If we want to celebrate the Earth all year long, and not just in April for Earth Day, then conscious decisions must be made when it comes to what we eat, how we travel and what we wear. The Merrimack Company has been providing customers of Mill No. 5 and the Greater Merrimack Valley with a choice in clothing and a chance to be better informed about our purchases and the costs to the planet.
What many might not realize is that fashion is the third largest polluter behind energy and transportation because of the amount of water used and the amount of carbon emissions that come from production.
If you are a faithful customer of cheap clothing, maybe coming from a discount store or a monthly subscription box, you may want to read on.
The production of apparel has risen over 60% in the last decade and it is rising because of Fast Fashion – cheap, disposable clothing. On average, people are only wearing a piece of clothing five times before they discard it. What Ken Michienzi, owner of the Merrimack Company suggests doing change your consumption habits and to lessen your impact on the environment, is:
Wear what you own for longer
Buy higher quality items so they will last longer
But using materials that are more environmentally conscious
Buy second hand clothing when you can
Don’t buy a piece of clothing unless you really need it.
Did you know Organic cotton uses 90% less water than regular cotton in production and produces half the carbon emissions as traditional cotton? It also doesn’t use any of the toxic chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides that they spray on traditional cotton. Cotton alone accounts for about 25% of the world’s pesticides and 10% of the world’s insecticides. Hemp has almost the same properties as Organic Cotton, and it doesn’t need pesticides to grow quickly. Recently The Merrimack Company has recently started carrying dog toy ropes made out of pure Hemp because of it’s environmental properties and because of its antimicrobial
properties for a dog’s teeth, and they always use Organic Cotton for their beanies and apparel.
When choosing clothing items that are more functional and utilitarian look for those that list and contain high amounts of Organic Cotton, Hemp or Polyester made from recycled plastics. Nylons, Polyester and Gortex are a type of plastic what are all petroleum based and are therefore mined using large amounts of water and energy. Recycled Polyester is made from recycled water bottles and are thus diverted from landfills. The process of crushing, then melting the bottles to be turned back into Polyester uses significantly less energy.
When a company is creating quality items, they are usually building more environmentally responsible materials, but as consumers we must think of the supply chain and the factories as well. The Merrimack Company is Global Organic Textile Standards (GRTS) Certified, Fair Trade Certified and all of their manufactures pay fair wages.
“Everything we wear, or use is going to have an impact on the planet. No matter how responsible we try to be. Not everything is sustainable, or eco-friendly and we can do better. We can choose things that have a smaller impact.” – Ken
The Merrimack Company is open during Mill No. 5’s open shop hours. Head to this article if you want to learn more of their sustainability practices.