Sustainable Outdoor Textiles

Well, dangit, I did it again. This blog post has a “trick title”… like a trick question. You see, outdoor textiles are not sustainable. Well, at least not based on my research. I absolutely do hope someone will prove me wrong.

“Sustainable” outdoor fabrics are made from recycled plastic fibers. So, they are recycled and that makes them sustainable, right? Wrong. It makes them less horrible. Not even great or wonderful, just less horrible. The way I see it, any plastic product is damaging to our environment. Plastics are poison to us and our planet. It boggles my mind that we know what they do to us and our Earth, and yet we still manufacture them! Okay, okay, we are recycling them for this purpose. Better to recycle than let it sit in a waste site, isn’t it? Well, is it really? Recycling a product means putting the product through another processing stage, creating more run-off and releasing more toxins.

I do not have a perfect solution. Maybe recycling is the best we have. But, as I understood the 3 R’s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Recycling was a last resort. The first was reduce. So, if we are reducing our plastic use, should we really be mass consuming recycled plastics? Or, should we be focusing on those fantastic organisms found to eat and digest plastics, taking care of the plastic problem built up and completely eliminate the production of new plastics (yes please!).

Right now, my suggestion is to skip on the outdoor fabrics and not contribute to the demand for more plastics. Yes, it’s a way to recycle them. But, we can start by reducing the consumption and demand for such products. Enjoy teak, metal, cedar, and red oak furnishings for outdoor spaces and let the sustainable textiles be for the interior spaces.