Earth Day 2021 presents the perfect opportunity to talk about how we can all be more sustainable in our clothing choices, both as consumers and creators. But in order to make a tangible difference in the fight against climate change, the apparel industry needs to put in work for the other 364 days of the year. This Earth Day, it is a relief to note that the world is beginning to see that shopping with ecologically unsound companies has real-life environmental repercussions.
Let’s get back to basics. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) reported in 2018 that a whopping 85% of textiles get sent to landfills. That’s 21 billion tons of clothes each year — and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
So, What Can We Do?
Investing your money in ethical brands is a great way to divest from the apparel industry’s waste carousel. At RECLINER, we’re all about slow consumption and less about fast fashion. This means we take the time to create and perfect fewer products while maximizing the functionality and utility of those products and their eco-positive impact.
Address Carbon Emissions
RECLINER is making positive strides towards carbon-neutrality. In 2020 we reduced our carbon emissions by 70%, prioritizing boat over air freight. This was a big lift for us - but there is still work to be done. According to the UNECE, the apparel industry accounts for 10% of carbon emissions worldwide - and as of today, global CO2 emissions are at an all-time high of 416.46 parts per million.
To put that into perspective, at the start of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 emissions were at roughly 266 parts per million. Although, one of the few silver linings of the pandemic, according to Nature magazine, is that a drop in economic and social activities reduced global carbon emissions by 6.4%.
Reduce Water Pollution
At RECLINER our core Dreamtech® range uses zero pesticides and AZO-free dyes — reducing water waste substantially. Our fiber development partners use green technologies that conserve water and contribute positively to the environment. Making mindful choices about supply chain partners counts.
A recent United Nations report highlighted how the global apparel and textile industries contribute to water scarcity through excessive freshwater consumption: 79 billion cubic meters of water a year on average. In fact, an estimated 80% to 90% of the wastewater comes back to the environment untreated. We have to fix this.
When purchasing ecologically unsound garments, an act as simple and necessary as washing your clothes can contribute to synthetics pollution in our oceans. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), washing clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean every year. At RECLINER, our products are naturally deodorizing, meaning less laundry — and less water waste. Win win.
As outlined in Greenpeace's "Timeout for Fast Fashion" report, synthetic microfibers that wash away from synthetic clothing are not easily degradable. They can linger in rivers, seas, and oceans for years — if not decades. When these synthetic microfibers reach bodies of water, they disrupt the feeding activity of animals and risk destruction of entire ecosystems. Alongside kindness to skin, this is a key reason why we use naturally sourced, USDA-approved bio-based fibers to create our products.
We’re proud to state that RECLINER packaging is now 100% biodegradable - presenting you with a finished product that’s not only dreamy, but also ecologically conscious. As we like to say, every morning gives us the opportunity to get better.