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Six Myths About Going Green
By John Veach
November-December 2011

Generally, consumers are aware of the need to conserve our natural resources and to reduce the wasteful exploitation of our valuable energy supply. But we have not as an industry communicated to our customers the satisfying benefits of personally participating in the war on waste. We tend to complicate the matter with an overabundance of conflicting information. By conveying one simple idea – the need to end the addiction to waste – we can emotionally connect with our clients and know that we (and they) are making a difference. To get there, we must overcome the myths associated with going green.

Myth #1: I alone can’t make a difference.

This is the most obvious myth. Great journeys start with the first step, worldwide changes begin with a single thought in one person’s mind, and on and on. It takes approximately six reprocessed two-liter plastic bottles to make one knit shirt. That is an exceptionally easy message to convey: One shirt purchased by one person can save six plastic bottles from being discarded into our landfills! Now keep multiplying that, and you can see the huge amount of waste that can be eliminated. One person can make a difference.

Myth #2: Recycled products will only produce low-grade attire.

Not true. Post-consumer recycled polyester – which comes from polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET, can produce 100% poly knit polo and crew-neck shirts and can be used in fabric blends with organic cotton. Many manufacturers – including my company, Century Place Inc. (asi/85988) – are making knit golf shirts from recycled fibers which are extremely durable, multicolored, comfortable and very pleasing in appearance. The same goes for uniform and work shirts.

Myth #3: I can’t be certain these products are eco-friendly.

Many manufacturers do offer certifications that these products are made from recycled fibers. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Myth #4: It costs more to support and purchase eco-friendly products.

Not always true. Most new garments produced from recycled fibers are available at no additional cost. And in addition, the high price of cotton has shrunk the price gap for organic cotton. It’s a great thing to tell customers they can purchase green apparel without significant additional cost. Ask suppliers for their price comparisons regarding the price differences for buying green. You may be surprised.

Myth #5: Eco-friendly apparel doesn’t need my support.

Green apparel is just like anything in business: Without money or support, it won’t flourish. We can all sweeten the eco economy by buying, using and producing attire made from recycled products. By doing so, we are encouraging the textile industry to explore and develop better fibers, fabric and garments which can be made from earth-friendly products.

Myth #6: We have an abundant supply of natural resources.

This is perhaps the largest myth we must overcome. Many of the resources currently used to produce fibers are either taken from fossil fuels or rely on water and energy to be manufactured. Previously underdeveloped countries are increasing their consumption at lightning speed – and first-world countries like ours are not letting up. If we cannot develop or locate alternate sources of natural resources, then we need to recycle those resources we have available. Either we change our current manner of consumption, or we deplete our supply and terminate our way of life. 

Each of us has a responsibility to contribute to our planet’s future. Only when the consuming population, the businesses and the manufacturers commit themselves can we start the war on waste. Consumers are well aware of the need to conserve our natural resources and to reduce wasteful exploitation, but we need to convince them to make that choice with their purchasing decisions. Recycled-fiber apparel is a start, and there is so much more beyond that. There is satisfaction in knowing we can make a difference so that future generations will enjoy our beautiful world.

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