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.
This post was sponsored by Everlane and includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.
Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.
Such a gorgeous puffer jacket!
Is this jacket good for winter, or is a lighter fall jacket? It’s so cute and I’m looking for something warm!
It’s quite warm, but it is a lightweight jacket that I’m planning to wear as an additional layer of insulation under my existing coats. Of course all depends where you are! All of the new jackets have a temperature range on their product pages, so you can check those out before deciding which one might work for you!
Is the black actually as blue as it looks in these photos? It’s a beautiful color, but looks totally different from what they show on the website.
Hmm. Could be just a question of natural vs. artificial light or maybe your computer monitor? I’d say it’s a true black!
Been using reusable shopping bags here in Kirkland, Washington (yes, the namesake of Costco’s “Kirkland Signature) for at least 15 years, and plastic shopping bags were banned in our city and Seattle a couple years ago. Prior to the ban, most grocery stores would give you a 5 cent per reusable bag discount, now you are charged 5 cents per paper bag if you don’t bring your own. Plastic bags for produce are still allowed. Bonus: don’t know if they do it across the country, but for as long as I’ve shopped there, Trader Joes allows you to put your name in for a drawing for a bag of free groceries when you bring your own bags.
So great to learn about the GuppyFriend! I have been feeling guilty whenever I wash my very well loved synthetic puffy…but after a summer of camping it always needs it. Glad to find a solution to catch those microplastics :). Patagonia also sells the bag for those looking to avoid international shipping costs.
Many kudos and applause to Everlane for making this commitment. I also love shopping Patagonia’s worn wear site for used winter and athletic clothing. You can return clothing that’s not working at any time after purchasing, which is pretty great. Thank you so much for the info about the Guppie bag! I hadn’t heard about it yet so just ordered one. I know there’s a long way to go with this problem but I’m starting today feeling a bit more hopeful.
Yes, such a great program. Glad for feeling hopeful!
Great post and wonderful initiative by Everlane. I’d be interested in reading a post about eco-responsible choices for hair coloring. Yours looks amazing !
Oh, thanks so much! I’ve never colored my hair, so I’ve never done a deep dive on eco-coloring, though I know the options are few! Will let you know if I ever start!
If you’re brunette, check out myhairprint.com. I’ve used it twice and got pretty good results. Hope this helps!
Look into henna! hennaforhair.com has a lot of good information, and their henna is pure and good quality in my experience. I think they sell kits too.
I have always had great luck with Everlane products (for one thing, the sizing seems pretty consistent), so I’m glad to see that they are taking this step. One of the things I like best about their clothing is that most pieces have the kind of thoughtful details that I look for. For example, I see that the puffer you are wearing has a zipper that goes both up and down — a feature that I know I will want and use here in the PNW where mornings are chilly, but where things can also warm up when and if the sun comes out. Also, thank you for making me aware of the guppy bag! Everlane is lucky to have you as an affiliate, Erin!
Curious where your canvas grocery tote is from – it looks sturdy and roomy!
It’s an artist’s tote from an art supply store! I got mine at SoHo Art Materials in the city, but lots of art supply stores have them!
Love Everlane! I would love to know where your jeans are from! The cut and fit are great on you!
Thanks so much! They’re vintage wranglers! I got them at a local shop called 9th Street Vintage!
That’s a great commitment from everlane! i hope other companies will follow suit – as consumers we speak volumes with our wallet so i’ve challenged myself to only buy secondhand, it’s been pretty fun so far.
Agreed and so great!
Always love to learn more about the clothing brands that do some good – thanks for this Erin x
So glad to hear Everlane is joining great brands doing this important work! Thanks for featuring! One question: are there concerns of toxins in the facilities or jackets themselves from recycled plastic? Just very curious myself here! 🙂
Totally! Asked the same thing myself. Since most all of the bottles being used are food-grade PET, they should be BPA-free, but Everlane hasn’t tested for that specifically. Of course this would be a question about any polyester-based clothing. I’m not sure if studies have been done! Would love to see that.
