We'll see you there!
The gals at American Canvas
Screen printers to the indi art capitol and beyond
An avid glass and bottle collector, I have lived in the Pennsylvania Amish Country all of my life. As a collector, I have spent countless hours poking through the many old glass and bottle dumps scattered throughout the natural wooded habitats and rural farmlands where I live.One thing that has always bothered me though, is how collectors take the valuable whole bottles and glass pieces, but leave the broken glass behind for the environment and the wildlife to deal with.
I have seen baby deer laying in the broken glass, foxes, squirrels and countless other wildlife running through it. Even birds landing in the glass while searching for a meal. To me, though broken, this glass still has beauty and history, so I decided to pick up the pieces and turn them into something beautiful again, in my remarkable line of recycled glass jewelry. Each piece of this eco friendly jewelry is truly "A Little Piece of History for you to Wear."
As a collector, I have prepared for each piece "The Story of the Glass" detailing what the glass was originally and the age of the piece.
A truly unique way to preserve the past while helping the future.
Laura Bergman, Reclaim Artist
"It's a piece of our overall strategy and one we're pretty excited about," Dane Parker, Dell's director of environmental, health and safety, told GreenBiz.com.
The company announced last year its goal of becoming carbon neutral by late 2008. Since then, it focused on reducing energy consumption and buying renewable energy before offsetting the remaining emissions.
Overall, Dell lowered total energy demand by about 5 percent through efficiency projects such as lighting upgrades, HVAC retrofits, tweaking building temperature settings and shutting off computers not being used.
Most projects had a payback period of three years or less, Parker said. As the company moves beyond the low-hanging fruit, it is considering projects with longer ROIs, such as equipment upgrades for building controls. Dell's data centers, accounting for about 20 percent of its global power use, represent another opportunity for energy savings.
The company currently buys enough renewable energy to comprise 20 percent of its worldwide portfolio, the majority of it wind power. In the U.S., green power purchases meet a third of its demand. Dell now buys roughly 116 million kWh each year, compared to 12 million kWh in 2004.
Although the company met its goal early, it will continue looking for ways to weave additional efficiencies into its operations, Parker said. In addition to electronics waste efforts and more efficient products, Dell plans to reduce and reuse 99 percent of its waste by 2012.
"We're at 95 percent now," Parker said. "The last 4 percent doesn't sound like a lot but it's the hardest part."
News: Sweatshop Victory in the Marianas Islands
news: For more than a decade Co-op America and our members have been
working together to end sweatshops, human trafficking, and exploitation
on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US Territory in
the Western Pacific.
On April 10, 2008 the US Senate voted
91-4 to finally extend federal labor and immigration laws to the
Mariana Islands. The House has already passed the Bill and it will be
signed into law. (For background on this issue, please see our
previous editorials here and here.)
is a long-delayed victory to end some of the worse labor abuse in the
world. In 1992 the owners of sweatshops on the main island of Saipan
were fined $9.2 million for labor violations. In 2004 a high-profile
1999 lawsuit against 27 US name-brand retailers and 23 Saipan garment
factories was finally settled for $20 million.
years, Congressional hearings and dozens of reports from human rights
workers, NGOs and the US Government detailed an economic system in the
Mariana Islands based on exploitation and abuse. For years it was
clear that federal control of labor, immigration and custom laws was
required to shut down the system of abuse. And yet, since 1995 every
effort to pass legislation to place the Marianas Islands fully under US
laws and oversight was killed by lobbyists like Jack Abramoff and his
This obstacle to justice has
finally been removed. Human rights advocates and the workers are
celebrating (you can join them at their Web site, Unheard No More).
To learn more about sweatshops and how to take action, download our latest Guide to Ending Sweatshops online.
This is one of American Canvas' manufactures actions toward providing us better choices!
Continental Clothing has announced their intention to become 100% organic.
Continental have purchased 750 tonnes of ‘100% organic cotton - in
conversion’, which is due to be harvested in October. Thereafter, from
November onwards, all Continental cotton garments will be 100% organic,
or 100% organic - in conversion. Continental will be the first major
manufacturer to do this, and the implications for the apparel industry
Phil (Director of Continental) said “This is a
major step towards going 100% organic – and by developing lasting &
sustainable relationships with organic cotton farmers, we ensure our
future supply of organic cotton in a time when demand might exceed
“The cost of organic cotton in conversion is only
3-5% more than conventional cotton, as compared to approximately 20-30%
more for fully organic cotton, which means that can absorb the increase
and we will not have to increase the prices of our garments.
