Quick Links to the T-Shirts Featured in this Post
T-shirts are a wardrobe staple – they’re easy to throw on whenever you need something quick and comfortable. But how easy is your favorite tee on the environment? If you’re on the hunt for eco-friendly t-shirts to add to your sustainable wardrobe, you’ll need to pay special attention to the fabrication. Most t-shirts are made from conventional cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two. Conventional cotton is one of the least sustainable crops on the planet, causing pollution via pesticide and fertilizer runoff, water contamination, and soil erosion and degradation.
Meanwhile, polyester is made from polyethylene terephthalate. That means polyester is essentially made from PET plastic. To make the fabric, we use various chemicals derived from coal and petroleum, which are fossil fuels that release pollution into the atmosphere, adding to global warming. If that wasn’t bad enough, polyester can’t biodegrade, so discarded t-shirts often spend hundreds of years breaking down in landfills, releasing pollutants into the soil.
So – what exactly makes eco-friendly t-shirts better? For one, organic cotton t-shirts use cotton that’s grown without the chemicals. Production of organic cotton actually replenishes the soil and has minimal impact on the environment. Likewise, some sustainable t-shirts use merino wool, which is biodegradable, renewable, and comfortable. It’s also sometimes grown using regenerative practices, making it better for climate change. Some brands also use other natural materials that can biodegrade, like hemp or linen, and focus on additional sustainability measures.
Where can you get these eco-friendly t-shirts? Read on for my recommendations.
9 Awesome Brands for Eco-Friendly T-Shirts
1. Icebreaker Merino Wool T-Shirts
Icebreaker makes 100% merino wool t-shirts for men and women. The fabric naturally resists odors and helps regulate your body temperature. Icebreaker partners with growers that must adhere to a five-point animal welfare guideline, which protects the health and happiness of the sheep.
In its factories, the company now recycles waste fabric and water. They’re also looking to add solar power to the mix in the coming years. Plus, Icebreaker is working toward becoming completely plastic-free by 2023.
2. Rawganique Organic T-Shirts
Rawganique has been making eco-friendly t-shirts from organic fibers since 1997. Today, you’ll find a variety of organic apparel, including cotton, hemp, and linen tees for both men and women on its website. There are never any pesticides, PFAS, PVC, toxic chemicals, or GMOs in any of their sustainable tshirts.
The company also does all growing, weaving, and sewing in-house to ensure true purity. While some companies may sneak in plastic via elastic or buttons, Rawganique does not. In fact, any buttons on its clothing are made from coconut or tagua nuts.
3. For Days Organic Cotton T-Shirts
For Days makes organic cotton t-shirts for men and women in an impressive range of colors. Plus, the brand designs for circularity. That means all clothing they make is from 100% recyclable materials. It offers a take back bag, which you can stuff with items from your closet, whether they’re from For Days or not. You mail the bag back to For Days, and it ensures that the items are recycled and reused. It’s able to offer this service thanks to its extensive network of clothing designers, sorters, resellers, downcyclers, and closed-loop recyclers.
Ultimately, 95% of items from take back bags are recycled or resold, and just 5% are deemed truly trash. This is amazing when compared to the 85% that we throw away on average.
4. Wool and Prince Merino Wool T-Shirts
Wool and Prince specializes in merino wool for men, from classic t-shirts to boxer briefs. Its sustainable t-shirts offer all the benefits of merino wool – odor and wrinkle resistance, soft hand feel, and climate control. Since the material itself absorbs sweat and evaporates it into the air, you can also wash the shirts less and save on water.
However, it’s important to note that Wool and Prince’s wool t-shirts come in a few fabrication options, including some blends with nylon. Be sure to choose the 100% merino wool option when shopping to avoid less-than-sustainable synthetic materials.
5. Sheep Inc. Merino Wool T-Shirts
Sheep Inc. is aptly named, as it makes 100% merino wool sustainable t-shirts for men and women. It sources its wool from ZQ certified Sheep Stations in New Zealand, a certification that ensures the most ethical treatment of sheep and land management.
Plus, the sheep farms are regenerative, meaning they utilize land management practices that sequester carbon dioxide from the air. Sheep Inc’s tshirts also come with a forever guarantee. If your tshirt needs mending or maintenance, the company restores it, so you’ll never have to replace it.
6. Timberland Organic Cotton T-Shirts
You might know Timberland for its classic boots, but the brand is taking some huge strides toward sustainability with its 100% organic cotton t-shirts. It has options for both men and women. The brand is actually moving toward circularity, with its Timberloop line – clothing and shoes that are made with recycled materials and improved construction methods.
It also has a return program in which you can send back Timberland apparel and footwear for the brand to repair or recycle responsibly. It also sells discounted refurbished Timberland products, extending the useful life of t-shirts, shoes, and more.
7. Patagonia Organic Cotton T-Shirts
You likely know of Patagonia’s many environmental and social programs. Now the brand is adding regenerative, organic cotton t-shirts to the mix. The cotton comes from farms that maintain the highest organic standards and use regenerative practices to rehabilitate the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The tees are also Fair Trade Certified sewn and come in a variety of colors for men and women.
8. Pact Organic Cotton T-Shirts
Pact specializes in making sustainable t-shirts (and a broad range of other organic clothing) from organic cotton and chemical-free dyes for men and women. Its sustainable tees are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, using 81% less water than conventional cotton. Its clothing is also made in Fair Trade factories, which ensures that the people who make the clothing enjoy a safe environment, fair pay, and sustainable livelihoods.
9. Vetta T-Shirts
Vetta makes a variety of eco-friendly t-shirts for women, from a basic essential tee to a convertible option that can be worn in five different ways. The brand focuses on using sustainable fabrics that also provide performance. This includes organic and Supima cotton, as well as linen, recycled polyester, Tencel, and deadstock fabric. If you’re looking for more than just simple sustainable t-shirts or organic cotton t-shirts, Vetta could be a good option.
How do you wear your favorite eco-friendly tshirts? Let me know in the comments below!