When it comes to environmentally-friendly backpacks, there is more to the story than just fashion. Just like fashion in general, from the materials chosen to the working conditions they are produced in, backpacks can have serious ethical implications. If you’re wondering whether to buy an environmentally-friendly backpack, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll break down the unsustainable practices that go into the production of backpacks. I’ll then show you some top reasons to switch to an environmentally-friendly backpack. Let’s get into it!
The materials used in your backpack matter
Traditionally, backpacks use a blend of cotton and nylon during their production process. When used in excess, these fabrics have a detrimental impact on the environment.
On average, it takes around 10,000 litres of water to produce a singular kilo of cotton. If we put that in perspective, that works out to around 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton t-shirt.
The demand for water in regions that grow cotton far surpasses the average rainfall. Water that could be drunk is instead used for irrigation. Considering that a 2015 U.N. study predicts a 40% shortage of fresh water in the next 15 years, water is not a resource that we should waste like this. What’s more, the Guardian has reported that water used to grow cotton could have supplied 85% of India’s population in 2013. That’s supplying 85% of 1.24 billion people every single day. Instead, over 100 million people in India do not have direct access to safe water. The cotton industry has a direct impact on these people, claiming water for plant growth before human consumption.
The World Counts has an active tracker of the tons of water used in cotton production. If you navigate to their site, you’ll see how rapidly the number is soaring.
Nylon is another key material used in making backpacks. Sadly, nylon requires large amounts of water and energy to produce. What’s more, the production process also creates greenhouse gases 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Due to the fact that nylon isn’t biodegradable, it won’t break down over time. Products you buy with lots of nylon in them will stick around for a long time after you’re done with them.
The misuse of resources is just one of the many reasons you should consider switching to an environmentally-friendly backpack.
Cotton also heavily uses pesticides
The National Wildlife Federation reports that ‘cotton is one of the most chemically intensive crops in the world’. That’s because each year thousands of tons of pesticides are pumped into the environment to spray cotton fields. These pesticides have environmental and biological impacts, severely affecting those that come into contact with them.
Although cotton accounts for only 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land, it uses 16% of insecticides and 6% of the world’s pesticides. This is a significant portion, with cotton farming causing thousands of tonnes of pesticides to leak into the environment each year. Due to this, the Pesticide Action Network report that nearly 1,000 people die each day from associated poisoning. That’s not to mention illnesses like infertility and birth defects also associated with pesticide use.
But, there is something we can do about this! By choosing to buy an environmentally-friendly backpack, you commit to a brand that uses less cotton in their bags.
Environmentally-friendly backpacks prioritise using eco-friendly materials
Eco-friendly backpacks substitute materials like cotton for more environmentally-friendly textiles. Hemp is one of these more sustainable materials. Instead of the demanding water consumption of cotton, it only requires between 300-800 litres of water to produce 1kg of hemp.
On top of this, nine out of ten pesticides used on hemp are biopesticides. These are naturally occurring substances that combat pests. By opting for naturally occurring biopesticides, hemp avoids the damaging practice of chemical pesticides.
When crafting our eco-friendly backpacks, we always have the environment in mind. Hemp is far more sustainable than cotton, which is why it’s our primary choice of sustainable fabric. By using hemp instead of large amounts of cotton, we are saving water, and stopping the overuse of dangerous pesticides. While we do use a small portion of cotton, we attempt to limit this percentage as much as possible!
We produce our environmentally-friendly backpacks in a sustainable manner
A key part of our company is striving to achieve a more sustainable world. Due to this, on top of our careful selection of materials, we strive to make every part of the process as environmentally-friendly as can be. More than just the sustainable fabrics involved, the whole process has to be sustainable!
We’ve thought about this process, right down to the tags we use. Our tags come from recycled paper, stopping the felling of trees. What’s more, we also use natural dyes from flowers when we dye our products. This stops the common chemicals used in the dyeing process from seeping into the land.
So, should you invest in an environmentally-friendly backpack? We certainly think so! Has this opened your eyes to the way changing your backpack can help the environment? Let us know in the comments down below!