1 green Thing: You have to read the garment labels!

By Jan Herbert

Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Cotton has long been my preferred fabric for clothing. It breathes, it wicks, and it is natural. Assuming that being natural is being green, discovering a garment made of fabulous cotton always leaves me with a great feeling. Some articles contain information about recycled materials such as plastic bottles, but then my reading at www.greenlivingonline.com offered the following about fabrics and fibers not thought of previously:

υ Organic Cotton: This is a healthy alternative to conventionally-grown cotton because it receives no treatment with pesticides or other chemicals. Purchase it in natural shades (cream, pale green, light brown) or when colored with vegetable-based dyes.

υ Linen: Long-lasting, allergy-free, breathable, and naturally anti-bacterial. Look for true linen made from flax plant, a crop that requires five times less pesticides and fertilizers than conventional cotton.

υ Hemp: This crop requires no chemicals to grow and is drought-tolerant! Naturally resistant to mold and ultraviolet light, the fiber is considered to be one of the Earth’s longest, strongest and most durable.

υ Alpaca: Harvesting of this wool is cruelty-free, and it requires little or no chemical treatment to create fiber products. An average alpaca eats less per pound than most livestock, and their digestive system yields a naturally pH-balanced fertilizer (now that is an eco-animal!).

υ Soy Fabric: Often referred to as “vegetable cashmere,” soy fabric is absorbent, warm, resistant to bacteria, and biodegradable. Chemicals used to process soy are recycled and used again.

It’s more label reading for me. I wonder, will garments made of those fabrics be found in thrift stores?

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at JanHerbert@RockfordParkdistrict.org.

From the October 7-13, 2009 issue

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