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Guides to Eco-Materials

by Alicia MacLeay
August 30, 2007

REI Eco-Sensitive Icon If you’ve been wondering what's the big environmental deal about bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton or what exactly is that stuff made from corn (PLA) or soda bottles (recycled PET), REI now has descriptions of the eco-sensitive materials they use in select gear and apparel, along with the pros and cons of each. Learn the difference between "organic cotton" clothes and clothes "made with organic cotton" and what materials use genetically modified crops at REI’s Eco-Sensitive Materials.

Though a little tougher to find on their site, Patagonia also explains the different fabrics and technologies they use in their apparel, like Capilene, merino wool, and organic cotton, with information like which have recycled content (and how much) and which are recyclable (so you can help close the loop).

Of course, buying "greener" gear and apparel is only green if you actually need the item and it’s a more environmentally-friendly choice than similar products out there. As tempting as it may sound, none of us can over-shop our way to a healthier planet.