I agree with the vision and action to phase out virgin polyester, but I’m still disappointed by Everlane’s buzz over this campaign, because it’s still plastic clothing. I’m so glad you mentioned you use a Guppy bag, because microplastics are such a vast problem, and unfortunately it doesn’t matter whether the item is virgin or recycled (I think one of the early studies may have even shown that recycled poly can have higher rates of microplastic losses). I wish Everlane was talking about that, or ideally suggesting practices & solutions their customers could use. Thanks for taking that step!
To call a product line “renew” without an end-of-life plan for that product is what really frustrates me here: only 1% of textiles are actually recycled into textiles, so what will happen if someone doesn’t actually wear these plastic clothes forever? Will Everlane actually renew them then?
I really appreciate that you framed it as “when I have need for these kinds of products” because over 60% of apparel is made of plastic, and recycled poly or not, we don’t yet have the systems and technologies in place to make those clothes truly renewable, so I think “need” has to be forefront, rather than the feel-good “waste into clothing” messaging.
Yes! So glad and grateful for the use of previously produced plastic, but for sure this is a start not a finish. Hoping we see a closed loop system eventually and in the meantime that this makes folks pause to think about the lifecycle of their plastic clothing.
This is such a great, well-explained post. Thank you for the comprehensive review of the jacket and how to safely wash it! I was very excited about this launch at Everlane and am super impressed with their initiative.
Great post! Since you brought it up – does your shampoo come in glass bottles? Just curious as I hate the plastic mine comes in.
Details in this post: https://readingmytealeaves.com/2018/03/zero-waste-progress-report-bathroom-edition.html
You mentioned that you no longer use plastic bottles for your shampoo. How?? I have managed to switch to glass or paper (wrapping on my bar soap) for all my body products except for shampoo/conditioner and deoderant. The deodorant is a whole other story, but I’m so intrigued by non-plastic shampoo.
Wrote about it here! https://readingmytealeaves.com/2018/03/zero-waste-progress-report-bathroom-edition.html
Do you mind if I jump in here? 😉 After a year of experimenting, I found a shampoo bar + conditioner bar combination that really works well for me. I know they aren’t for all lifestyles and hair types but may be worth a try. Also, I recently discovered a deodorant by Little Seed Farm that comes in a glass jar… and actually works! I use the unscented but they offer many others.
Hi, I have to ask, as I am in the market for a soft oversized bandana, where is your scarf from? Thank you for always being my go to resource!
It’s from Ozma!
What color is the bandana? I wasn’t quite sure even after checking the Ozma link. It’s lovely!
It’s the lichen!
I have been looking into ordering a Cora Ball for our microplastics waste. It’s price point is a little more manageable than a guppy bag, especially for those who have more clothing made out of synthetic material than not. Just something for folks to consider who might balk at the price of a guppy bag. My family of 3 has pretty minimal wardrobes, but we still rely on hand-me-downs for our daughter, and that’s a lot of synthetics.
Hey Erin, just wanted to say thanks for all you do. I really am so grateful for all your helpful suggestions and ideas. I am however, the mom of two boys who only want to wear “sporty” clothes. I try to find cotton pjs and t shirts, and sneak in some cotton sweatpants but most of what they want to wear is made from synthetic materials. As your littles grow up and may? want the same thing, I’d love some guidance there. In the mean time, I’m hoping to get a guppy saver soon! ~Tracee
Me too! I do seek out second hand cotton clothes like sweatpants and t-shirts, but their grandparents buy them sport shorts. It’s rough.
I love this post and I love Everlane. They’re a company trying to do it right in a sea of companies doing it wrong. Love, love, love. They (and you!) are an inspiration.
Could you share the source of your wallet? I’m looking for a relatively thin one that is accordion style, and this looks intriguing!
I got it locally at a little shop, but it’s made by Delfonics!
Comments are moderated.