San Luis Obispo, April 2017 — EVERYBODY knows how bad oil is for the environment. Its by products spew from the back of our cars, its thick black toxicity lays upon our gulfs when spilled, and some people can even taste the dirt and chemicals fracking adds to our water. While oil has been at the forefront of our conception of pollution, another industry lurks in its shadow (and in your shadow) and has been a harbinger of environmental damage. The clothing industry has been hiding behind our backs, giving us fast fashion and synthetic fabrics that are continuously destroying the environment in many different ways.
When four students at Cal Poly SLO discovered this fact, they became determined to enact change in any way possible. After refining uncountable plans and courses of action, one rose above them all. Bract Company: a clothing company dedicated to educating people on the endless benefits, uses, and sustainability of hemp as well as providing products that enable sustainable and affordable outdoor wear.
The clothing industry has three main phases of pollution separated into cultivation, production and use & disposal. Hemp is a viable solution on all of these fronts.
1. CULTIVATION: HEMP CAN REDUCE CARBON & WATER WASTE
Cotton makes up almost 40% of the clothing industry and is a massive contributor to its pollution. Cotton uses 24% of the world’s pesticides and 11% of the world’s insecticides. These dangerous chemicals damage arable land and can seep into local waterways contaminating the ground and drinking water. Cotton is also a very water intensive crop using on average 720 gallons of water to produce enough fiber for a shirt.
Hemp is naturally resistant to pests and requires no chemicals during cultivation. Hemp plants can also be used as “carbon sinks” due to the fact that a single acre sequesters 9.82 tons of C02 during its lifespan. Along with these natural advantages, hemp is extremely versatile allowing it to grow in almost any climate with very small amounts of water. Hemp plants use ½ the water of cotton to produce twice the amount of fiber.
2. PRODUCTION: HEMP REQUIRES ZERO FOSSIL FUEL TO MAKE
Synthetic fabrics make up 58% of the world’s textiles and they are created with the use of fossil fuels. Polyester alone burns through over 70,000,000 barrels of oil annually and that number is only increasing. Production of synthetic fibers is very energy intensive and also releases extremely dangerous greenhouse gasses such as N20 which is 300x more damaging to the environment as C02. While natural fibers do not require fossil fuels to produce, dying processes are the main form of water pollution IN THE WORLD and cause many local waterways and rivers to be poisoned when left untreated.
While the production of hemp fibers for hemp clothing does not greatly differ in energy use compared to cotton, the C02 sequestered during cultivation is nearly enough to offset the C02 emitted during production. Alongside this, our company ensures the use of natural dies that cause no water pollution whatsoever.
3. USE & DISPOSAL: HEMP IS BIODEGRADABLE & LONGER LASTING
Synthetic materials will stay in landfills for around 300 years after being disposed of
Every time synthetic fabrics are washed, microfibers drain into the ocean damaging marine wildlife. On top of this, synthetic materials will stay in landfills for around 300 years when disposed of. With the average American throwing away around 65 pounds of clothing every year, this presents a large problem. Although cotton is a natural fiber that is biodegradable, the chemicals used throughout the production process can contaminate decompositions sites.
Being a natural fiber as well, hemp will decompose in a matter of months. Also, due to the chemical free nature of the plant and natural dyes, our clothing can even be composted in your backyard bin.
Along with its sustainable benefits and minimal ecological footprint, the hemp plant has extremely beneficial natural advantages that carry over to textile form. These advantages make hemp one of the most useful and durable fabrics for outdoor use.
Hemp fabric is extremely eco-friendly and useful yet it makes up less than 1% of our textiles. Despite the wide varieties of products that hemp can provide a sustainable alternative for, it remains illegal to grow industrially in the USA and many other countries due to its relation to marijuana. Another main priority of Bract Company is to increase demand for hemp products by showing its benefits and usefulness as a sustainable resource. We hope to be a contributing factor to the legalization of industrial hemp through our products and donations.
HELP US, HELP YOU, HELP NATURE
Along with the legalization of hemp, Bract Company promotes giving back to the earth by planting two trees in a national forest for every product purchased from us. Our first collection is currently live on kickstarter until the end of the week and can be seen at: The Pioneer Collection
For every product bought from us, we will plant two trees in a US National Forest.
We strive to become a brand that you love by providing products and services that you love. We aim to spread information, awareness, and involvement on this issue of pollution in the clothing industry and how we can solve the problem. By funding this Kickstarter, YOU are helping us do that! By wearing and representing our hemp based clothing, you can help spread awareness and help us make a difference.