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Ethical Activewear

by Alexandra Parren

ethical activewear

When you think of ethical activewear, we want you to think Sundried. But what exactly is ethical activewear? How is it different from regular sportswear? In fact, there's a huge difference that's important to understand.

What is ethical activewear?

With activewear becoming part of our daily wardrobes, there is an increasing importance in knowing how and where your clothes were made. There are over 7 billion people on the planet. If each of the 7 billion people only owned 1 top, 1 pair of trousers and 1 jacket each, that would equate to 21 billion items of clothing.

The average first-world woman owns 30 complete outfits but has “nothing to wear” and men can own anywhere from 50-150 t-shirts, and that’s just the black and white ones… so you can see how quickly the numbers rack up!

The clothes you are wearing have an effect on the environment

Everything you're currently wearing has had some form of effect on the environment, from the materials to the manufacture and after care, even just one item can have a huge knock-on effect.

Ethical living journalist Lucy Siegle in her book ‘To Die For’ reveals some shocking statistics:

  • You now demand roughly four times the number of clothes you would have in 1980.
  • You will spend at least £625 a year on clothes – and that’s just the average!
  • In one year you'll accumulate in the region of 28 kg of clothing – adding up to an estimated 1.72m tonnes of brand-new fashion being consumed on an annual basis in the UK and with the life expectancy of fast fashion being so short, that translates to a whole tone of waste.

Sundried’s carbon footprint

Most human activities emit gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. We refer to these as greenhouse gases which contribute to climatic changes which have a long-term impact on the planet. Your carbon footprint is your own contribution; the impact of the activity that you as an individual do.

At Sundried, we want to help keep that carbon footprint as small as possible, which can be tough when it comes to sweaty activewear which needs cleaning far more often.

The contribution to our carbon footprint that washing clothes has is significant. In his article "The Carbon Footprint of Everything” Mike Berners-Lee reveals the following statistics:

The carbon footprint of a load of laundry:

0.6 kg CO2 washed at 30°C, dried on the line

0.7 kg CO2 washed at 40°C, dried on the line

2.4 kg CO2 washed at 40°C, tumble-dried in a vented dryer

3.3 kg CO2 washed at 60°C, dried in a combined washer-dryer

Washing and drying a 5kg load of laundry every two days created almost 440 kg of carbon dioxide emissions in a year. As you can see, the most ethical way to wash your clothing would be to 'wash cool, sun dry', which can cut your emission by more than half. This is why all of Sundried products are encouraged to be washed cool, and sun dried. Washing your clothing in this way also helps to enhance their life expectancy.

Research by Energy Star (a washing machine company) states that the average front loading washing machine uses 6500 gallons of water a year and lasts for 11 years, that's enough water for 6 people for a lifetime.

carbon footprint ethical living activewear Sundried

Sundried donates to charity Water For Kids

We have to wash our clothes and we know it has an impact, so at Sundried we’ve decided to combat that negative with a positive, donating to Water for Kids with every purchase made through our site.

Water for Kids is a charity of volunteers who bring clean water sources to those in need. Their current projects are mainly in rural disadvantaged communities of Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. The projects start by sourcing safe drinking water for the first time; either by protecting a polluted village water source, rain water harvesting perhaps at a school or a new borehole for a large community.

activewear sportswear recycled materials Sundried

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund

Sundried is partially funded by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund and we have strict policies and guidelines to ensure everything we do has the very smallest carbon footprint. Sundried minimise the carbon footprint throughout the full life cycle (design, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal) of an item of Sundried apparel through:

  • Local production in the UK and Europe (vs. the rest of the industry which is mainly produced in the Far East).
  • Using materials that use little carbon in their manufacture, little energy in their maintenance and are recyclable.
  • Carbon offsetting where a zero/low carbon choice isn’t currently viable.

Find out more about how we’re trying to make a sustainable statement. 

Sundried activewear is designed to last in order to help break this cycle. We have also been exploring how in years to come, we can recycle our products to protect the environment.

plastic waste recycling innovation Sundried activewear

Fighting plastic pollution with recycled activewear

Sundried's iconic recycled range is made from 100% recycled materials including plastic bottles and coffee grounds that would otherwise end up in landfill. The global plastic pollution problem is a worldwide epidemic, and companies like Sundried are paving the way to making a change and starting to reverse the damage being done. 

By crafting sportswear out of recycled materials, Sundried is reducing the impact of the textile industry as well as helping to utilise the otherwise wasteful products that pollute our oceans and wildlife. 

Not only this, recycled materials lend themselves beautifully to becoming activewear with their natural odour-blocking properties, UV protection, and advanced sweat-wicking technology. It's a win-win! 

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