T-Shirts & Shirts
The classic t-shirt and the versatile shirt – but what are the more sustainable options?View all products
- A huge amount of waste comes from our fast fashion obsession, with companies like Shein churning out up to 10,000 new items every single day of these items end up in landfill. Unsustainable manufacturing processes lead to more than just carbon emissions: washing, solvents, and dyes used in manufacturing are responsible for one-fifth of industrial water pollution.
- Cheap synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and acrylic are made from petrochemicals, driving demand for fossil-fuels. These plastic-fibres can shed up to 700,000 microplastics whenever they're washed and will take hundreds of years to fully break down
- The fashion industry is rife with workers' rights issues, with garment workers in countries like China and Indonesia working in poor conditions and receiving very little pay for their work. Brands like Fashion Nova, SHEIN, Revolve, and Romwe all score less than 10% on Fashion Revolution's Fashion Transparency Index
Buying more eco-friendly clothing is a win-win, as better quality and care means you'll save money over time. If you're looking for a new t-shirt or shirt we'd always recommend buying secondhand first so as not to creating demand for new clothes. If you want to buy new, avoid fast fashion brands like Shein, Zara and Boohoo, even their supposedly 'greener' product lines. To find out more you can read our 'What’s so bad about Fast Fashion?' blog post. Go for more ethical clothing brands that not only make greater efforts to ensure workers' rights, but also make use of better materials –whether they're natural fibres or fibres recycled from existing textile waste.
Recycled T-Shirts & Shirts
There are some great recycled materials which, while not always plastic-free, reduce existing waste. ECONYL® is made entirely from ocean and landfill waste, such as industrial plastic, clothes manufacturing, old carpets and even 'ghost nets', while lyocell (sometimes known as Tencel®) is made from wood pulp. Lyocell has the potential to use up to 50% less water than cotton and utilises a closed-loop system which reuses nearly 100% of the chemicals used in the solvent-spinning process.
Natural T-Shirts & Shirts
Natural fibres like cotton, linen, hemp and bamboo have various pros and cons, but are all biodegradable and don't create demand for synthetic oil-derived plastics. Cotton biodegrades easily and can be spun into a durable fabric without requiring a complex chemical process, but is a very thirsty crop. Linen can be more efficient in land and water use, but takes a lot of time to process and is quite a delicate fabric. Hemp can be most efficient when it comes to land and water use, but can take more time to wear in. Bamboo grows quickly and without the need for pesticides, creating a hard wearing fabric but requiring a very intense chemical process to produce.
Organic T-Shirts & Shirts
Organic natural fibres (look out for our organic accreditation) like organic cotton are grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertiliser. Organic products have to meet a high standard, with accreditations like Soil Association and Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) looking at every part of the growing and manufacturing process.