We will now be offering over 65 styles in 100% organic cotton in
conversion, in addition to our existing organic baby wear and three
organic cotton adult styles.”
“I hope this gives a glimpse of
what the future of the promotional industry might be, by demonstrating
that it’s possible to switch all cotton to organic, not just a few
lines of organic cotton T-shirts within a much larger wholesale
collection of conventional cotton garments.”
A note about the meaning of ‘100% organic cotton - in conversion’
The Global Organic Textile Standard also enables the labeling of cotton
fibre from the organic conversion period, for example '100% organic
cotton - in conversion'. Cotton in conversion is grown on land which
has only recently been converted to organic methods (typically less
than 2 or 3 years). Therefore, although no chemical pesticides and
synthetic fertilizers are being used, residues may still be found in
the soil. This conversion period is very difficult for farmers, who
usually experience an initial drop in yield, while not being able to
obtain premium organic price for their crops. Therefore, purchasing
organic cotton - in conversion is a great way to support farmers making
the difficult transition to organic.
We are thrilled at American Canvas to have manufactures working with us to raise awareness of the inhumane practices that go into the "cute" clothes we put on our backs!
"Do you know where your cotton comes from?" If you knew what you are wearing, you might be ashamed
substantiate this, I am instigating what will be a transparent audit of
our conventional cotton supply chain, similar to the supply chain audit
in place for our organic cotton, this will be published before
September 3rd 2007. Once completed, any new garments will be
re-labelled to include the origin of the cotton fibres.
that guaranteed, you can now sleep a little better at night, however,
if you wish to learn more, read on... but I warn you, it does not make
happy reading if you are in any way involved in purchasing or
re-selling cotton apparel...
is the third largest cotton exporter in the world. About one in four of
all cotton garments sold in the UK contain a percentage of Uzbek cotton
fibres. The first problem is that the Uzbek regime is responsible for torture, slave labour and a continuing environmental disaster on an unimaginable scale - all in the name of cotton production.
The second problem is that they don't tell you on the clothing labels
in stores where the cotton fibres came from, just where the garment was
manufactured. The truth about the Uzbek cotton industry makes horrific
reading, and I only reproduce here a fraction of what I have read. I do
this, not to be sensationalist, but because we can actually do
something about this, by raising awareness in our industry, and
encouraging other manufacturers to follow suit or lose their reputation
- and ultimately lose sales. In the near future, in the current
climate, unethical business practises will simply not be profitable.
is a disastrous aberration created by Soviet central planning. Over 80%
of the loss of water from the Aral Sea is due to irrigation for the
Uzbek cotton industry, so it is responsible for one of the World’s
greatest environmental disasters. On most agricultural land in
Uzbekistan, cotton has been grown as a monoculture for fifty years,
with no rotation. This of course exhausts the soil and encourages
pests. As a result the cotton industry employs massive quantities of
pesticide and fertiliser. As a result it is not just that the Aral Sea
is disappearing, but that and fertilisers, with no rotation.the whole
area of the former sea suffers appalling pollution, reflected in
appalling levels of disease.
farm workers are tied to the farm. They need a propusk (visa) to move
away – which they won’t get. The state farm worker normally gets two
dollars a month. Their living and nutritional standards would improve
greatly if, rather than grow cotton, they had a little area to grow
institutes allowed in Uzbekistan. In fact the proportion of the
population enslaved on state cotton farms is closer to 60% than 40%.
cotton industry in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan contributes
to political repression, economic stagnation, widespread poverty and
environmental degradation. The economics of Central Asian cotton are
simple and exploitative. Millions of the rural poor work for little or
no reward growing and harvesting the crop. The considerable profits go
either to the state or small elites with powerful political ties.
Forced and child labour and other abuses are common.
is only sustainable under conditions of political repression, which can
be used to mobilise workers at less than market cost. Uzbekistan and
Turkmenistan are among the world's most repressive states, with no free
elections. Opposition activists and human rights defenders are subject
to persecution. The lack of a free media allows many abuses to go
unreported. Unelected local governments are usually complicit in
abuses, since they have little or no accountability to the population.
