Clothing is cheaper than it has ever been, which makes it more accessible, but also seemingly more disposable. In fact, the average American throws out 68 lbs of clothing each year, which results in roughly 1,250,000 tons of post-consumer waste. Of this 68 lbs, only an average of 10 lbs is “recycled” (usually via donating it to a charity). The remaining post-consumer waste is either incinerated or relegated to a landfill, and both have serious environmental implications. Burning textiles emits dioxins, dust particles, etc. Textiles in landfills take thousands of years to decompose, and as the materials decompose byproducts such as methane (a greenhouse gas), leachate, and ammonia are created. Of the 1.25 million tons of post-consumer textile waste put into landfills every year, it is estimated that 95% could be recycled.
That’s all just post-consumer textile waste- -to manufacture new textiles requires a huge investment of water and energy, and in addition to the textiles, there is a host of waste being generated both affecting surface and ground water, and the air. In addition to the environmental implications of textile manufacturing, there is also the issue that a significant number of textile manufacturers are utilizing/exploiting cheap, foreign labor.
Re-purposing recycled textiles results in no new textiles being manufactured (i.e. no pre-consumer waste generated, no water and minimal energy used) and it also saves materials from winding up in your local landfill.
That being said, recycling, sustainability and supporting local markets (at the very least, made in the USA) are all part of the focus for Muffinhead. All materials used in the dog jackets (with the exception of the Velcro and threads, which are at least purchased locally) are gathered from local sources, and all of the jackets are handmade in Portland, which supports the Pacific Northwest economy. Additionally, because the jackets are constructed from repurposed textiles, each garment is unique- -just like your dog!