Note from Green Cotton

Dear Readers, I am in the process of moving to Boston and will not be posting regularly for the next two weeks. Thanks for your patience!

Bamboo Quiz Winners Announced

The first person to get all three questions right goes to Nathan Rosquist!

  1. Tencel (e.g. brand Lyocel)
  2. Processing with harmful chemicals. For more information, click here.
  3. Jonano


Nathan Rosquist

Nathan is as a graphic designer and web-developer at the Interra Project, a nonprofit based in Seattle. Interra Project brings tools for communities to “shop locally and share locally.” Right now they are launching a community loyalty program in the Puget Sound ( that gives back to nonprofits whenever people shop at participating local and sustainable businesses. They launched in Boston last year (

Nathan is also in his final year of grad school, getting an MBA in Sustainable Business (with a concentration on Sustainable Community Economic Development) from Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Nathan is in the process of starting a screen-printing business and is passionate about the idea of “Locally Grown Clothing.” Nathan states that ‘the local food movement has grown deep roots in the last few years here in Seattle, and [he’d] like to frame clothing in the same way. ” He posits that clothing is part of the food system…(which I would have to agree). Nathan would someday like to wear a stylish shirt made from Bamboo grown in and around Seattle, or BC hemp, or Cedar bark. Nathan is actively pursuing this path to see how far he can take it. Good luck Nathan!

Check out Nathan’s blog at


Last week’s questions:

1) What fiber is the closest to bamboo in terms of processing?

2) Name one reason why bamboo may not always be environmentally friendly to process?

3) Name one company that sells 100% bamboo clothing?

Last week’s complete quiz question post, click here.

SF Green Festivals


The SF Green Festivals (Nov 9, 10, 11) promises an amazingly packed weekend with hundreds of green companies gathering for the expo, plus an array of inspiring guest speakers such as Deepak Chopra, Sharif Abdullah and a number of prominent green authors. It should be a remarkable event. I am heading to San Francisco tomorrow and I won’t be writing again until Monday so have a great weekend and stay tuned for some news on the Festival next week. Results from this week’s quiz will also be revealed on Monday– stay tuned!

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Welcome to the San Francisco Green Festival

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Ode to StonyfieldFarm!


Stonyfield Farm (SF) is one of my favorite all-time companies. They make great yogurt, delicious ice cream and good quality milk. They happen to be the world’s largest supplier of organic yogurt, and had about $260 million in sales last year. They are profitable, incredibly GREEN and have been that way for the last 2 decades. SF is not only socially and environmentally conscious but they are ACTIVE participants in the environmental movement in at least half a dozen ways and pro-actively engage their customers in this movement as well.

While some might suggest Stonyfield is a deviation from Green Cotton, I would argue that this company is worth discussing for several reasons. Stonyfield is a GREAT example of a green company that has set a pioneering example since the 1980’s of what can be done to be more sustainable, green and socially responsible. Stonyfield’s latest move (in the news this week) also warrants some attention. Stonyfield just moved toward 100% organic (certified) in ALL of their product lines. For a company of this size (with worldwide distribution) this is no small feat!

What’s more, SF has figured out a way to do all this while remaining incredibly profitable, growing larger each year, and even investing 10% of all profits back into the environment!

I had the privilege of hearing Gary Hirshberg (President and CE-Yo) two years ago at a Baltimore City event on ‘farm-to-table’ issues at Symphony Hall. The event served to raise awareness on environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture as well as local producers and companies who actively engage in environmentally sustainable practices. Gary was one of the keynote speakers and is one of the most inspirational, hard-working and articulate leaders in the green space that I have met. What he has done with Stonyfield is a truly inspirational story for anyone working in this field.

So while SF was already very GREEN, this week, they went even-Greener by rolling out their 100% organic certified product lines. As such, Stonyfield has just stepped up the precedent for large companies with a whole new gold standard of practice.

Top Reasons why Stonyfield is Remarkable.

