I found this discussion on the pros and cons of fleece in the September/October 2012 issue of Sierra. It’s a terrific example of the trade-offs and choices we need to make daily. Remembering that the results of all of our actions flow outward like water rings in a pond, Greenmomsters have to decide what works for them and then make decisions based on the available scientific information. The process can be frustrating at times, but it’s our responsibility to think about our impact on the environment. There won’t always be clear-cut answers, but if you’re giving these issues some thought, you’re part of the solution! To fleece or not to fleece, that’s the question for you to answer!
The following article and image are from Sierra (September/October 2012, p. 20, article by Dashka Slater):
ON THE ONE HAND . . .
Ah, fleece--it's insulating, it's quick drying, and it can be made of recycled materials, plus it gives even prickly environmentalists a soft, pettable exterior. Vegans like it because it doesn't come from animals, backpackers like it because it can weigh less than wool, and tree huggers like it because it gives old pop bottles something to do. Patagonia, which began making polyester fleece garments from recycled plastic soda bottles in 1993, estimates that in its first 13 years of turning garbage into garments, it diverted 86 million soda bottles from landfills.
ON THE OTHER . . .
Every time you wash that cuddly fleece jacket, tiny plastic particles trickle down the drain and into the ocean. A study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that a single polyester garment can shed more than 1,900 fibers on its trip through the washing machine. Those fibers sail through sewage treatment plants and settle along coastlines. When researchers sifted through sand collected from 18 beaches on six continents, they found acrylic and polyester fibers in every sample. The fibers get eaten by mollusks and then move up the food chain with potentially toxic results.