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Eco 101

02/25/2021

Sustainability is more than a trend – it's a long-term shift in thinking. With EcoSmart®, we've made it easy to find the best sustainable products and make good choices for the planet.

And what makes these products better for the planet? Most often it's the unique materials and fabrics. Each one has an interesting story about how it became part of an umbrella or backpack. Here's a quick primer:

 

1. Recycled PET

 

Polyethylene terephthalate, better known by the abbreviation PET, is the most common type of plastic used for water and soft drink bottles, food containers such as peanut butter jars and containers for household cleaners. It's a favorite of the food and beverage industry thanks to its strength, durability and transparency. Unfortunately, these characteristics also mean that it takes about 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose (Popular Science).

It's not all bad news, though. PET happens to be the most recycled plastic in the world. Used PET containers are sorted, cleaned and ground into pellets that are reintroduced to the manufacturing process that produces our EcoSmart backpacks, umbrellas and even journals.

And if you're looking for a retail brand in the eco-friendly game, we've partnered with Parkland to offer their on-trend collection of backpacks, totes, duffel bags and pouches – all made with 100% recycled water bottles.

Want to feel good about what you're wearing? Our eco apparel is made with a blend that includes more than 30% recycled PET, taking plastic waste and turning it into something you can feel good about wearing. But it's not just good for the planet – it's high-quality fabric that feels good and looks good, too.

 

2. Bamboo

 

Pandas love bamboo and so do we. We use it for everything from lunch boxes and cutlery to photo frames. Aside from being 100% biodegradable, bamboo is durable and highly renewable. Incredibly, it grows several feet in 24 hours and requires 30% less water to grow. Plus, we think it looks pretty classy too!

3. Wheat Straw

 

Ever wonder: After all those wheat grains are harvested to make your favorite baked goods, what becomes of the rigid stalk that's left over? Believe it or not, it ends up in some of our EcoSmart products.

When added to the barrel of a pen or a lunch box, wheat straw greatly reduces the amount of plastic in the product. And no need to worry about allergies. Since there is no wheat grain in these products, they are totally gluten-free.

 

4. Recycled Cotton

 

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, annual textile waste is estimated to equal 25 billion pounds. Once in landfills, all that material can take hundreds of years to decompose.

5. PLA

A biodegradable, bio-based material derived from renewable resources sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what you’re getting with PLA, an eco-friendly thermoplastic produced by fermenting carbohydrates, like corn starch or sugarcane. Not only is it a great alternative to plastic – and unlike plastic, it doesn’t emit toxic fumes when oxygenated – it’s also recognized as safe by the FDA, making it perfect for food packaging, medical applications and more. But that’s not all… The positive economic impact from producing these “green” materials is staggering. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2030, over 300,000 jobs will have been created in the bioplastics industry (European Bioplastics). Yep, PLA is a plastic alternative we should all be excited about.

The Bottom Line

We believe that big change begins with small steps. Choosing eco-friendly products is your way of making a difference. And EcoSmart is our way of helping.

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