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  • Brenna Donoghue

    Such great questions and thoughts! Thanks! And thanks for the link Liam!

  • Liam Henry Bildsten

    I think that depends on how you define "eco." I started a green clothing line when I was 14, and I carefully researched three options for t-shirt material: organic cotton, hemp & bamboo. Hemp (which is actually a mix of hemp and organic cotton) was, no doubt, the greenest, considering hemp's ability to grow quickly and cheaply without chemicals. However, hemp was very uncomfortable at first and made many customers think of marijuana, which was a marketing no-no. Organic cotton used more energy and water than hemp, but it was a material people are used to. Bamboo, despite how easily bamboo grows, require many chemicals to be processed into cloth material. I would argue these chemicals, many of which are handled with little or no regulation in third world countries, are more harmful than pesticides to the environment in conventional cotton. However, that is a debate alone. I decided that organic cotton would be greener than usual and wouldn't sound too granola-y or weird. One great website that sells all three materials in wholesale t-shirts is Onno. Just go to their site to learn in more detail about the comparison:

    To answer your question, I'm sure that hemp is green for most people, but definitely not for an environmentalist or someone with higher standards. I would say that the greenest will always be vintage or used.

  • Lisa Rau Cannon

    The fact that we're unsure is a problem waiting to be solved. Who grows and harvests bamboo? What are the trade agreements? How much labor is involved? Is it biodegradable when combined with synthetic materials? The free-trade coffee awareness movement is a good model for answering some of these questions, because I certainly don't know them yet.