Cotton producers have an interest in continuing these corrupt and
The industry relies on cheap labour.
Schoolchildren are still regularly required to spend up to two months
in the cotton fields in Uzbekistan. Despite official denials, child
labour is still in use in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Students in all
three countries must miss their classes to pick cotton. Little
attention is paid to the conditions in which children and students
work. Every year some fall ill or die.
the Uzbek cotton fields. These are not sensationalist; they are very
much the everyday conditions in which hundreds of thousands of Uzbek
children are forced to live for months.
Women do much of the hard manual labour in cotton fields, and reap
almost none of the benefits. Cash wages are minimal, and often paid
late or not at all. In most cotton-producing areas, growers are among
the poorest elements in society.
costs of the monoculture have been devastating. The depletion of the
Aral Sea is the result of intensive irrigation to fuel cotton
production. The region around the sea has appalling public health and
ecological problems. Even further upstream, increased salinisation and
desertification of land have a major impact on the environment.
Disputes over water usage cause tension among Central Asian states.
Reforming the cotton sector is not easy. Central Asian cotton is traded
internationally by major European and U.S. corporations; its production
is financed by Western banks, and the final product ends up in
well-known clothes outlets in Western countries. But neither the
international cotton trading companies nor the clothing manufacturers
pay much attention to the conditions in which the cotton is produced.
Nor have international organisations or IFIs done much to address the
abuses. U.S. and EU subsidy regimes for their own farmers make
long-term change more difficult by depressing world prices.
years ago Craig Murray, our British ambassador to Uzbekistan, had a
sense-of-humour failure about Britain condoning torture there. His
fate? The Foreign Office fired him. Labour or Conservative? It doesn't
really matter does it, they are all the same.
you should demand that your apparel manufacturer state on their garment
labels where their cotton comes from, and that it does not come from
Uzbekistan. With the vast volume of T-shirts bought and sold, the
message will quickly spread, and High Street retail will follow.
Why am I doing this? As a large user of cotton, and with our
influential position in the T-shirt industry, Continental Clothing has
an opportunity, if not even a responsibility, to raise awareness and
promote consumer action on issues where we feel strongly - such as the
state orchestrated child slavery in Uzbekistan. The wonderful thing is
that it costs us nothing, and may switch cause consumers to question
the garments they buy and so switch them on to cotton garments which
guarantee that certain positive social and environmental conditions are
met - such as Continental garments. This is often the way with ethical
and environmental choices, initially they appear expensive and
difficult, until you realise they can be sustainable choices for a
longer term and more profitable future. So yes, we are doing this
because we can, and also for personal gain. If you follow the same
formula, you may benefit in exactly the same way
Some companies go
further, and open up their manufacturing processes and business
practices to scrutiny by organizations set up to promote fair labour
conditions such as the ‘FAIR WEAR FOUNDATION’ (FWF).
exists to promote fair labour conditions in the garment industry world
wide; this means it’s member companies have undersigned FWF's Code of
Labour practices, and thereby the company has committed itself to
monitor the factories of its suppliers, and the Fair Wear Foundation
verifies that the Code of Labour Practices is actually implemented and
respected at the factories.
The new line we are launching that meets
our high ethical standards in the fashion industry.
American Canvas hopes all of our manufactures of gorgeous sweatshop free clothing will go further into the human rights violation free realm.
Here is a little info on our ability to be less harmful to the environment with our clothing choices.
The textile industry has tremendous negative impacts on the
environment, health and livelihood of cotton farmers and workers.
Evidence suggests that it may also be detrimental to the health of
Pressure to produce quickly increasing quantities
of cheap textiles has led the industry to adopt some of the most
unethical trade practices on the planet. Sweatshop practices have been
denounced very successfully in the past 10 years, and you are probably
aware of the unacceptable working conditions which have been the norm
in many manufacturing mills in the developing world, such as long
working hours, low wages, and child labour. As a result, your
expectations as a consumer have forced popular brands to look into the
conditions in which their products are manufactured.
