ECO at Rhodes: an Organic Education

By Simone Armer

If the thought of organic clothing makes you itch (who wants to walk around in a potato sack anyway?), you might want to carry on reading. Brown bags are no longer the only way to show your support for a sustainable environment.

More and more people are becoming environmentally conscious and the demand for organic materials is rising. Going organic and wearing eco-clothing is fast becoming the new, fashionable way to save our planet.


Woolworths says that, in South Africa, it is going out of its way to make choosing eco-clothing easy for consumers. Woolworths spokesperson, Lawrence Pillay, said the store’s ‘green label’ is used to help customers identify textile items, from babywear to homeware, made with fibres from sustainable sources. The store is just behind American giants Wal-Mart and Nike, in line to becoming the number one consumer of organic cotton in the world.

Eco-friendly clothing is made from a variety of sustainable materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, soy, banana and pineapple. Pillay explains that the fibres they use “are produced with environmentally friendly farming practices and do not use pesticides or fertilizers, which can pollute ground water and cause soil erosion”.

According to Woolworths, the ‘green label’ range is a five-year plan that aims to “accelerate efforts to reduce the environmental impact of products and processes by introducing more textile items made with sustainable fibres such as organic cotton, bamboo, organic wool and hemp.” Woolworths even boasts a fleece jacket that is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. How cool is that?

We have a Woolworths store right here in Grahamstown, so there really is no excuse for not getting involved. But, if Woolworths isn’t your thing, there are other ways to contribute. Nearly New, in the Colcade Mall on Hill Street, is a very trendy second-hand clothing store. At first glance, it may not seem like much, but have a look through the racks and you’ll find that stylish pair of designer jeans or the cowboy boots that your mate had to sell for Friday-night jol money.

Buying second-hand also doesn’t contribute to the release of those harmful toxins into the environment.

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