The Fabric of our Lives

Okay. Boy did I ever open a can of worms in my Planet Health research this past week. Here goes. I was looking up the recycling record of Target, a store I frequent and take plastic bags to for recycling. I wanted to be sure they actually get recycled. Anyway, I came upon some information that got me digging into areas I had not previously thought about. My clothes. Fabric. In particular the new fabrics we all love.

Polyester has been around a long, long time, so I wasn’t surprised when I read that it is made of plastic, disappointed – but not surprised. Then Spandex popped into my head. Its stretchability makes it so popular – especially in athletic wear. It is plastic, specifically polyurethane plastic also used to make the foam for furniture cushions and mattresses. That stopped me dead in my tracks. I just bought a new foam mattress and never once thought about what it was made of!

Plastic is an oil based product, so not eco-friendly at the outset. However, the one, tiny saving grace is that the big industries of China are saving and using their foam scraps to make the fabrics such as lycra, spandex, and elastane. Here’s the kicker though. Each and every time the material is washed, tiny (yes very tiny) flecks of the plastic are dislodged from the piece of clothing, entering our water system – and never bio-degrades. No wonder fish, coral beds, and sea life are dying. Gag me now.

Do you know how difficult it is to buy 100% wool or cotton clothing? Especially if you are allergic to wool, as I am. We must demand new and better fabrics. I know a lot of work has been done with bamboo and hemp, both renewable and I hope, non-toxic to the environment. Has anyone else done research along these lines? On the flip side, the things that we can do to improve the health of our planet are astounding. There really are a lot of ways we can make a difference. My new one will be to ask my favorite retailer when they plan to start recycling clothing.

Update. I have found re-usable produce bags to bring home your fruits and veggies from the store. Also, a product to replace cling wraps that is made from silica (sand) and is available on Amazon.

Source: Barbara Tyner WordPress Blog

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