  • Active engagement in preserving the earth. Stonyfield is a socially and environmentally conscious company that ACTIVELY engages their customers in the environmental movement. They promote sustainable agriculture, and work hard to protect and restore the environment.
  • Lids with a Purpose. If you have never purchased a SF yogurt, you may not be aware that each lid (which does not have ANY plastic by the way) has a message, and an issue on it. In some cases you can send in the caps to your senator or some other environmental group, or you send them back to SF and they will send ‘en masse’ to Washington or elsewhere to support a particular cause. In return you also receive, things such as an environmental action mug, or a grocery bag (alternative to plastic) and other useful gifts.
  • Recycling. Stonyfield has an amazing recycling program. They have teamed up with Recycline to make plastic household products such as razors and toothbrushes with SF’s used plastic. In addition, with polypropylene #5 plastic packaging, we use significantly less plastic than if their cups were HDPE #2 plastic. Some communities, however, don’t recycle #5 containers. If you can’t recycle #5’s in your community, SF allows you to send your cleaned #5 plastic cups back to Stonyfield Farm and they will recycle them.
  • Profits for the Planet. Stonyfield donates 10% of their profits to programs that benefit the preservation of the earth.
  • In addition, Gary Hirshberg recently started a group called Climate Counts in which they reviewing and then scoring prominent companies and their contributions to climate change (+ and -).
  • BLOGs. Stonyfield Farm also has two blogs – staying up to date on key issues and making sure others are as well.
  • Wellness: they have a wellness space on their site, which includes information on health and nutrition and interesting nuggets on how to stay fit, healthy and strong. Dr. Bill Sears is a part of this Wellness space and offers useful tips to loyal customers on how to stay healthy.

Finally, there is SO much more on their site, that I am leaving out. I encourage you to check them out Stonyfield Farm.
In addition to all this cool stuff they are doing, Stonyfield is STILL an incredibly profitable company and successful on all fronts. In 2006, they had an estimated $260 million in sales, and are the world’s leading producer of organic yogurt (owned by the Danone Group). They sell organic yogurts, smoothies, soy-yogurts, ice cream and milk to supermarkets, natural foods stores and colleges nationwide.

Go Stonyfield! May there be many an eco-fashion company that humbly follows in your footsteps….

JUTE: The 2nd Most Popular Natural Fiber in the World

Photo source:

What is Jute?
Jute is a long, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads.

Jute is comprised mostly of cellulose plant material AND lignin (a wood derivative). It is thus a ligno-cellulosic fiber –partially a textile fiber and partially wood (see Wikipedia for more).

The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 meters (3–12 feet) long. Bangladesh is the world’s largest exporter of jute. Jute is grown in the same land-water area as rice and is a very difficult crop to grow and harvest. Other important jute export countries include India, China, Burma (Myanmar), Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand.


JUTE has seemingly limitless uses.

Core uses: twine and rope, sackings, carpets, wrapping fabrics (cotton bale), and the construction fabric manufacturing industry. It can be used in curtains, chair coverings, carpets, area rugs, hessian cloth, and backing for linoleum. Other uses include espadrilles, floor coverings, home textiles, high performance textiles, Geotextiles, and composites.

While jute is being replaced by synthetic materials in many of these uses, jute is still valuable due to its biodegradable nature. Synthetics are not suitable in some cases. For example certain planting containers for young trees planted directly without disturbing the roots, and land restoration cloth to prevent erosion while natural vegetation grows are two good uses.

Twine and Rope. A very popular use: jute fibers are used alone or blended with other types of fibers to make twine and rope.

Paper. Jute fibers can be turned into pulp and paper and with increasing concern over forest destruction for the wood pulp used to make most paper, the importance of jute for this purpose may increase.

Textile machineries such as textile fibers having cellulose (vegetable fiber content) and lignin (wood fiber content). Just is applied in the automobile, pulp and paper, and the furniture and bedding industries to manufacture non-wovens, technical textiles, and composites.

Home textiles. Jute has many advantages in home textiles, either replacing cotton or blending with it. It is a strong, durable, color and light-fast fiber. Its UV protection, sound and heat insulation, low thermal conduction and anti-static properties are advantageous. Jute fibers are also carbon-dioxide neutral, naturally decomposable and can be used in high performance technical materials.

Fabrics. Jute can be used for Hessian cloth, sacking, scrim, carpet backing cloth (CBC), canvas and even blended to make silk. Hessian, lighter than sacking, is used for bags, wrappers, wall-coverings, upholstery, and home furnishings. Sacking, a fabric made of heavy jute fibers, has its use in the name. CBC made of jute comes in two types.

