- a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction
I would guess that not many yoga practitioners in the world would spend their time Googling Yoga Towels to see what comes up in the search results.
I'm guessing there are even fewer Authorized Level 2 Ashtanga teachers that also sell Organic Mysore yoga rugs that would be doing the same thing.
In fact there is a really good chance I'm the only one who would care about such a thing and then be looking into it which is why I'm the only one (I think?) who noticed one very interesting fact.
There is actually no such thing as an Organic Microfiber Yoga Towel.
I won't keep you in suspense any longer. The reason is because of what Microfiber actually is.
Microfiber is one of those words that has been around so long that we use it without fully understanding what it is. At least I did. So what is it?
According to David Suzuki (Canadian Environmentalist)
"They (Microfibers) are made from petrochemicals. The polyester and polyamide fabric strands are 100 times finer than human hair. That's what makes them so good at lifting dirt, grease and dust without cleaning chemicals. Problem is, they are made from a nonrenewable resource and do not biodegrade. And only those made from polypropylene are recyclable. - Davidsuzuki.org"
And since Microfiber is not a natural material it can't be organic and this is becoming a big big problem.
In my experience, and a key principle I teach about in my Strong Foundations email series, the more you move away from nature you the more likely you encounter unanticipated problems.
One of those unanticipated problems with using Microfiber is just starting to come to light and it's bad. Really bad.
The Day I Quit Using Plastic Apparel. February 22 2017.
Just the day before, February 21st, I was researching Microfiber and what effects it has on the environment. I came across an article in the Guardian from 2014 about ecologist Mark Browne. He had been examining shorelines around the world when he discovered that
"85% of the human-made material found on the shoreline were microfibers, and matched the types of material, such as nylon and acrylic, used in clothing" - The Guardian
The next day on the news feed of my phone was an article announcing a new study that just came out from the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
The study: Invisible plastic particles from textiles and tyres a major source of ocean pollution came to the conclusion that
"Tiny plastic particles washed off products such as synthetic clothes and car tyres could contribute up to 30% of the ‘plastic soup’ polluting the world’s oceans and – in many developed countries – are a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste" - IUCN
The take home points from the study are:
It is very likely that:
• Losses of primary microplastics from commercial and household activities into the environment is in the order of 3.2 Mton/year.
• The greatest contributors to these losses are abrasion of tyres while driving and abrasion of synthetic textiles while washing, i.e. diffusive losses during use/maintenance phase.
• Release of primary microplastics is a significant source of plastic into the ocean. • In high income countries with adequate waste management, primary microplastic release equals or overweighs the releases from mismanaged plastic wastes. However in lower income countries plastic releases from mismanaged wastes still is the main source of plastic release into the oceans
Then on March 1st the Story of Stuff Youtube channel released a video they have been working on the last 8 months
This video sums up pretty well what the problem is with using synthetic materials.
Making A More Natural Choice
Although this whole situation with microfibers was unknown to me until Feb 21st I have still been taking steps to move in the other direction since over a year ago. What we are doing at Ekaminhale is exactly what the IUCN recommends.
“The findings of this report have important implications for the global strategy to tackle ocean plastic pollution, which currently focuses on reducing plastic waste,” says Joao de Sousa, Marine Project Manager, IUCN’s Global Marine Programme. “They show that solutions must include product and infrastructure design as well as consumer behaviour. Synthetic clothes could be designed to shed fewer fibres, for example, and consumers can act by choosing natural fabrics over synthetic ones”
I've found in so many circumstances from sitting, to the footwear I use, the place I live, the type of Yoga I practice or the products I sell that the closer I can stay to nature the the less problems I have. Natural methods are time tested. Technological ones....well you see what can happen.
This guiding principle led me to search out an Organic Cotton Mysore Rug over 2 years ago now. The first rugs I sold were just regular cotton and I had always preferred Organic products so I started to look for someone in India that could supply me.
This whole process of meeting the suppliers I deal with, seeing how the products are made and then donating part of the sales to nature & people is the topic of of my Slow Fashion Email Series.
There is Student Pricing on the Mysore Rugs for anyone who takes the time to learn about Slow Fashion and making better purchasing decisions.