This post is sponsored by Everlane ReNew, a collection of outerwear made from recycled plastic water bottles.
I spend a lot of time trying to avoid plastic.
I try my best not to put it in my kitchen cabinets or in my grocery cart. I don’t put my water in it. I don’t slurp milkshakes through it, or carry my lunch in it. I don’t even buy my shampoo in plastic bottles anymore.
In my quest to avoid plastic, I’ve embraced my role as slightly quirky neighborhood shopper. I hand my reusable mug to the barista on the corner (and get a discount!). I fill up my own cloth bag at the green grocer. I bring along a glass jar for refilling with cinnamon at the neighborhood spice shop. Fresh stalks of eucalyptus? I’ll take the fragrant leaves but I’ll leave the plastic wrapper and rubber band behind for the florist to use again.
Here I am, doing all of that in Everlane’s Renew Lightweight Puffer, made from 15 recycled plastic water bottles.
Today, Everlane joins the ranks of clothing companies making an effort to take responsibility for the plastic that’s become ubiquitous in their industry. Over the past 60 years, humans have produced nearly 80 billion tons of plastic and every single year, the textile industry alone is responsible for producing 59 million tons of it. That’s new plastic, made from finite resources. Once made, that’s plastic that won’t ever disappear. Everlane’s ReNew line is taking some of the plastic that’s already here—about 3 million plastic bottles worth—and putting it back to work in clothing instead.
The truth is that many of the cold weather jackets, and vests, and fleeces that we snuggle into at the first whisper of cooler weather are woven from plastic. I avoid a lot of these plastics and other synthetics in my clothes, but there are exceptions: Polyester jackets that keep the weather out and the warmth in. Semi-synthetic modal that stretched comfortably over my belly when I was pregnant. Nylon that allows me to swim comfortably in the sea. A beloved polyester fleece that I’ve worn for ten years and counting. When I have the need for these kinds of products, I want to support companies that are taking careful steps to produce these goods thoughtfully, too.
Paired with what I already have, the ReNew Lightweight Puffer is a welcome addition to my wintry wardrobe. This fall, I’m looking forward to tucking it under my jean jacket to serve as a protective barrier against the cold. I’ll wear it over my fleece on cool morning walks.
Come winter, I’ll be layering it under my favorite wool coat that lacks insulation (and so much as one button), to make the most blustery days more bearable. (When it’s time to wash it, I’ll be zipping it into a GuppyFriend Washing Bag—along with my trusty old fleece—to keep microplastics out of the water.)
The plastic problem? It’s going to take a combination of legislation and international policy as well as individual consumer and corporate responsibility to fix.
We need to vote at the polls and vote with our wallets for folks who champion the environment. As we work to disentangle ourselves from our reliance on plastic, it’s heartening to see a company committed to a swift timeline toward change.
More than only putting recycled plastic bottles to better use, Everlane has pledged to eliminate virgin plastic from their entire supply chain by 2021. That means no new plastic used in their products, their warehouses, their offices, or their stores. In hopes that avoiding plastic becomes a little less quirky and a lot more expected, I say, onward.
For the curious:
I’m wearing the ReNew Lightweight Puffer in Black (size XXS).
Photos by Stephanie Stanley for Reading My Tea Leaves.
Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.