On the other hand, the negative environmental and social impact of
fibre production and fibre processing are only starting to be
addressed. Most consumers are still unaware of how severe and
wide-ranging are the problems. Those that do, have contributed to the
growth of the organic movement. And while it is true that cotton can be
produced in an environmentally friendly way (ORGANIC), while
contributing to alleviate poverty in some of the least developed
countries (FAIR TRADE), in practice, this is not what we mostly observe
The major textile certification schemes are Organic, Fair Trade, and other “Eco Labels”.
In order to understand what these standards are designed for, and what
an organic or fair trade cotton T-shirt means, it is important to know
how cotton textile is made.
How are T-shirts Made?
‘The negative impacts of conventional cotton production ‘
Cotton is grown commercially using a large amount of pesticides and
herbicides, toxic chemicals designed, as the name suggests, to kill
pests, insects, weeds, fungus, or any other kind of living things. Most
cotton is also grown on poorly managed soils, which would be almost
sterile without large amounts of synthetic fertilizers. More
insecticides are sprayed on cotton than on any other major crop. Many
problems are associated with this production method. Severe negative
impacts include: loss of biodiversity and damage to ecosystems and
wildlife, depletion of precious natural resources such as water and
soil, and heavy contamination of water bodies. The ecological
devastation of the Aral Sea area in central Asia, one of the most
visible ecological disasters on the planet, almost entirely due to
cotton production, symbolises cotton’s environmental impacts.
Other impacts include poisoning (sometime fatal) of farmers, and
intolerable indebtedness of poor farmers trapped on the “pesticide
treadmill”. In some areas, the cost of chemicals is now reaching 60% of
farmers’ production costs. The use of pesticides on small-scale cotton
farms in developing countries has unacceptable negative impacts on the
health of farmers and their families, and on their environment. On such
farms, the level of training required to avoid hazards when using
pesticides is seldom attainable. The necessary protective equipment is
almost never used because of its lack of availability and its
prohibitive price, and is inappropriate for use in tropical climates.
‘The positive impacts of organic cotton production’
However, cotton can be grown following the strict principles of organic
agriculture. Organic agriculture uses no synthetic chemical pesticides,
no synthetic fertilizers, and no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).
Organic fertilizers (such as manure) and plant-based pest management
products (such as neem or garlic extract) are used. However, organic
agriculture is not only a mere substitution of synthetic inputs with
natural inputs. The major principle is to restore a natural balance
within farms, with healthy and well-structured soils, rich in organic
matter. In such an environment, the pests (any living things which
damage the crop) are not systematically destroyed by poisons, but are
kept under control by their natural predators. Biodiversity (the
diverse range of living species: plants, animals, microorganisms) and
agro-diversity (the diverse range of crops planted by the farmer, as
well as livestock) are integral parts of an organic farm.
The organic cotton fibre that is harvested is similar to most
conventional cotton fibres, except that it is guaranteed non-GM, and is
not contaminated with pesticides. The main difference is that the
ecosystem where it has been produced has not been damaged, and
chemicals have not poisoned the farmer and his or her family.
The cotton produced while converting from conventional farming to
organic farming is called ‘organic in conversion’. This is a necessary
but difficult stage for any organic farmer, as the cotton may cost more
to produce, but cannot be sold at the premium that certified organic
cotton can achieve. Some companies have decided to incorporate this
cotton into their conventional cotton production, as an indication to
consumers of their support for, and understanding of organic issues,
and forward thinking business ethics.
Fully organic cotton
fibre is certified as an organic agricultural product, along with other
crops on the farm, by a private certification body, which guarantees
that the rigorous organic standards have been strictly followed. The
UK-based Soil Association, for example, is one among over 100 such
certification agencies worldwide, which are accredited and audited by
various bodies such as the International Federation of Organic
Agricultural Movement, Control Union Group, which now, at last, are
being brought together under a single GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARD
Therefore, the certification of cotton fibre as an organic agricultural
product is extremely reliable. If the label of your T-shirt claims that
it has been made with organic cotton, you can be confident that the
cotton fibre has really been grown organically. There is no need for a
logo, the word “organic” is sufficient.
However, the word ‘organic’ only refers to a guarantee on the growing stage of the cotton fibre,
and not on the processing or the manufacturing, and there is still a long way from the fibre to a T-shirt.
