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Think About What You Wear
Christian Eidem, of Life Natural, urges everyone making a New Year’s resolution to get fit to consider what they are going to wear to the gym. “An active life is very important but everyone who exercises has a responsibility to think carefully about the fabric from which their workout kit is made”. The entrepreneur, Chris Eidem’s company produce specially treated fabrics which control the odor from exercise and so require fewer washes. They use a natural product, Peppermint Oil, to treat the fabrics used in outdoor clothes brands like Colombia Sportswear and North Face and high street retailers like Marks and Spencer and John Lewis,
The fashion editor of the Wall Street Journal recently worn tee shirts treated with Peppermint oil for three months without washing them to see if the product worked or if he would stink. You can see his conclusions here. For him they worked and he did not notice odors which means that he saved a month’s worth of laundry. This matters because of two key things.
Firstly, whenever you wash fabrics, especially nylon, acrylics and polyesters, the washing cycle takes microplastics out of the fabric and into the water cycle which means, ultimately, into the oceans. 60% of the fabric used globally is plastic based and it is estimated that 35% of microplastics present in the oceans come from textiles that have been laundered. It is these micoplastics that threaten the eco-system of the seas.
Secondly, you need to be careful which alternative fabrics you choose. As Chris Ediem says, “Many manufactures are now using Silver to treat their fabrics to reduce odors and the need to wash them. But silver is itself a pollute”.
Anders Finsson, Senior Environmental Advisor of the Swedish Water & Wastewater
Association (Svenskt Vatten) agrees and presented the findings of his research at the recent Biocides conference in Vienna. Finsson warns: “Silver is used in items such as sportswear because of its antibacterial properties. What many consumers do not know is that silver is classified as a biocide; that is to say, a toxin. In the long run, the silver found in the water cycle can pose a significant threat to the wealth of life in the sediments of our lakes and seas. Sediment-dwelling creatures and organisms play a crucial role in the biological networks created by nature.”
The silver leaches out during the washing of the clothes. The Swedish Water & Wastewater Association has “carried out washes in a laboratory setting and can demonstrate that leaching takes place in all silver treatments on sportswear. Between 31% and 90%, with a median value of 72% of the silver had leached out after 10 washes. The worst case was a pair of tights which had been treated with Polygiene and bought at www.fitnessbutiken.se, and contained only one tenth of the silver content after ten washes. The remainder – 90% – had leached into the wastewater.” The full report can be read here. Polygiene have vigorously contested the findings of the report.
Chris Eidem’s peppermint treated fabric achieves the same odor free results but without the detrimental impact: “You have to be very careful in choosing the fabrics from which your exercise gear is made. Avoid silver and embrace peppermint oil treated fabric to reduce washes and your microplastic footprint. Stick to your New Year’s Resolutions but try to do it sustainably”.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.