Challenge: The True Cost
I’ve seen it now.
I can’t ignore it.
So what can I do about it?
I don’t subscribe to the theory that one person can’t make a difference. Commercial companies whether that be milk producers, juice bars or clothing brands are there to make money. So I vote with my dollar.
After watching ‘The True Cost” one of the first thoughts I had was “well this doesn’t apply to me, I don’t buy from those stores”.
But that’s a cop out. I might not buy from H&M or own a shit load of clothing in general, but I have enough active wear to wear a different item every day for at least two weeks.
I also wear undies and socks.
I wear a uniform to work that is provided by my employer.
So what about everything else?
My initial plan was to do a full wardrobe audit but then I realized just how much stuff I actually have.
So I started with the active wear, actually just the short sleeved t-shirts and tanks in the active wear section.
Disclaimer: This also does not include the dirty laundry basket!
Here’s what I found out:
From 20 items
1x Made In Indonesia
1x Made in Vietnam
2x Made in Malaysia
6x Made in Thailand
1x Made in Bangladesh
9x Made in China
Not a single item Made in Australia.
75% of the ‘Made in China’ t-shirts were the “free” shirts that come with a marathon race entry. (Yes I still have them and yes I still wear them, waste not want not!)
100% were a polyester or polyester blended material.
My head started spinning.
Questions like “can I buy Made in Australia active wear?”, “Does ‘Made in China’ automatically equal bad factories, bad environmental policies?” and “Is polyester bad?” rumbled through my overwhelmed brain.
My solution, google, knowing full well that big companies lie and that you can literally find anything on the internet to support an argument.
Here’s just some of what I found out.
Polyester is a petroleum based material which is generally speak absolutely terrible for the environment. (Read all about it here)
But it’s not completely a lost cause. There are some pro’s and con’s.
- It’s made from petroleum- NAY
- It uses less water to produce than natural fibres- YAY
- It can’t be dyed using natural or low impact dyes- NAY
- It is recyclable!- YAY
So what can we do to make choices, well we can look around for recycled polyester active wear, we can purchase second hand when we can and we can research the companies we are giving our dollars to to establish how accountable and transparent they are being to their consumers about the factories they use.
Patagonia is the company that really sticks out when you research ethicially conscious active wear companies. They are transparent when it comes to the different fibres they use and what is organic, what is recycled etc.
Granted you are going to pay a little bit more but I think it’s worth it to know where your garments come from.
Locally, I was stoked to find a couple of active wear companies that are pushing the limits and breaking barriers in the conscious active wear sphere.
Kusaga Athletic, based in Sydney, have created the World’s Greenest T-shirt, a t-shirt they claim uses the least amount of water of any other garment.
Vegan Athletic are a Melbourne based company who are making sustainable cycling gear.
I haven’t tried either of their products yet, but it’s super exciting that there are options out there if you are willing to look for them.
Looking forward to trying them out when I need new gear and really thinking about if I actually NEED it or just WANT it and the past and future life of that garment.
Think a little