Mercury in face creams. Formaldehyde in hair products. Lead in lipstick. It’s about time lawmakers paid attention. For the first time in 30 years, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will convene the first official Congressional hearing on cosmetics safety, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The hearing, which will take place on March 27, is expected to review existing federal cosmetics laws, which haven’t been updated since 1938—or since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.
In honor of World Water Day, Levi’s employees across the globe are taking the plunge: by pledging to wear the same pair of jeans or khakis every day for a week without washing it once. The denim giant also equipped each staff member with a Water<Less-logoed sponge for sopping up spills. Each employee is documenting their efforts with a daily snapshot, and they’re inviting you to do the same. To take part, simply tag a photo of yourself on Instagram with #gowaterless to help spread the word about reducing water use. Up for a bigger challenge? Levi’s has a series of actions you can take to whittle your water footprint even further.
Yes, your eyes do deceive you. Greenpeace activists conspired with Planet Streetpainting artists to create a mind-bending optical illusion at the World Fashion Centre in Amsterdam on Tuesday. The occasion? The release of the environmental nonprofit’s third “Detox” campaign report—fittingly dubbed Dirty Laundry: Reloaded—which uncovers evidence that consumers of brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, and G-Star are unwittingly polluting the world’s public waterways with every load of laundry.
Simply put, AirDye technology adds color to textiles sans the wet stuff. The patented process system adds PVC-free inks to a paper carrier, then heat-transfers the dyes from the paper to the surface of the fibers at a molecular level. Applying color in this fashion not only uses 90 percent less water than conventional methods, according to the company, but it also requires 85 percent less energy because extreme heat isn’t necessary to dry the fabrics.
DyeCoo Textile Systems is a Netherlands-based company that built the first commercial waterless textile-dyeing machine. The H2O-free technology imbues a pressurized form of carbon dioxide with liquid-like properties, allowing it to penetrate textile fibers and disperse preloaded dyes without extra chemical agents. Once the dyeing cycle is complete, the CO2 is gasified to recover the excess dye before cycling back into the dyeing vessel for reuse—no muss, no fuss, and with far less energy than conventional methods.
Lacoste and Marks & Spencer are among the brands that utilize Huntsman’s Avitera process, which harnesses just three to five gallons of water per two pounds of material, compared with the 26 gallons conventional methods require. Plus, nearly 90 percent of the dye bonds to the cotton fibers, leaving far less unfixed dye to rinse off.
Without using a single drop of water, DyeCat locks dyes into textile fibers on a molecular level, creating colors that won’t run, leach, or fade. The color, in other words, becomes part of the material, leaving no dye runoff to contaminate drinking sources. Bonus: The process uses only as much dye as necessary to color the fabric, which means less energy and little waste.
Jeanologia’s E-Soft technology transforms air in the atmosphere into “nano-bubbles” that soften fabrics using 98 percent less water and 79 percent less energy than traditional methods. The Spanish company, which specializes in garment finishing, also uses ozone rather than multiple washes to fade its denim, saving nearly 4 million gallons of water daily across its facilities worldwide, according to Enrique Silla, its founder and CEO.
AG Adriano Goldschmied
AG Adriano Goldschmied’s jeans aren’t just made in the U.S.A., but they’re also processed using ozone technology that slashes their use of water, energy, and chemicals. “Jeans are typically washed with large amounts of water and chemicals to rid of excess indigo on the garment and pocket lining,” the company says. “The use of ozone technology allows us to clean up the excess indigo without the use of water and pocket-whitening chemicals altogether.”
Joseph Gannon and Max Wastler of All Plaidout have released a seven-minute teaser for a potential TV series about products that are still made in the U.S.A. In Made Right Here, the duo take a trip to Tennessee, where they go behind the scenes at the Nokona baseball-glove factory, Pointer Brand, Cause & Effect, and Imogene + Willie. “It’s our desire to not only show how it’s made, not only where it’s made, but to also show the people who make it,” Wastler says. “We want to tell their stories.”
Crazy as it may sound, Nokia may be developing magnetic tattoos that vibrate whenever someone calls or texts—that is, if the Finnish communications company makes good on its patent application. In a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Nokia describes tattooing, stamping, or spraying ferromagnetic inks onto your arm, abdomen, or—we kid you not—fingernail. By detecting the magnetic field generated by your mobile device, the high-tech tramp stamp then causes “perceivable stimulus to the skin by magnetically manipulating the material.”
Can you actually “do good” by shopping ethically? And what about the claim that we change the world with our purchasing power? If we can, it means great things for the future. One thing we know is that our generation likes to shop. By and large, consumers create the demand that drives the market. If we want to change this world, we need to change what we buy. Purchasing “power” indeed.
Thrift stores abound across the United States, but Sloth has aspirations beyond buying and selling secondhand clothes. Based in New York University, the campus-run outfit is the brainchild of seniors Celia Reingold and Sarah Ferguson, who want to leverage the school’s global network for social activism and change. “Sloth,” they tell Ecouterre, refers neither to the deadly sin nor the forest-dwelling mammal that sends Kristen Bell into meltdown mode. Rather, the name refers to the idea of mindful consumption, which Reingold and Ferguson plan to foster by keeping closet castoffs in circulation. With the help of a $4,000 Gallatin Student Resource Grant, the duo are working on setting up a permanent space in Washington Square. We caught up with the young entrepreneurs to chat about their vision, the philosophy behind Sloth, and how they plan to create a community experience that challenges traditional models of retail.
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