Depending on who you ask, it may still be too early for winter holiday decorations – but it’s not too early to start thinking about the gifts you’ll stealthily wrap and deliver to your loved ones. This holiday season, you can double-up on cheer and give our rivers, bays and water-loving wildlife the gift of fresh and clean water. It starts with using your wallet to support businesses that are deliberately cutting down on water waste and pollution.
We don’t always think about the unseen water costs in our clothing, home goods, cosmetics and electronics – but water is usually an essential ingredient throughout a product’s lifecycle. Textiles in particular use large amounts of water at every stage: first when they are being produced, then when they are being used, washed and cared for, and then again when they are either disposed of or recycled.
In the production stage alone, an average cotton t-shirt uses up to 713 gallons of water. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. It takes 12 years for the average American to drink that much water.
That’s why we appreciate companies that are championing creative and innovative approaches to using water more efficiently. Here’s a compilation of some of those companies to help you knock out your holiday gift shopping. If there’s another water-conscious company you love, let us know in the comments!
Levi’s CEO, Chip Bergh, set the tone for water conservation when he called on his “CEO colleagues” to join him in washing their jeans only once every 10 years (or on a more palatable scale, at least only once every 10 uses).
Dirty jeans aren’t the only way Bergh has acted to conserve water. His commitment to fresh water has been reflected in Levi’s many water-related initiatives, including a goal to use 100 percent sustainable (less water-hungry) cotton by year 2020. Levi’s has also switched to denim “finishing” techniques that use 96 percent less water than their former denim finishing process.
United By Blue has built a commitment to clean and healthy waterways into every aspect of its brand and mission. The apparel company promises to remove a pound of trash from our waterways for every product sold – and so far that’s added up to 1,035,605 pounds of trash that are no longer clogging up our rivers, bays and oceans.
Patagonia is famous for their obsession with designing environmentally-sustainable business goals and empowering grassroots conservation efforts (so obsessed, in fact, that their CEO has written several books about it). Luckily, this unique business approach includes taking care of our rivers, bays and wildlife.
Patagonia’s path towards energy efficiency has included partnering with innovative technology companies to use water more efficiently and avoid water pollution. It has also included a large investment in new textile treatment processes that aim to eliminate water waste.
Yes, another jeans company – and that’s good news, because it takes a lot of water to produce a single pair of jeans. Who doesn’t appreciate the gift of good denim?
Wrangler has notably partnered with The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation to spread the water efficiency gospel to cotton growers, raising the visibility of techniques and technologies that can add up to major water savings.
prAna’s website boasts that sustainable practices are in their company’s DNA, and we’re inclined to believe them. prAna is one of many companies to partner with Bluesign, which monitors prAna’s supply chains and identifies opportunities for them to better protect people, wildlife and our natural world. You can shop prAna’s Bluesign-approved collection here.
Using organic cotton can reduce the amount of water used for growing by 91 percent. prAna has committed to using 100 percent organic cotton by Spring 2018. For now, you can shop their existing Organic Cotton collection.
Like prAna and Patagonia, Thule is partnering with Bluesign to zero in on opportunities to reduce water waste and pollution in their supply chain.
Thule’s 2014 environmental impact report shared that they had already decreased their company’s water use by 51.8 percent in two years. This decrease was thanks to both larger-scale conservation projects and smaller-scale initiatives like focusing in on their building’s landscape irrigation and providing employee education opportunities for water conservation.
Even more companies
While businesses can still do a lot to decrease their water use footprint, there’s no shortage of companies that are committing in various ways to using water more wisely. Here’s a few more of those companies:
- Stop the Water While Using Me
- Alternative Apparel
- Sprout San Francisco
- Radio Flyer
- Marks & Spencer
Local bonus: Texas native companies YETI and Kammok are using their platforms to encourage people to get outdoors and responsibly enjoy our state’s wild spaces and waters. And Texas natives Fort Lonesome consistently partner with organizations like ours to donate their art and profits to important causes.
Happy shopping! Remember to support your community’s small businesses and artists this holiday season. It’s a great way to minimize your water and energy footprint, starting with eliminating the shipping impacts that add up in the rush to get the gifts to your door.
Is your loved one a river-loving do-gooder?
Consider donating to Texas Living Waters Project in their name. Simply submit a donation online and then email us the name of the individual on whose behalf you’re donating. We’ll send you a personalized “Thank You for Protecting Texas Rivers and Bays” card for you to print out and use to surprise your loved one.
- World Water Day: Strategies for Water for All in the Lone Star State - March 22, 2019
- New Year’s resolutions for friends of fresh water - January 4, 2019
- Water Heroes: How Deborah & Emry use cattle to heal the land - May 10, 2018