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If you’re an enthusiast of outdoor, adventure, or fitness gear and apparel, then chances are—you care. You care about the environment, and you care about what you put into your body. And if you are such an enthusiast, chances are you also care about sustainability and responsibility. Especially in the manufacture and distribution of the products you consume, and the gear and apparel you use. So if you’re an outdoor, adventure, or fitness enthusiast, you should really check out REI’s bluesign campaign.
bluesign items are all over the racks at REI stores, and on the company’s website. But what does bluesign mean, and where does it come from?
bluesign is a certification. It’s a guarantee to you, the consumer, that the manufacturer went to great care to ensure the product or apparel was manufactured using environment-friendly chemicals and responsible, resource-conserving manufacturing practices.
If you love the outdoors, if you place a value on the environment and your place in it, then you should look for bluesign certification at REI the next time you shop for gear and apparel.
Textile Manufacturers Are Among the World’s Biggest Polluters
It’s no secret that textile manufacturers are some of the world’s worst polluters. And they do it on such a grand scale. That’s why it’s so egregious.
According to the NRDC, textile mills generate one-fifth of the world’s industrial water pollution and use upwards of 20,000 chemicals to make clothes. And the industry is so massive. Just by burning coal for energy, Chinese textile factories alone produce about three billion tons of soot—that’s air pollution linked to respiratory and heart disease—every year. That’s crazy.
Here’s another sobering thought: 20 percent of all freshwater pollution is made by textile treatment and dyeing. And the industry uses millions of gallons of water every day. According to the World Research Institute, it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce one cotton shirt—enough water for one person to drink for 2 1/2 years. The waste is then released, often untreated. This wastewater could contain thousands of various chemicals and other pollutants.
Beyond pollution, the amount of waste the apparel industry produces is devastating. According to the WRI, the average consumer bought 60 percent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000—but kept those garments for less than half as long. The result? Nearly five percent of all landfill space on the planet is textile waste. That’s a lot of old clothes thrown away.
Get bluesign at REI, and Know You’re Making A Difference
So what can you do? Well, you can start by donating your used clothes to charity. Not just the gently-worn kind that someone else might use and appreciate. That’s important, but even your stained or torn clothes can have value. A lot of charities these days accept all kinds of textiles because many companies are recycling fabrics. From sheets to shoes, every little bit helps.
Just as importantly, you can buy your clothing and gear from companies that strive for sustainability and responsibility in production. REI is just one of the companies that makes a huge environmentally impactful difference each year. And the bluesign campaign is just another way REI is ensuring that the gear it sells is responsibly produced.
What Is bluesign?
bluesign comes from the name of a Swiss group called bluesign technologies. bluesign monitors textiles, from farm to retail. The worldwide team includes experts in chemistry and textile production. It also enlists specialists who oversee factory auditing.
When you buy a bluesign certified product, you’re buying a product that meets designated criteria for the highest degree of safety for the consumer, the lowest possible impact on people and the environment, and the most responsible use of resources possible.
bluesign focuses on three main components of textile manufacturing:
- People—the materials used to make the product were manufactured in factories that place the utmost value on workplace safety, as well as worker satisfaction and fair compensation
- Environment—the manufacturing is smart and sustainable, from chemicals that won’t harm the environment to responsible waste management
- Resources—resources have been conserved and reused as much as possible, and productivity optimized through efficiency and conservation.
If you’re an outdoor, adventure, or fitness enthusiast, there’s no reason not to get behind these principles and ideas. So when you shop for your performance gear and apparel at REI, look for the bluesign. You’ll know you can feel good about the products you’re choosing and using.
Bluesign at REI
The REI website has more than 1,500 pieces of gear and apparel that meet bluesign certification. From clothing to gear, the bluesign is not hard to spot at REI. In fact, most REI Co-op branded gear is bluesign-certified. Here are just some of the categories in which you’ll find bluesign products:
- Travel & Luggage
- Kids’ Clothes
… and more. Basically, no matter what you’re into, there’s a ton of bluesign-certified products at REI that will help you feel good about it.
Whether you’re an adventurer who loves to get lost in the wilderness, a guy who loves to pedal for hours every weekend, or just someone who stays fit and takes care of his body, chances are there’s a bluesign product that’s a vast improvement over whatever you’re currently using.
So head over to REI today and look for bluesign products. you’ll be doing your part to improve the world we live in—one hike, one rep, one revolution at a time. We’ve picked out a few of our favorites below.
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