Want to do better by the planet, but don’t want to lose your sense of style? Luckily, there are many sustainable hat options to choose from. And they all start with the right materials. So read on: this is your go-to guide to what materials are sustainable and why sustainable fashion matters.
It feels good to do good for the planet. Plus, you can look good while doing it.
You just have to know what to look for.
Unsure about where to start the search for sustainable fashion? Well, there’s no better place to start than the base of the product itself– the material. Understanding sustainable hat materials is the best way to get a feel for what you’ll want to choose. And which materials are best to pass on.
What materials are sustainable?
It can be a bit complicated to understand which materials are sustainable and which ones aren’t. You can learn more about the specifics below. But, if you need a summary, sustainable products are made using renewable sources. These materials are natural and more often than not, biodegradable. And those that are unsustainable are dependent on fossil fuels. They’ll take hundreds of years to break down when they’re thrown away.
Fast fashion, or clothing brands that use environmentally-unfriendly methods of production, are some of the biggest planet polluters around. This is because they use a wide array of materials that are typically petroleum-based. These wreak a lot of havoc on the planet. There are hundreds of these types of unethical materials in fast fashion. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what’s bad. So, the focus of this guide is what to keep your eye out for (rather than what to avoid) when making a sustainable hat purchase.
So, what should you look for? You can feel good about buying products made out of organic cotton, cruelty-free wool, organic raffia, and recycled plastic. Not only do these materials have a smaller carbon footprint, they also serve to protect the people and animals who are involved in the production process.
1. Organic Cotton Hat
You don't eat cotton, so why does it matter if it’s organic? Well, in addition to cotton being one of the most widely produced commodities in the world, the growing process is also one of the most chemical-dependent. Unfortunately, the chemicals used in typical cotton production have a large impact on the plan
et’s plants and animals. This is why cotton has gained the title of one of the dirtiest crops. Farmers that tend to pesticide-ridden cotton often die from exposure. And, those chemicals are transfered to the wearer, too. So, reducing the chemicals in your textiles is just as important as reducing the chemicals in your diet.
Organic cotton is grown using materials and processes that have a low environmental impact. Farmers do not use toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in the growing process. So, it is the perfect material for sustainable hats. And, if you're looking to make an ethical fashion statement, organic cotton is the perfect material for your very own sustainable bucket hat.
2. Cruelty-Free Wool Hat
Little known fact- traditional wool manufacturing is a scarring experience for sheep. Literally. In many cases, a technique called Mulesing is used on the sheep. Mulesing is the removal of chunks of skin on the rear end of sheep to help prevent disease. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Treatments exist that work just as well as mulesling. With much less pain for the animals, of course. Cruelty-free hats are produced without the use of mulesling, making it an ethical alternative to traditional wool products. When you’re looking for a sustainable hat, make sure you check that it is cruelty free. It will make you and the sheep happier.
3. Organic Raffia Hat
Raffia is a material made from the fibers of a palm tree that is found across Africa. This material has a straw-like texture and is completely compostable. Have no worries though, raffia is built to last and is also used to make baskets and ropes. Organic raffia is a great sustainable hat material because palm trees grow quickly and don't require pesticides or herbicides to be a successful crop. Plus, it is biodegradable and recyclable, especially if it is not dyed.
4. Recycled Material Hat
Did you know that only 9% of plastic is currently recycled? It’s true. So, new industries are springing up to find creative ways to reuse and “up-cycle” this material and up the amount of plastic that’s recycled and given another life.
One such industry is turning plastic bottles into hats.
Worldwide, people use almost 500 billion plastic water bottles per year. This comes down to 1.2 million water bottles per minute! So, some creative people found a way to make those wasted bottles into beautiful products, like recycled material hats. Recycled material hats feel just like regular hats. They are breathable, comfortable, waterproof, and durable. Plus, by using materials that already exist, the recycled material uses up to 59% less energy to make, compared to standard fast-fashion practices.
Still confused? Start with sustainable hat brands
People these days better understand the huge impact of fast fashion and fossil fuel-dependent materials on the environment. This increased awareness of how the garment industry damages the earth has forced companies to find eco-friendly solutions. However, it can be tricky to determine which brands are making a real change and which ones are just using a marketing ploy.
Luckily, there are a handful of “green certifications'' that you can look for to help you see the difference between truly sustainable businesses and those that are just greenwashing.
Certifications to look for include Fair Trade, GOTS, 1% For the Planet, Certified Organic, and Certified B Corporation. Finally, look for sustainable hat companies that offer transparent information about their business practices. Such as the materials each hat is made of, and how they lower and offset their emissions. And, even what their shortcomings are.
If that feels too complicated, there are also websites that curate products from a range of sustainable businesses. This means that they have already done the sustainability vetting for you. A couple of good ones include Hey Social Good and Earth Hero. These platforms have search features where you can find just about anything you’re looking for. Try looking for “sustainable bucket hats” or “recycled material hats.” You may be surprised by what you discover!Ready to cover your head with an eco-friendly option? Shop sustainable hats from Conner Hats!