A Hatha Crop made from 95% Organic Cotton and 5% Lycra (a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity). The product is GOTS certified which ensures the organic status of textiles from harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.
You’ve made a commitment to start helping the environment–now it’s time to make a commitment to start improving yourself. You’ve signed up for a gym membership, started jogging around your neighborhood and replaced the salts and sugars in your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. But before you go shopping for a new set of workout clothes, do some research on the brands that you’re about to buy. Because if they’re made of synthetic materials, you’re essentially buying trash that’s going to take up space in landfills for decades.
While people tend to associate health-conscious products with saving the environment, many health and workout products are actually harming the environment by using unsustainable, non-biodegradable materials. This includes the activewear that you see hanging on the racks at the department store. Most activewear is mass-produced by factories that pollute the environment, create excess waste and use artificial materials that could take centuries to break down. When you throw away your old workout clothes, you might not see them again, but they’re definitely not going anywhere. They’ll become part of the rapidly mounting piles of trash that are choking the environment.
Luckily, you can buy sustainable activewear that’s made from natural, ethically sourced materials that will break down and return to earth. Skip the artificial spandex and polyester–it’s time to upgrade your workout routine with comfortable, natural fabrics.
What is Traditional Activewear Made From?
If you’ve ever used activewear in the past, you know that it’s typically thin, stretchy and flexible so you can complete your workout routine without tearing or ruining the fabric. To get that effect, most major manufacturers use spandex or polyester. These fabrics are cool, stretchy, lightweight and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, whether you’re lifting weights or practicing a complicated yoga pose.
These fabrics might be comfortable, but they’re also bad for the environment. When you think of fabric, you might picture a machine weaving natural fibers into a piece of clothing. In fact, spandex and polyester are made from a fossil fuel called petroleum. Like other fossil fuels, petroleum isn’t a renewable resource. When it’s gone, it’s gone forever. And these fabrics aren’t biodegradable, meaning that they could take centuries to break down.
In other words, traditional activewear is incredibly wasteful. Thousands of pieces of activewear are manufactured every year–and once it reaches the landfill, it’s not going anywhere.
Why Should You Switch to Sustainable Activewear?
At first glance, hunting down a natural activewear brand might not seem like it’s worth the trouble. When you buy workout clothes, you’re planning on using these clothes for years or even decades. Are you really adding that much waste to the local landfill?
Individually, a single person might not be contributing much to the landfill. But think about all the thousands of pieces of activewear that are produced every year. Some of it gets purchased, while other pieces stay on the racks for months. Regardless of whether it gets purchased or not, it’s all going to end up in the same place in the end: the trash can. The trash can gets taken to the dumpster, the dumpster gets emptied in the back of a garbage truck, and the garbage gets taken to the landfill.
The synthetic activewear isn’t going to break down any time soon, so it’s going to sit there for centuries on end, adding to the massive piles of trash that we’ve accumulated on this planet. When you buy traditional activewear, you’re not just buying a non-sustainable product: you’re also giving that company your money, which allows them to stay in business and continue manufacturing more wasteful products.
And to make matters worse, many major brands are manufactured in sweatshops overseas. They’re not just bad for the environment–they’re also taking part in child labor and human rights violations around the world. It’s time to ditch the major labels and start buying from local, sustainable brands that are committed to taking care of their employees.
What is Eco Friendly Activewear Made From?
Eco friendly activewear can be made of two types of materials: sustainable materials and recycled materials. Recycled activewear isn’t necessarily made of sustainable materials, but it takes recycled spandex and polyester and manufactures it into brand new clothing. This allows you to enjoy the lightweight flexibility of these materials without adding more waste to the environment.
Sustainable activewear is made of natural, renewable materials like cotton, wool, bamboo and tree fibers. These products will eventually break down and return the environment, so they won’t take up space in the landfills like traditional activewear. They’re also made of renewable materials that can be harvested again and again. While petroleum is a limited resource, natural materials like cotton and bamboo can theoretically be grown indefinitely. If we protect these natural resources, we’ll never run out of them.
Is Eco Friendly Activewear Just as Good as Traditional Activewear?
Natural activewear is just as good as traditional activewear. After all, plant-based textiles aren’t new: people have been using cotton and bamboo to make clothing for centuries. These environmentally-friendly products are just as lightweight, flexible, and breathable as the spandex and polyester you’re used to wearing. And they’re built to last, so you can wear these clothes for months and still not notice any wear and tear.
How Much Natural Activewear Can I Find on the Market?
In recent years, natural activewear has skyrocketed in popularity. In the past, you might have been limited to tops and leggings. Now you can find a replacement for everything in your closet. Natural activewear brands have started selling shirts, pants, leggings, sports bras, jackets, hoodies, undergarments and more for men, women and children. You can find a wide range of colors, patterns and styles made from natural products like vegetable dyes. You can shop from small indie brands as well as major activewear brands like Patagonia. This niche industry has become a booming business–and now you can reap the rewards by filling your closet with natural, sustainable merchandise.
Where Can I Find Natural Activewear?
You might be able to find natural activewear at your local department store or workout supply store. But before you make a purchase, make sure you read the tags to know exactly what you’re getting. Don’t assume that a product is natural just because of the brand name–some brands sell a combination of natural and synthetic products. If you can’t find any information on the brand, assume that it’s not environmentally friendly. Most eco-friendly brands will advertise the fact that they’re ethical and sustainable.
You can also shop online to find a wide range of clothes at affordable prices. Plus, shopping online gives you the advantage of being able to research your workout gear before you buy it. Check out the website and learn about the materials they use, their methods of sourcing materials and the way they treat their employees.
If you need some help getting started, check out our list of environmentally friendly activewear right here on our website. Let us know what you think by signing up for an account and hitting the “upvote” arrow button to recommend your favorite products.