If you've never heard of "rainforest-free" clothing, you're going to want to take a seat and listen up.
You might be surprised (and hopefully saddened!) to learn that some of your favorite pieces in that wardrobe of yours might be taking a serious toll on the rainforest. And while there's no doubt that we love the environment, it's definitely hard to give up that dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. However, there is a bright side. Several clothing companies have started to take note of this problem and are vowing to start manufacturing rainforest-free clothing.
But what exactly is "rainforest-free clothing?"
Most customers don't realize that those silky, smooth fabrics used to give clothing more drape—rayon, modal, and viscose—are cellulose-based. Cellulose is created by combining ground-up trees with chemicals to form a pulp. And although it wouldn't be so bad if those trees came from sustainable forests, unfortunately 40 percent of the 120 million trees that will be used this year will come from old-growth ones that have been living for hundreds of years in now-endangered forests.
And what's worse? 65 percent of each tree ends up discarded as a byproduct. Yikes, right?
This news might sound bleak, but recently 96 major companies collaborated with activist groups like the Rainforest Action Network and Canopy to find more sustainable solutions, with a goal to remove rainforest-harvested cellulose from their supply chains by the end of 2017! Some of our favorite major fashion retailers are in on the project, including H&M, Zara, ASOS, Aritzia, Victoria's Secret, Stella McCartney, and more.
And what's more? Racked reported that 75 percent of the world's supply of rayon is produced by just 10 companies, and today, nine of those 10 have pledged to go rainforest-free. *Insert a standing ovation*
With these companies taking huge steps toward protecting the environment, there is some real (and important) change that can be made. By raising awareness and taking initiative to find ways to more sustainably produce the fabrics that we love so dearly and as consumers, to support those companies that are taking a stand, we can truly be the change that the world and our rainforests need!