How Environmentally Friendly is your Outdoor Gear?
Did you know that our outdoor clothing is polluting the environment?
Jackets, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents…
A lot of technical gear is treated with hazardous chemicals to keep us warm and dry.
It’s the PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) which are so good at repelling water. Unfortunately, they’re not good at being broken down by natural processes. In fact, they persist in the environment for long periods of time which causes harm to humans and animals too.
Our outdoor gear is treated with PFCs, which ends up as pollution in rivers and oceans and is destroying the environment that we enjoy so much.
A report by Greenpeace shows how poorly some of our favourite brands fare with their use of hazardous PFCs.
But the good news is that it’s easy to find a more environmentally-friendly solution! You can choose to be PFC-free.
THE all-around ethical UK-brand, Paramo was the first outdoor company to sign up to the Greenpeace Detox programme which ensures that hazardous chemicals are excluded from their products.
They have plenty of UK-based retailers, so Paramo products are not hard to find. There is a good selection of outdoor jackets (medium price range) and their water-repellent products carry a guaranteed PFC-free label.
95% of their clothing is already PFC-free, and Jack Wolfskin is one of the few outdoor brands committed to the Zero Discharge of Harmful Chemicals (ZDHC) programme.
By 2020 they’re hoping to be completely PFC-free, including eliminating other hazardous chemicals from their apparel and footwear.
In the meantime, they’ve got the most comprehensive search filter we’ve ever seen! It’s simple to find their PFC-free products – just select ‘PFC-free’ in the product material category.
Scandinavian brand Fjällräven has the environment at its very heart.
They made the switch to PFC-free treatments back in 2012. Their backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and clothing all boast PFC-free water repellancy to ensure that you’re not unnecessarily harming nature.
Fjällräven tends to be in the ‘medium-to-high’ price range, but they’re renowned for their quality and long-lasting products.
The new-kid-on-the-block is the Swiss, crowd-funded, start-up company Rotauf.
They have a no-nonsense product range and clean, non-fussy, technical designs. This young company is committed to the Greenpeace Detox campaign which means their clothing is subject to the most rigorous, independent chemical standard in the textile industry.
Rotauf is most definitely a ‘high’ price brand, but you’ll find a PFC-free guarantee and also a handy rating for each garment against its Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability.
Vaude was the first Outdoor company to receive its EMAS certification (the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) showing just how serious this company is about managing environmental concerns.
The whole of the clothing range in its Summer 2018 collection is now using a 100% PFC-free membrane and water-repellent treatment.
The outdoor clothing and gear that we buy have such a massive impact on the planet.
So, the next time you’re looking for that new jacket, look closer at the brand, materials and the background of the product.
You may need to pay a little bit extra up front. But it’s important to invest in good quality products and then take care of them for as long as possible.
Let’s be sure that we’re having a positive impact on the environment. It only takes a quick Google search to check.