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Made in USA, Recycled Fiber T-shirt Company Finds Success in Sustainability

Made in USA tshirt SustainU

U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!

If you’re feeling patriotic with the World Cup tournament and 4th of July, you’re going to want to hear about SustainU.

SustainU is a 100% recycled fiber Made in USA t-shirt company that opened in Morgantown, W.Va. about five years ago. The shirts are manufactured in North Carolina and are budget-friendly, starting at $12 per shirt.

Since opening, the company has produced shirts for Ford, Budweiser, Ben & Jerry’s, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo, among others. Founder Chris Yura, a former Notre Dame football player and fashion model, is an outspoken advocate for the future of sustainable business.

“It’s amazing to see what’s possible when you put an idea out there that makes sense,” Yura said. Regardless of whether he’s talking to a Fortune 500 company or a mom and pop shop: “whenever you start talking to them about — ‘we’re creating jobs and not outsourcing; we’re using things that are not hurting our environment’ — when you start talking about those things, it’s amazing the support, and I’m extremely grateful for it.”

During a conversation, he rattles off statistics about the environmental benefits of recycled fiber and American-made production, for example:

• Using recycled cotton rather than conventionally grown cotton saves about 712 gallons of water per shirt.

• The carbon footprint for a conventional t-shirt, including spinning, knitting, dyeing, finishing, cutting, sewing, and transportation, can be as much as 12.5 kg of CO2 per kg of fabric.

Yura, also a mentor for social entrepreneurs, believes the Millennial generation will be known for its interest in creating social good.

“Millennials and the younger generation want to not just do something as a career, but do something that they really care about, not just good business ideas, also good social and environmental ideas,” Yura said. “I think people will definitely look out for that in the future; not just what they’re creating, but how they’re doing it.”

You can hear more about Yura’s company and philosophy at his TEDx talk:

Image Courtesy of SustainU

Written by Kelly Taber

Practicing gratitude, living simply, communications and journalism geek, susty is my style. Wife and mom to the two best kids in the universe. Clean, mountain air and mineral water are my favorite commodities.

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