Jute packaging is used as an eco-friendly substitute.

Floor coverings consist of woven, tufted and piled carpets. Jute non-wovens and composites can be used for underlay, linoleum substrate, and more.

Geotextiles made jute more popular in the agricultural sector. It is a lightly woven fabric made from natural fibers that is used for soil erosion control, seed protection, weed control, and many other agricultural and landscaping uses.

Jute leaves are consumed in various parts of the world. It is a popular vegetable in West Africa. It is made into a common mucilaginous (somewhat “slimy”) soup or sauce in some West African cooking traditions.

Jute can be grown in 4–6 months with a huge amount of cellulose being produced from the jute hurd that can meet most of the wood needs of the world. Jute is the major crop among others that is able to protect deforestation. Jute is one of the most environmentally-friendly fibers. The expired fibers can be recycled more than once.

Additional Jute Resources (besides Wikipedia on Jute):
(1) The International Jute Study Group
(2) The Wisegeek on Jute

Stay tuned for more posts on Jute resources and companies using jute fiber for apparel!

Photosource: wikipedia on jute.

p.s. In case you are wondering what the most popular natural fiber world is, it is COTTON.

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This Weeks Eco-Fashion Quiz – Take it Now!

Theme of the Week: BAMBOO

Three Questions:

1) What fiber is the closest to bamboo in terms of processing?

2) Name one reason why bamboo may not always be environmentally friendly to process?

3) Name one company that sells 100% bamboo clothing?

Be the first to answer all three correctly and you win!

If you answer any one question correctly you will also be featured in the ‘winners circle’.

Email your answers to or simply post a comment.

Eco-Fashion Quiz Answers Revealed


Patagonia is the first major US company to initiate sourcing organic cotton for their shirts, and they did so in 1996. In the early 1990’s, Patagonia issued am R&D study to look at the environmental impacts of all their fabrics and processing. Much to their surprise, cotton came out the worst. As a result, Patagonia took significant steps toward making the same products (at almost the same price) with organic fibers, and eliminating damaging pesticide and excessive water use in the process.

Interestingly, this was not a demand by Patagonia’s customers, it came from within management. In fact, Patagonia did not aggressively market the organic fibers much at that time, since their customers were not much concerned with the fabrics’ source at the time. However, since then, more than a handful of consumers and companies are now cognizant of and interested in where and how fabrics are sourced. Patagonia has been and continues to be a true pioneer in the green apparel space. To learn more about their steps toward sourcing organic cotton, check out the Footprint Chronicles at Patagonia.

This week’s Quiz Winner is ricepaperslidingdoor. Congratulations ricepapersldingdoor!

Honorable mention goes to Kelven Goodridge who guessed American Apparel in 2003.

Stay tuned for the next quiz question!

Greenward Eco-Boutique Arrives to Cambridge!

This brand new multi-purpose shop, Greenward, opened in Porter Square recently, with an all around green mission: to offer a wide range of eco-friendly products for the one-stop green minded shopper. From recycled materials to ‘recyclable’ products, organic products, handmade items, energy efficient items, biodegradable, AND educational products, the store covers the green gamut.All products are screened to meet at least one but ideally several of the above criteria, and fall into the following categories:

  • Gifts
  • Housewares
  • Jewelry
  • Cards and stationary
  • Handbags and other bags
  • Cosmetics
  • Books and magazines
  • Urban cycling accessories
  • Toys and games
  • Things for baby
  • Energy efficiency improvement items
  • Natural cleaning products

The store sounds like the ‘Target’ of green products (though not as big, which is kind of nice). Greenward appears to be an all around environmentally and socially conscious store that aims to do well for consumers, the environment and the community. I will be checking out the store in November– so stay tuned for a real-time review after Thanksgiving, but in the meantime, if you are in the area and are also looking for eco-apparel store, you might also want to check out Envi located on Newbury Street in Boston.

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in Porter Square, Cambridge, Greenward is an independent
boutique specializing in eco-modern

Monday-Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 11am-6pm
Thursday: 11am-8pm

For directions, click here.

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