How hemp clothing could help save the world

This article originally appeared on Cannabis & Tech Today and appears here with permission.

According to a study conducted by NASA, pandemic restrictions have reduced global nitrogen dioxide concentrations by almost 20%.

The temporary confinement of humanity created an immediate drop in air pollution.

Stay-at-home orders have forced many people to drastically change their daily routines to accommodate the unprecedented new normal.

This included less time spent traveling or driving and more time working from home.

People are starting to see their impact on the environment and how a small gesture like driving less can create dramatic change.

Staying home eliminated daily distractions that kept people from thinking about important issues like sustainability.

Many people now know how to reduce their carbon footprint.

For many people, this journey begins in the closet.

Airing the fashion industry’s dirty laundry

In a study conducted shortly after the start of the pandemic, 67% of fashion consumers considered the use of sustainable materials an important purchasing factor.

When researching clothing brands, environmentally conscious companies can be a deciding factor in determining whether consumers buy from them.

Although the fashion industry is not often brought up in conversations about sustainability, it is one of the biggest contributors to unnecessary waste, water pollution, plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse effect.

In fact, according to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), globally we produce 13 million tons of textile waste every year, 95% of which could be reused or recycled.

The most common fabrics found in the clothes we buy – cotton, nylon and polyester to name a few – are often laden with harmful petrochemicals and pesticides.

Moreover, they use a lot of water to produce.

From cultivation to production, hemp could be the sustainable solution the fashion industry needs to do its part for a better planet.

Pamela West, a dedicated hemp fashion activist who shared her expertise at the Spring Emerge virtual cannabis conference and expo, stressed the importance of knowing where our clothes are made, as the manufacturing process is extremely dirty. from an environmental point of view.

“The reality is there are other products out there that contain recycled hemp or recycled plastic. Those things do exist. Access is the hardest part because hemp is expensive,” West said.

“You want to look at the labels on your clothes and what’s in them. Look where they were made and how the people who made them were treated.

Changing the world one t-shirt at a time

Due to the negative stigma of the cannabis plant, it has always been very difficult to access clothing made from sustainable hemp.

The groundbreaking passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the cultivation of hemp in the United States for the first time since it was banned in 1937, finally gave designers access to hemp.

For the first time, they could legally change their manufacturing structures and move away from the traditional cotton industry.

Rob Jungmann, owner and founder of popular hemp clothing brand Jungmaven, has been working in the world of hemp fashion since creating his first hemp t-shirt in the 90s.

When Jungmann started, he worked in a small surf shop in Central America, before the hemp fad was even a term.

“I see the hemp market growing every year. In the 1990s, we had to make detailed hang tags explaining all the benefits of industrial hemp – people kicked us out of stores thinking it was weed,” Jungmann said. “Shirts were heavy and stiff, but people wanted t-shirts that were light and devoured, so that’s changed dramatically in 28 years.”

Although Jungmaven no longer uses hang tags to describe the benefits of hemp, the company is still involved in hemp advocacy work.

They raise awareness of the many uses of hemp and why its regenerative qualities make it such a desirable alternative to resource-intensive fabrics.

During the pandemic, protesters spoke about environmentalism, and Jungmann pointed out that fashion is a form of activism.

“What we choose to wear says both who we are and what we stand for. Making beautiful, high-quality hemp clothing is our way of creating a medium through which we can all demand change with our dollars and express the kind of future we want to live in,” Jungmann said.

“Choosing a hemp t-shirt is a small, simple act, but it’s an act that can change the world. Hemp’s potential to mitigate climate change is one of the greatest opportunities of our generation.

Hemp is the future

Ethical and informed buyers create better opportunities for more apparel companies to incorporate hemp, thereby supporting America’s hemp growers.

Transparency on the manufacture of clothing is an extremely important factor for consumers.

Jungmaven, as well as outdoor apparel company Patagonia, build trust with their customers by sharing their activism, certifications, and fabric provenance on their websites.

It’s because of this transparency that consumers named Patagonia America’s Best Reputable Company, according to the 2021 Axios-Harris Poll 100.

“The garment industry is a dirty industry and contributes up to 10% of the pollution causing the climate crisis. Patagonia believes what you buy is what the industry will become and informed buyers will force the apparel industry to abandon its dirty practices,” said Patagonia spokesperson Corey Simpson.

Hemp is an eco-friendly crop that truly gives back to the world in more ways than one. The plant is biodegradable, prevents soil erosion and absorbs toxic materials from the soil.

The only positive effect you will get from buying hemp clothing is knowing that you are helping to reduce the waste that the fashion industry has accumulated over the years.

Fortunately, hemp clothing is starting to go mainstream, with clothing lines like Levi Strauss and Nike experimenting with hemp in their products.

People are starting to see that we have the power to undo the environmental damage we’ve inflicted on Earth, but we need to act fast. If you’re on a mission to help save the world, it’s best that you dress up the role.

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