Greener for Polar Bears Extended Play with Sources

Polar Bear Garage Sale donates 30% of profits to support the preservation of polar bears in the wild. Our blog advocates for polar bears and reports the latest news from science on the pressing threats to polar bear survival. Beyond this, PBGS seeks--for the sake of polar bears and everybody else--in the daily operation of our business, to help the planet heal. We are focused on green materials, green processes, and green products. Our mission is commerce in pursuit of a healthier planet.

Our Green Shirts for Polar Bears are certified 100% organic cotton.  Green isn’t just their color.

Why is this important?

Because cotton is made from plant fiber, we may tend to think of it as a natural fabric. The truth is that conventionally-farmed cotton is one of the world's most chemically-treated crops.   Environmental monitors at the Pesticide Action Network report that more insecticide is used on cotton than on any other world crop. By itself, cotton accounts for 25% of all insecticide use, worldwide. Fields of conventionally farmed cotton are blanketed not only with insecticides, but with an array of pesticides including weed-killers, defoliants, fungicides and poisons for rodents (
The same fields are inundated with noxious chemical fertilizers. Worldwide, conventional cotton farming in 2015 is expected to introduce 7.5 million metric tons of fertilizer to the earth (
This rain of toxins has inflicted unintended but grievous collateral damage on human beings, “non-target” plants and animals, and the earth itself. The Guardian in 2014 reported an array of adverse physical consequences for contaminated cotton farmers and field workers, but also people who live near the cotton fields, people downstream from the fields, people inadvertently exposed to the poisonous spray by wind drift or runoff.  Acute, even fatal human pesticide poisoning is not uncommon (
The World Health Organization reports that between 10 and 30% of agricultural workers worldwide now suffer from acute pesticide poisoning, whose “key risks” include birth defects, disorders of the endocrine system (which governs human growth, metabolism, and reproduction), damage to the nervous system, and cancer. Hospitalizations made necessary by pesticide poisoning now number a million a year (
When pesticides and other toxic agrochemicals are sprayed over cotton fields, they fall indiscriminately on whatever lies beneath, poisoning inoffensive bystander animals and killing beneficial insects.  Unfortunately this is not the end of the damage, as the toxins cannot reliably be confined to the fields. An unexpected shift in the wind can snatch and carry poisonous chemicals.  A sudden downpour of rain can transport toxins wherever the water goes. The Environmental Protection Agency confirms that pesticide can travel from its place of application by spill, drift or runoff, and has the potential to contaminate not only our surface waters--lakes, streams, and rivers--but also our drinking water sources underground (
Accidents of timing, storage or application, accidents of weather happen--and pesticide goes rogue. On occasion fish have died by the hundreds of thousands, nesting colonies of birds have been put to ruin, livestock has been contaminated (
In 2013, biologists seeking to understand the collapse of honey bee populations around the world discovered a clue in bee pollen: residues of 150 different man-made chemicals, a poisonous “pesticide cocktail” (
And polar bears? Persistent environmental pollutants, including both pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, not only linger but migrate over great distances, moving on currents of air and water. Now globally dispersed, man-made toxins are known to “biomagnify to very high concentrations in the tissues of Arctic apex predators such as polar bears” (
Far from the cotton fields, but not far enough, polar bears and other arctic marine mammals today are heavily contaminated with man-made chemical poisons. These are passed to polar bear cubs with their mother’s milk (  Some scientists believe reproductive failure, as a result of chemical contamination, now rivals climate change as the greatest threat to polar bears’ long-term survival (
The good news? We can avoid adding to the planet’s burden of poison simply by choosing cotton that’s certified organic: grown free of toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers.  Organic cotton is better for us and our neighbors, better for polar bears, better for the planet.
Our Green Shirts for Polar Bears are printed (in a US plant powered by wind) with water-based ink.
Why does this matter?
T-shirts--unfortunately even some t-shirts made of organic cotton--are ordinarily printed with plastisol inks. Plastisol, which can feel like a coat of rubber on the front of your t-shirt, is made from the petrochemical PVC, whose processing is notorious for toxic pollution. According to the Center for Health, Environment, & Justice, PVC processing facilities in the US have “poisoned workers and fenceline neighbors, polluted the air, contaminated drinking water supplies, and even wiped entire communities off the map.” Each year, the manufacture of PVC in the US releases hundreds of thousands of pounds of known mutagens and carcinogens, among them vinyl chloride and dioxin, into the atmosphere (
PVC-based plastisol inks contain phthalates--chemical plasticizers linked to liver, kidney, and lung damage; known to have adverse effects on human reproductive health; and classed as “probable human carcinogens” by the EPA (
After printing, plastisol inks--right under our noses--continue to leach phthalates into the air we breathe (
Green Shirts for Polar Bears will help you breathe easier, knowing you’ve said no to petrochemical pollution, and you’re not wearing noxious ink on your chest. You’re wearing the important message that polar bears can still be saved--and it’s printed with eco-friendly water-based ink.
Our Polar Bear Protector collars and leashes are handmade in the US of planet-friendly green hemp.
Why hemp?
Many of the leashes and collars sold for our pets are made of nylon, a synthetic polymer derived from petroleum. Hemp, in contrast, is a natural fiber, a sustainable crop--a greener choice for you and your excellent dog. Hemp, like organic cotton, is grown without adding toxic chemicals to our air, soil, or water.
Our No-Tech Robots for Polar Bears are one-of-a-kind assemblages constructed almost exclusively from cast off materials, spent parts, the remains of devices obsolete or beyond repair.
These engaging and distinctive little personalities add retro-future flair to your desktop, hold a memo for you--and give useful new life to technological and industrial debris otherwise destined for landfills already choking with waste.
Our hang tags are printed for us by Greenerprinter on uncoated paper, 100% recycled stock, 100% post-consumer use--because our planet, to keep breathing, needs its trees.
Our packaging, supplied by ECOENCLOSE, is as green as it gets.
  • Our shipping cartons are made of 100% recycled material: 95% post-consumer content and 5% post-industrial.
  • We keep fill material to the minimum necessary to protect your purchase; when we do use fill, it’s (US-made) expandable paper GreenWrap.
  • The poly mailer bags we use for our t-shirts are the only ones on the market made of 100% recycled material, combining post-consumer and post-industrial content. They’re designed for re-use, with a second adhesive strip to enable resealing--and they’re fully recyclable.
  • We use biodegradable packing tape.