Here’s the naked truth about clothing, microplastics, and the planet: everything we, as a planet, produce comes at a cost to the environment. The 30A Company, along with other clothing manufacturers, is onboard with the mission to help minimize this cost. The goal for all of us is to do less harm and help reduce humanity’s footprint.
First, Do Less Harm.
Open any one of your dresser drawers or just take a quick look at what you’re wearing right now. You’ll likely find polyester, nylon, acrylic, rayon, or spandex in the mix of fibers used to make your favorite go-to clothes. Everything from yoga pants to office attire is more than likely made from some combination of these synthetic materials.
The clothing industry relies more and more on synthetic materials to keep up with ever-growing fashion demands. And each time we wash clothes, tiny microfibers (fine synthetic yarn strands) shed into the water.
The last thing most anyone wants is to send synthetic micro-anything into the ocean where it can do harm to both marine life and the environment. 30A and other clothing brands continue their commitment to reduce the amount of plastic that is going into our landfills and oceans while paying close attention to the microfiber issues that arise.
What sparked 30A’s recycled clothing line?
In 2015 JoAnn Ribaudo, 30A’s chief operating officer, was on a fishing trip to the Seychelles islands and was horrified with the amount of plastic trash that she saw wash up on the beaches of these beautiful remote islands every day she was there. When she returned home, she began researching ways that 30A could make a difference with their clothing line by using recycled plastic. Her research led her to discover Unifi.
Unifi has made it their business to take the billions of one-time use plastic bottles that are thrown away each year and recycle them to make things we need and wear on a more regular basis – fashion!
Unifi’s Repreve fiber takes plastic bottles from landfills and in a shred-weave-wear process uses them to make clothing. Companies ranging from 30A to Ford Motor Company use Repreve fiber in their products.
The 30A Company partnered with Repreve in 2016 to provide a high quality line of shirts and sweatshirts made from recycled bottles in a shred-weave-wear.
“We spent almost a year perfecting the softness of our recycled clothing line. People think a shirt made from plastic won’t be soft or breathe, but then they get one of our shirts and their minds are blown,” says Ribaudo. As of March 2019, 30A has removed 2.9 million plastic bottles from landfills and oceans through the production of their recycled line.
High-Quality Means Less Micro-shedding
Along with other environmentally conscious clothing manufacturers, the 30A Company is aware that although major steps have been taken to reroute our planet’s plastic obsession into a more responsible and viable use, a micro problem still persists. All synthetic fibers shed, and recycled clothing is no different in that respect. However, it has been found that higher quality garments – such as those made by 30A – shed less in the wash than their lower quality cousins.
As the impact of plastic waste has grown, millions of people have made a considerable effort to minimize the amount of plastic they use in their day-to-day lives. Just remember, a small step can lead to a big change.
Here are some ways you can do even more:
• Wash clothes less frequently.
• Purchase higher-quality items that shed less. Avoid cheaply made clothing that sheds more.
• Purchase a washing bag that filters microplastics released in the wash, catching them before they can escape.
• Use laundry liquid soap. The powders scrub and loosen clothing fibers causing more to be released.
• Set your washing machine temperature to a colder setting. Warmer temperature settings damage clothes and release more fibers.
Sustainable, soft and stylish, 30A’s recycled shirts, sweatshirts and other apparel are available at 30AGear.com, at official 30A Stores in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and in 275+ retail locations across the United States.
CHRISTY (CHICK) HUGHES is a freelance writer and a respiratory therapist living in South Walton. She and her husband moved to the beach in 2000. One sunset, and the couple never looked back. Find her at her blog chickhughes.com.