Patagonia has been at the forefront of the eco initiative with not only telling you to buy less or used outdoor gear, but finding ways to recycle your gear that has seen better days. Last week, The Guardian announced that Puma is taking it one step further with a plan to create gear that you can shred and compost along with your food leftovers.
In the near future, Puma is confident they can offer you a line of shoes, apparel, and bags that are fully compostable. For the entire Puma line, the company is looking to only manufacturer gear that can follow either a complete technical or biological cycle. This means any old Puma gear can either be recycled into something new or shredded and thrown into the compost heap in your back garden.
Puma has also stated they will phase out all hazardous chemicals from their supply chain by 2020. The company recently created an environmental profit and loss account that shows the direct ecological impact of all the company operations, including supply chain.
So is Puma really taking a huge leap with the claim of compostable gear? After all, you can already compost prety much any fabric that is made using natural ingredients. As long as the fabric is not blended with some synthetic material such as nylon, you can compost cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool.
Regardless, compostable fabric and materials seem to be a growing trend. German fashion designer Anke Domaske created an all-natural fabric called Qmilch, made entirely from the milk protein casein mixed with a few other natural ingredients. Qmilch uses only 2 liters of water to make 2 lbs of fabric, compared to cotton's 10,000 liters.
Then there is the Spudcoat, a 100% biodegradable and compostable waterproof raincoat made from potato starch. At the end of its life, the Spudcoat converts into organic matter, complete with a small clay ball of integrated seeds to be planted.
Instead of telling people to buy less or buy used, which I think will be a tough one for outdoor apparel, composting looks like another good way to help close the loop.