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What Makes a Black Shirt Green?

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Live Earth was meant to be the concert that started it all. How do you keep up the momentum on such a movement? I think it certainly has brought the environment to the forefront of the minds of the masses and the glitterati.

Live Earth T-Shirt, Anvil Organics

We’ve also learned a new tidbit on the details behind Live Earth. The t-shirts that were sold in Giants Stadium were from our friends over at Anvil Organics. They are aiming to be the provider of the first really inexpensive organic tees. Plus, they have an incredible color range.

The ever popular organic tee up until now has been the American Apparel version – offered only in a “natural” color, and at much higher prices than the Anvil tees. So how are they doing this? Well, the Anvil t-shirts are made overseas, and use reactive (carbon based) dyes, as opposed to, say veggie-based inks.

So, I become perplexed. The dyes, though admittedly I don’t understand what they are (not for lack of trying…feel free to chime in & explain), and the long distances that the shirts travel, are not the most ideal in my opinion. However, at huge event such as this, t-shirts are produced in mass. Promotional people are probably getting pretty sick of the natural color tee and are looking for low cost options so that they don’t have to sell the shirts for $50 bucks a pop.

Conventional (aka: non-organic) cotton is an uber-pesticide intensive crop. A 1/3 lb. of nasty chemicals is used on the cotton that makes up just one t-shirt. Not good. Organic, on the other hand: good!

Just as eating locally is good for the environment because the distance your food travels to get to your plate (typically 1500 miles) is a carbon emissions creating nightmare. It’s the same with any product, really. So, I’d always prefer an organic cotton that was grown & processed nearby.

But when we’re talking about large events & promotional campaigns that often are huge users of t-shirts, the conventional tees are also from overseas. So, Anvil is providing a great green option for the mass market – and might even convince some to start thinking about the environment when they normally wouldn’t. They’ve figured out how to make a green shirt come in black (and finally: not beige).

Anvil makes their organic line in 10 colors right now, in pretty much every size. Plus, they’ve incorporated eco-friendly concepts into their production: cardboard is recycled, waste water is cleaned above & beyond regulation, and scraps are saved to help generate steam power.

I think there is room for both kinds of eco-friendliness in the market. One that is ideal, and one that is economical…and hopefully in time both sides of the equation will help the other.

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