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BUYING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CLOTHES
In recent years, more and more people are becoming ‘green’ and are searching for eco friendly ways to do most things. Eco friendly household items have become more popular, as have alternative forms of energy, and hybrid vehicles are being chosen in several cases instead of regular gasoline and diesel automobiles. Considering all of this, it’s not surprising that people are now embracing eco friendly clothes also. The market for eco friendly products is set to expand as people witness with their own eyes the results of global warming.
Concerning clothes, there’s a lot of confusion with what’s regarded as environmentally friendly and what’s not. Explanations of three of the main materials used in garments will now follow. Hopefully, you can then have a clear understanding of what is eco friendly to wear for the environment.
One fabric considered to be environmentally friendly but one that people may be less aware of is hemp. Common clothes such as pants and coats may be made from hemp which as a crop comes from the ground. To determine if your clothes are made from hemp, simply check the label, or if you’re looking to get clothing made from hemp, ask the retailer if the material is organic and fair trade. Making sure that it is environmentally friendly can be hindered by the fact that making hemp is cheap. You just need to check beforehand that it is okay.
Nowadays many apparel designers and manufacturers are becoming more environmentally conscious. That means you can find even the latest trendy clothing in styles that are green friendly. For example, you can buy bow bandeau tops that are both made in America and made in a manner that’s kind to the environment.
As it is lightweight and nice to wear, cotton fiber is a usual material in clothing. Normal cotton fiber, however, is not normally prepared in an eco friendly manner due to it being an agricultural product. It is not environmentally friendly that fertilizers and huge amounts of water are required to make cotton. Another environmental problem is the utilization of damaging insecticide.
The cultivation itself is not usually sustainable and most of the time cotton is not fair trade. If you inquire if the cotton has been organically farmed then you may be able to find products that are environmentally friendly. The fact that eco friendly products do get more publicity means that numerous shops will stock cotton items that are earth friendly. Who’s buying these kind of items? Just about everyone.
Finally, we have wool, a truly plush and comfortable fabric used in lots of nice clothing. The fabric will be seen in numerous clothing such as cardigans and coats. Wool in numerous cases will be good for the environment because it comes from animals but there are things to watch out for. If the sheep producing the wool were fed food grown organically then the wool is viewed to be organic. The treatment of the sheep is also something you would want to have knowledge of. Free range sheep growing is to be promoted even if we have to pay more for our wool. This needs to be watched with great care as usually sheep are not grown like this.
A lot more people are experiencing the positives of environmentally friendly products, so don’t be astonished to find more earth friendly products in the subsequent months and years.
DOES ORGANIC MEAN NON-GMO?
Lately, GMO products have been hit with some bad publicity. I recently went to a local grocery store in Palatine, Illinois and took a photo of this USDA Organic certified wheat package. In case you can’t see it, this is a whole wheat Gemelli brand wheat product with the fancy USDA Organic logo. However, an organic label alone does not guarantee that you are getting a non GMO product.
The difference is what each of these terms describe. The term organic is used to define how a product is grown. GMO and non GMO are adjectives that describe whether the product is genetically altered in some way. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. An organism that is genetically modified can still be grown organically.
GMO plants have their genetic code changed in a way deemed beneficial by scientists, not by nature. Before 1997 the USDA Organic label did not specify whether or not the produce grown organically was non GMO or if GMO plants needed to be excluded from the definition of organic. Over the years the USDA has changed it’s stance.
The USDA government website outlines USDA organic standards that describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use. For organic farms and processors, the following apply:
- Only use approved materials
- Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
- Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
- Support animal health and welfare
- Do not use genetically modified ingredients
- Receive annual onsite inspections
- Separate organic food from non-organic food
These standards specifically state that USDA certified organic products are in fact non GMO products as well. This is not necessarily true for all organic standards and certainly has not been true at all times in the past.
So the USDA Organic certification on a product is the government’s guarantee that these products will contain only non GMO ingredients. If you want to avoid GMO products and go only for the non GMO, then this is as sure of a bet as you can get at the grocery store.
If you don’t want to buy exclusively USDA certified organic products but would still like to eat non GMO foods there is another way to go about your grocery shopping. It is common for produce to use short numbers called PLU codes, or price-look-ups, to indicate what kind of product is behind the label. It can be used to indicate manufacturer, color, etc. It is often used to indicate growing conditions. The major benefit of the PLU system is that each PLU code is unique to each product, regardless of where you buy it. This is key for those people going the non GMO route.