Sustainable Underwear That’s Good for the Environment
Underwear — it’s the first thing we put on in the morning and the last thing we take off at night.
Undoubtedly, underwear is one of the most important clothing items we own. It keeps our private area private while providing comfort and security throughout the day. There are few things more important than comfort in our clothing. If we feel and look good in it, we buy it. That’s typically how it goes, right?
Still, if there’s one thing that should be prioritized as much as how we feel in our clothes, it’s how a product impacts the environment. Fortunately, we found a way to make our underwear eco-friendly without sacrificing comfort and style.
Below, we’re going to take a deep dive into how underwear can impact the environment both positively and negatively and show you how we’re trying to change it.
What Is Sustainability?
Environmental sustainability is acting in a way that lets future generations have the natural resources they need to live.
In terms of retail, if an item is produced or consumed in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment, it’s considered sustainable. If the product results in something like the destruction of a forest or leaves a bad carbon footprint, it’s not sustainable.
You’ve likely heard the term before, as it’s typically associated with things like energy, retail, and food products. In fact, everything in the world can be placed into two categories: sustainable and not sustainable.
How Can Underwear Be Sustainable?
So, how can underwear be sustainable? Well, there are a few ways.
- Biodegradable: If something is biodegradable, that means it will eventually decompose once you’ve properly disposed of it. A quick product search or information on the tags should tell you whether an item will biodegrade. Many companies will proudly display this fact on the label.
- Durability: Basically, how long will it last? If you purchase bad quality underwear, you’re going to have to keep buying more, which results in more shipping and mass production. If you have underwear that lasts for a good amount of time, that’s less production, less shipping, and a decreased carbon footprint.
- Production: How, when, and where is your underwear produced? Just like biodegradability, a product search should tell you how your underwear is made.
- Material: What your underwear is made of is one of the biggest indicators of whether it’s sustainable. Certain materials are more durable than others while some biodegrade much quicker.
Be sure to remember these terms and do some independent research of your own before making your next underwear purchase.
How Can Underwear Be Bad for the Environment?
While you might not think your selection of undies will change the world, it makes a huge impact. In fact, over 10% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the fashion and clothing industry. Mind-blowingly, the clothing industry uses more global energy than shipping and aviation combined — and that’s just producing and shipping.
Polyester, a fiber commonly used in our clothes and underwear, uses around 70 million barrels of oil per year. These synthetic fibers can take centuries to decompose.
At All Citizens, we tackled this issue head-on by using recycled polyester to produce our products. Rather than let this environmentally-expensive material sit in a hole until the year 2222, we reuse it to ensure our products last and nothing goes to waste.
Recycled polyester releases half to a quarter of carbon emissions than new polyester. It’s yet another innovative and creative way companies are learning to reduce their carbon footprint and go green.
Another huge culprit to the clothing industry’s massive carbon footprint is online shopping. We’ve all been there — you’re shopping online for one new shirt, order 10 because of a sale, and end up never wearing half of them. In some countries, over 40% of clothes bought online are never worn more than once.
Conversely, if you end up ordering something like underwear that’s not your size, you return it. That creates more potential delivery flights and drives there and back plus the new item you order.
All Citizens is attempting to solve this problem by offering entire underwear wardrobe shipments. Instead of buying a few individual pairs, you have the option to order all of the underwear you’ll need for years.
Our durability ensures that you won’t need to keep buying them, while shipping them in bulk allows you to not have to order smaller, individual items in separate orders.
While ordering and shipping clothes and underwear is inevitable for most people, there are still ways you can minimize your impact on the environment. You just have to get creative. Being environmentally conscious isn’t difficult, and it can all start with how you choose to order your underwear.
The Eco-Friendly Underwear Checklist
People love structure, so why not create a list that you can follow before you order your underwear? It only takes an extra few minutes before and after you order, and the long-lasting impact is well worth it.
Remember: It’s not just underwear that’s causing the clothing industry to make such a negative impact on the environment. While this is an eco-friendly underwear checklist, consider using this before you buy any clothes, not just underwear.
Step 1: Material
The material of your underwear should be listed either in the title or in the description. If it’s not, check the company FAQ page to find out.
Once you know what material it’s made out of, check to see a few things:
First, is it biodegradable? If it is, how long does it take to decompose? A few months? Years? Centuries? You can find this out through some fast research on the internet from a reliable source.
Second, is the material recycled? If your underwear is made from a synthetic fabric, it’s likely going to take a lot longer to biodegrade than traditional fabrics. Companies like us use these recycled materials to ensure nothing goes to waste.
Step 2: How Long Will Your Underwear Last?
Is the underwear made from quality materials that won’t get worn down and rip fast? All companies will make this assurance regardless of what they’re made from, so it’s better to try and find reviews from actual customers.
It’s a simple rule: if your underwear doesn’t last long, that means you have to buy more. This creates more production and a lot more shipping, which is a leading cause of the clothing industry’s negative climate impact.
If everyone buys quality underwear, that means less shipping, less often.
All Citizens uses tight-knit seams, clean lines, and quality construction so that our underwear can stand the test of time. Major stress points are reinforced with even more stitching to stop rips in their tracks.
Step 3: Buy in Bulk and Make Sure It Fits!
We’re combining steps here, but these go hand-in-hand. Underwear sizing can be tricky because you can’t exactly try before you buy. It’s super important to make sure you get your size correct to avoid returns.
That’s a lot of pollution if you have one pair of underwear sent to you, then sent back to the company, and a new pair shipped to you. How can you avoid this?
Most companies will include a sizing chart on their website. If they don’t, just look one up. You can also use your old underwear and even pants as a point of reference.
In terms of buying in bulk, it’s always a great way to minimize the shipping impact. Instead of buying a few pairs of underwear and eventually more later on, why not just redo your underwear wardrobe with a brand and company you trust? Not to mention, buying in bulk is often cheaper and companies will usually be running some sort of discount or sale.
If you need new underwear, you probably need all new underwear.
Step 4: Check the Company Website!
Most of this information should be displayed proudly somewhere on the brand’s website. If they truly are dedicated to being an eco-friendly company, they won’t hesitate to display it — and that’s a good thing.
If they don’t, you can easily find their information from expert reviews.
It’s funny to think that you can have such a big effect on the environment from simply ordering some undies. At All Citizens, we hope you’re taking the climate pledge with us. Good luck, and start going green!