There are many stages required to process cotton from fibres to
fabrics. The fibres are cleaned, carded (combed), spun into yarn,
coated with starches or chemicals, woven into fabric (or knitted in the
case of a T-shirt), cleaned up from their coating and their natural
wax, bleached, immersed in concentrated caustic soda, dyed or printed,
and chemically treated for easy care and other properties. All these
stages require a large number of chemicals of various toxicity and
hazards. Some of these chemicals threaten the health of workers, while
others cause environmental pollution from the mills’ waste water.
Finally, many of these chemicals are found as residues in the finished
product, and some of them may affect the health of consumers, and are
suspected to cause allergies, eczema, and even cancers.
order to address those processing and manufacturing stages, a handful
of organisations, mostly organic certification agencies, have developed
their own private voluntary “organic” or “sustainable” standards for
textile, and are certifying finished products according to those
Such organic certification agencies and their textile processing scheme
include the Soil Association and the Control Union International (aka
SKAL International); the new GOTS will encompass those.
so, what we commonly call in Europe an “organic T-shirt” is a T-shirt
made with certified organic cotton fibre, and processed according to
those textile processing standards. The certification agency then
authorises the manufacturer to add its logo (or mark, or symbol) on the
T-shirt’s label or their marketing literature. This is essential in
order to recognize an Organic T-shirt.
While the processing
and manufacturing are not really “organic” in a similar way that
agricultural products are “organic”, what those standards aim to
achieve is to maintain the integrity of the organic nature of the fibre
as much as possible. This is achieved by using as much organic material
as possible, and by adopting alternative chemicals and processing
practices that minimize the impact on the environment, and protect the
health of consumers, while insuring textiles of high quality that are
economically viable. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Mark is one such
American Canvas is launching the availablity of these tee shirts in full color and hoodies in black!
If you'd like to meet to see sample product please call or email and we will set a time to meet with you!
Earth Positive apparel is made to demonstrate the highest possible environmental, social and ethical standards in one of the worlds most environmentally damaging industries.
This line is organic and ethically made, but crucially, manufactured solely using sustainable energy from wind and solar power.
Earth Positive is a practical and immediate solution for business and fashion to face their biggest challenge and take immediate action to combat climate change.
Sweatshop Free and Eco Friendly Apparel and Accessories
CLIMATE NEUTRAL APPAREL
Our industry is blowing me away right now! When Ivett and I started American Canvas only 2 years ago every old school printer we consulted with laughed at us for committing to sweatshop free and eco friendly clothing! Well, 2 years later consumers across the board are letting manufacturers know they want to spend their money where their mouth is!
Did you know 60% of corporate employees polled said they consider a companies green stance as a large part of the decision of whether or not to accept a job offer! 67% of consumers polled said they willingly pay more for green products and services and consistently choose them over the old school options!
Do you know green services and products are the 1 commercial area experiencing vast growth during this economically challenged time in our economy.
We could not be happier with the quick changes we are seeing in our own textiles industry! When your sipping purified water, consider the benefits the filtration system brings to the apparel industry. The newest crop of green fabric , Eco-carbon is activated carbon leftover from recycled coconut shells and yes the coconut helps to purify the water and makes great fabric to boot!
The biggest benefit to consumers of Eco-carbon is odor elimination, it also transports moisture making apparel quick to dry and breathable! Another great benefit is the carbon is a fiber, part of the apparel so it's benefits will not wash away over time!
Traditional performance garments which we used to not offer to our
clients had toxic chemicals in them that were absorbed by the body and
washed into streams and rivers every time you washed the item. This is such a great long terms benefit of the new Eco-carbon fibers.
What's also exciting us about the new fiber is the carbon is collected from the water industry, the parts that are too small for them to use. The coconut shells are gathered from the coconut industry so while making a new awesom fabric, our industry is taking part in cutting down land fill waste!
Did you know your clothing can now have a 50% SPF rating? Yep, Eco-carbon can have a 50+ rating! How cool is this?
We could not be more proud to be a part of an industry that once had very few positive impacts on the lives of workers and the environment and now, well, I could talk your ear off with the crazy amount of advances going on but for now, I'll save it for another interesting blog entry!