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Beyond Plastic Bags ~ a thought about our clothes

>> Sunday, 12 June 2011

While the crusade is on about plastic bags and other non bio degradables around us, one most important thing we forget about is the footprint of our clothes. I had this post in mind for a really long time now. However, I could not sum up my thoughts to speak about our clothing choices.

Even the green crusade brigade gives very little thought to the earth friendly-ness of the clothes worn. Little do we realize that all the polymer based products - Rayon, Nylon, Terricot, chiffon, synthetic crape (crepe), spandex, Acrylic etc are all non bio-degradable.

I have seen women in my family and around me wear Nylon Sarees (Nylex) and it hit me a few years ago, that the whole wardrobe is an eventual toxic landfill. That is just a part of the whole deal. Clothes for men and children fall under this category as well. The issue includes every easy to maintain fabric we find on shelves.

I go blank as to how this silent, most ignored and most dangerous plastic contribution may be stopped...If we all were to shift to cotton, hemp, jute or wool, the demand for these natural fiber would explode and lead to issues associated with over consumption and over production, processing and what not...I would appreciate your thoughts.

Note:  And another point to note here is that routing non biodegradable junk/garbage to landfill is not a sensible solution. It is as bad as dumping our trash into the nearest water source (lakes, rivers, oceans). We need to understand the impact of leeching, plastic breakdown and the resulting impact on the fertility of the land (the landfill and a few kilometers around it), safety of water sources (running and ground), and the air near the landfill.


Anpu 12 June 2011 at 17:29 angle of thought....! There is no easy way...right. Awarness, and a robust plan to handle the large mass requirement of natural fabric would probably help...
Certionaly food for thought...

rama 13 June 2011 at 09:26  

As Anpu says, it is indeed food for thought.
One needs to think and understand how bad really are the things that are made out to be good.
I can only think of this quote:

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: "Look at this Godawful mess." ~Art Buchwald, 1970
I will come up with a better response, as it does need a lot of pondering.

Sudha 13 June 2011 at 11:34  

thanks anpu

@rama - wonderful quote!!

Iniyaal 22 June 2011 at 09:27  

The first time I am reading about this much needed subject on the WWW. It has been long since I switched to wearing cotton. It is so much more comfortable than synthetic material :) And buying cotton does a whole lot of good to the economy of cotton farmers and handloom weavers.

Rodosee 15 September 2011 at 00:10  

Sudha, lovely post and total agreement, as with most of your writing. But just wanted to point out that rayon actually is biodegradable. Korean researchers (Park, et al, 2004) actually tested this and found it breaks down FASTER than cotton! Hence the resurgence of bamboo textiles, for example. Another oddly degradable one that you haven't mentioned is acetate, also made (like rayon) from cellulose. The catch with acetate, though, is that while it's production process and sources aren't all that eco-unfriendly, it can only be dry-cleaned as it deteriorates fast when wet... so overall, not a happy choice!

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