry & Sif

Felted wool flowers made from felted wool and handmade by Nepalese artisans. Dyed using eco-friendly colouring

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Howies

High quality clothing for sports, the outdoors and everyday wear made from organic cotton or modal. GOTS certified

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Icebreaker

Clothing made from merino wool. Icebreaker's manufacturing process is fully traceable & they have in depth environmental programmes

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LNSquared

T-shirts made from either bamboo, organic cotton, or a blend of organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles and screenprinted using chemical free inks

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Mons Royale

Clothing made from merino wool. ISO Rated and Oeko Tex certified. Mons Royale even have their own wool cleaning and combing plant that recycles and cleans its water using a purification system

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Patagonia

Clothing made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. Patagonia's manufacturing process is traceable and they also donate at least 1% of all their sales to environmental groups worldwide

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Purple Community Fund

Bags and purses made from drinks can ringpulls and curtain thread. The PCF teaches dumpsite communities in the Phillipines skills and they earn a sustainable wage for making the products

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Smartwool

Socks made from merino wool. Smartool aim to protect the natural environment and they support many different conservation and environmental charities and groups

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Snugs

Sheepskin slippers which are handmade in Portugal. The slippers are vege-tanned; only organic tannins are used in the tanning process and only chemical free dyes are used

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Starlightz

Stunning star shaped lampshades which are handmade by artisans in India using over fifty tiny pieces of colourful tissue paper. Made from natural materials, TUV safety approved and fairly traded

When looking for eco-friendly clothing there are global standards and certifications used which may help influence your decision. These include GOTs certified, Oeko-Tex certified, the Organic Content Standard and the ISO rating. See more about the Eco friendly clothing accreditations HERE

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