According to National Geographic, 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris are currently floating about the world’s oceans. On average, it takes 400 years for each of those pieces to decompose. It’s a global problem. But it’s one that The 30A Company is working hard to address.
The company’s ethos is all part of an emerging movement called “sustainable fashion,” which champions a complete rethinking of the textile production supply chain. The fabrics The 30A Company incorporates in its clothing line, for example, consist of equal parts ultra-soft cotton and recycled plastic. It takes nearly eight 16-ounce plastic bottles to create a single 30A Company shirt.
“Consumers, particularly the younger generation, will soon demand a shift in the design, development and manufacturing to see a real environmental impact,” says JoAnn Ribaudo, COO of the 30A Company.
Ribaudo spent years learning the ins-and-outs of the apparel industry before stepping into her current role. Since she and founder Mike Ragsdale dreamed up an eco-friendly apparel line, the company has been responsible for recycling over 4.7 million plastic bottles retrieved from landfills and the ocean.
The process begins with the fiber company Repreve, which specializes in turning plastic waste and weaving it into cotton blend yarn—a process called “trash, shred, weave, wear.” The result is a thinner cotton blend used to make T-shirts, V-necks, blankets, UPF 30 coverups, and sweatshirts. Their clothing is breathable, no-fade, and shrink resistant.
“All of our employers and partners are vetted to make sure their working conditions are clean, safe, and that their employees are paid a fair living wage,” Ribaudo says.
The 30A Company is now recognized as a pioneer in the field of environmentally friendly clothing, offering a marine-life-friendly and organic skincare line, bicycles, reusable bags, metal straws, drinkware, and pet products.
You can find their clothing at 30AGear.com, 30A stores, as well as at 350 retailers in the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands.