April 20, 2018

An Earth Day lesson about environmental health and safety in the manufacturing of textiles

Name your favorite holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving? Big surprise, our’s is Earth Day.

If we could we’d spend all of our time outside, exploring our Earth. Us Coopers are climbing, skiing, and hiking all the places our vacation hours allow us to. Sadly, sometimes our hours run out and we find ourselves parked behind a desk and screen. Well, maybe not sadly, secretly it’s our second favorite home. Because in reality we couldn’t climb the monstrous faces of Yosemite without some comfy, flexible pants or hike the mountains of Peru without a jacket to stay warm. We all need gear. At The Coop, our lives are defined by gear. We are either using, buying, or selling it to the rest of our amazing community, gear runs our lives. Today we have more of a responsibility than ever to make sure all of our clothing meets and exceeds standards that are protecting the environment. This is where Blue Sign comes in.

Bluesign is the emerging standard for environmental health and safety in the manufacturing of textiles. The Switzerland based organization evaluates textile mills and determines if their procedures are detrimental or harming the environment. Some processes evaluated include energy consumption and water/air pollution.


“It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production. This not only ensures that the final textile product meets very stringent consumer safety requirements worldwide but also provides confidence to the consumer to acquire a sustainable product.”


Gear Coop is a third party retailer, meaning we buy products from brands and sell them to you. We sell jackets, snowboards, hats, skis, cams, ropes…if it’s outdoor equipment – our hands are in it. Because of this, we are heavily involved with the textile industry. We are a section of the supply chain that is delivering jackets, shorts and tees to your doors. We recognize our relationship with the Earth needs to be a part of this chain as well. And that is what bluesign is making sure happens. Bluesign’s vision is to see textiles from beginning to end be made responsibly and safely:


  • The elimination of harmful chemicals in textile processing from beginning to end ensures there are no toxic materials being irresponsibly dumped into rivers around the world.  
  • Resources are expected to be used responsibility and with an understanding that they are limited
  • Both the makers and the environment need to be safe when processing textiles


We find it our responsibility to care for our Earth, on all days and on April 22. We host events to support cleaning up local crags. We promote the well known principles of Leave No Trace. And, Gear Coop carries brands who have been audited by bluesign and are working towards a more sustainably focused textile manufacturing system.




Check Out The bluesign Brands


What does this all mean, and why should you care?

Bluesign is an incredible organization who audits and certifies that companies are doing their part for the environment. It is your job to go the extra bit and find the companies who have been certified and support all they do to protect the planet. Easy to identify, bluesign approved products carry a little blue tag signifying their approval to the strict safety and environmental requirements of the bluesign criteria. We ask you to seek out this little blue tag. We ask you to support companies who have been audited and are paving a path to more sustainable gear.  

After all, this is our Earth. It is our home, our playground. We need to keep it clean and healthy the same we would our own homes or our own bodies. As outdoor enthusiasts, as dirtbags, as Coopers, it is our responsibility to shop for sustainable and long lasting clothing pieces. We have to say no to single use plastics. And more than anything, we have to get outside.

The Earth needs to stick around for a while and in a condition we are proud to leave for future Coopers. Spend your Earth Day celebrating all that this world has to offer.




4 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

  1. Take a hike – Duh! Get your butts outside and enjoy this beautiful place we call home.
  2. Donate your unwanted clothes to charity (or breath life into old stuff and wear it again!) – Because manufacturing clothing requires both energy and water we can reduce the amount of resources used by keeping clothing in use longer.
  3. Use a refillable water bottle –  Say no to one use plastics! Lifestraw is an incredible company in the water bottle game. With every Lifestraw purchase, a child will receive safe drinking water for their entire school year.
  4. Visit a local farmers market – Food takes energy and resource like any other product. If you purchase organic apples from Honduras, those apples need to be shipped all the way to your store. Not to mention, the nutrient value of produce decreases every day after the plant has been harvested. An apple picked in your state will have a much higher nutrient value than on that had to travel for days just to land on your local Whole Food’s shelf.

EXTRA – Check out the bluesign website. Make sure your other favorite brands are bluesign approved!