Turns out the apparel industry pollutes – a lot – and traditional t-shirt manufacturing can be a dirty business. That’s why we at Coosa Riverkeeper are so pumped to introduce a 100% sustainable, eco-friendly, incredibly soft, great fitting, well-made shirt that fits with the soul; er “shoal”, of who we are and what we’re about.
Our new Coosa Riverkeeper t-shirts are a tri-blend fabric made of 50% Repreve® polyester (spun from recycled plastic); 25% organic, US grown, combed, ring spun cotton; and 25% TENCEL™ Modal (made from sustainably harvested beech trees). To top it all off, we’ve printed them using eco-friendly water-based inks. Each shirt uses 6 recycled poly water bottles and all fabric is spun, knitted, processed and finished in the USA. The fabric is cut and sewn into finished shirts in Haiti.
- Recycled Polyester: America alone disposes of 29 billion plastic water bottles per year. The plastic in these bottles has the same chemical makeup as polyester, so they can be cleaned and processed into polyester yarn, reducing waste. Every tri-blend shirt contains the equivalent of 6 plastic water bottles!
- Organic Cotton: Cotton makes up 50% of the all fiber used in clothing and other textiles, worldwide. More pesticides are used on GMO/chemical cotton than any other crop worldwide. It’s also a very thirsty plant, needing 500-700 gallons of water to produce a single t-shirt. And 98% of cotton in the US has been genetically engineered. Our shirts are made using organic, non-GMO, cotton grown in the US, and the cotton content of our tri-blend shirt is only 25%.
- TENCEL™ Modal: TENCEL™ Modal is the secret to the luxurious softness of our tri-blend shirt. A next -generation viscose (plant fiber), the TENCEL™ Modal used in these garments is made from sustainably harvested beech trees in PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) certified European forests. Beech trees regenerate from the root system and thus do not require replanting or use of irrigation. Harvesting is more like cutting the grass! Lenzing uses a proprietary, low-impact process to break the wood pulp down into fibers. Read all about it here.
- Responsible Sourcing: In addition to the direct impact to the environment, most materials are sourced right here in the US, shipped to Haiti to be sewn into shirts, and shipped back to the US for sale. A typical t-shirt will travel 16,000 miles: cotton grown in one country, shipped to another to be processed into fiber, and another to be spun into yarn, and another to be knitted into fabric, and so on. Most of this shipping is done using bunker fuel, a heavy oil residue so toxic most countries won’t let ships using it within 200 miles of shore.Haiti, on the other hand, is a mere 500 miles from Miami and that’s as far as our fabric and shirts have to go – a significant reduction in shipping.