Published on February 4th, 2010 | by Delia Montgomery2
Ecogear Praises Recycled and Nixes Bamboo
Ecogear apparels are made from 100% recycled material. The company was founded early 2008 by Robert Hii, who is a 25-year fashion veteran with a passion to create clothing with only slight impacts on our planet.
Robert says it took more than a year to complete their ecowear collections as the most eco-friendly clothing in existence. His team went through lots of different materials and processes to conclude one without a cesspool of chemicals to produce and dispose. Besides the usual organic cotton and hemp, they investigated bamboo.
Bamboo manufacturers never did certify their products as made from bamboo pulp, ‒ at 100% or less. Suspicion grew by touch alone because bamboo felt like rayons made from other cellulosic fibers.
Following EcoLogo™ Program standards for no bleach or dye, Robert sought alternatives for a long time. His work team thought the best option was bamboo in its greige form, which is undyed.
Then the Competition Bureau and its US counterpart, the Federal Trade Commission, came down on bamboo textiles in 2009. Faced with a huge consumer protest against the claims made by brands and companies that sold bamboo textiles, the Competition Bureau adopted standards that forced these companies to show proof of bamboo’s claims to be eco-friendly or antibacterial. Those businesses were unable to meet the requirements to make their claims.
In conclusion, none of the natural fibers were chosen. The bleach and heavy metals used to strip them of their naturally occurring oils added to Robert’s dismay. He didn’t like the amount of drinkable water used to clean raw fibers, nor the addition of chemical dyestuffs and formaldehyde to promote color fastness.
So Robert’s attention shifted to recycled fibers. Excitement grew, but they couldn’t get the rough coarse texture out enough for clothing comfort. Frustrations mounted for months. Then miraculously, Robert was introduced to a knitter in North Carolina who had been experimenting with European recycled yarn. The texture was soft and manufacturing standards for durability and consistency were high.
Ecogear landed some contracts with environmental groups and government departments to produce t-shirts. Now they sell their recycled finished goods to Sears.ca, who features the brand on their website. Impressive sales at Sears enabled Ecogear to expand beyond t-shirts to yoga wear, athletic apparel, and other market segments.
Ecogear promotes eco-friendly lifestyles and offers newly added items like bar soaps, wooden cutlery, biodegradable bags and jewelry made from tree nuts and seeds. You know there’s no green-washing in this brand of goods, so check ‘em out and let me know how that recycled material feels.
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