-Anna McHugh ’17
While tailgating for the homecoming game this weekend, you may have noticed students wearing “Green Raider” t-shirts.
These students were not only promoting sustainability by providing tailgaters with bags for their recycling, but they were also wearing shirts from SustainU – a clothing company that exemplifies sustainability in their textile and manufacturing practices. This brand aims to change the way clothes are made by focusing on environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Clothing manufacturing has very significant impacts on the natural world. The production and transportation of clothing products require massive amounts of water and petroleum can result in a carbon footprint of up to 12.5 kg of carbon dioxide per kg of fabric.
SustainU uses recycled fabrics, conserving 712 gallons of water per shirt. Two pounds of recycled polyester yarn can conserve a gallon of gasoline. These practices help to reduce the company’s carbon footprint dramatically.
Many textile and clothing companies currently outsource labor which, over time, has resulted in over 1 million jobs lost in this industry. Through outsourcing, these companies pay lower wages and force workers to work longer hours with little to no breaks.
SustainU values the importance of social and economic sustainability. The company aims to reinvest in American manufacturing to promote growth in local communities while reducing transportation and other associated environmental and economic costs.
It is the small steps we take, like supporting a sustainable clothing brand or recycling at a tailgate, that will add up to make a big impact on the environment and people locally and globally.
Watch Chris Yura’s TED Talk about SustainU and it’s origin.