One of the questions I get asked most is how to determine if an item is eco-friendly or sustainable. Now, obviously the best way to ensure you are buying sustainably is to buy from a brand that is outspoken about its sustainable and ethical practices. But, I understand that that’s not always possible for a variety of reasons. I know I don’t buy exclusively from sustainable brands (although I try to). So, one of the best ways to determine the carbon footprint of the item you bought is to look at the material it is made out of. Certain materials have a much smaller footprint because they use less water and chemicals, and produce less waste. A good rule of thumb is to stick to natural materials and avoid synthetic materials like polyester. One of my favorite natural materials is linen. Here’s why:
- Linen is made from flax and fully biodegradable (when untreated/dyed).
- Every part of the flax plant can be used to create a useful product, making production cost effective and minimally wasteful.
- Flax is resilient and can be grown in poor soil, so it uses far less pesticides than other crops. It is also a very productive crop, yielding a far greater amount of fiber than cotton.
- It’s strong and anti-bacterial.
- Linen is a natural insulator – so it keeps you cool in the summer and traps warmth in the winter.
- Producing linen requires very little water and emits 1/4 of the carbon that cotton does per pound of fiber.
- It’s perfect for that effortless, just-came-from-the-beach look. Whether its linen trousers, a linen button down, or an oversized linen blazer, you can wear the material pretty much anywhere and for any occasion.
So, next time you’re shopping, keep an eye out for linen. It’s gentle on your skin and the planet!