Since recently discovering that fashion is one of the top polluting industries, I’ve been curious about the implications of the combination of wearables and tech. Let’s face it, technology is useful, yet it poses its own life cycle issues. That’s why I was quite excited to find a recent post by Wareable on the question of eco friendly wearable tech. Here’s some of their takeaways dealing with trackers/fitness bands:
According to CSRHub (which reports on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability):
Apple – 62 overall/71 environment
Fitbit – 47 overall/42 environment
Garmin- 48 overall/45 for environment
Keep in mind that some companies are too new to be included in CSRHub, however, it’s clear there’s a lot more work that needs to be done on all counts for wearables. On the bright side, there is a company utilizing greener practices—Bellabeat. Check out leaf Nature, for example, using different wood selections.
There’s a lot more to tackle, from the making of computer chips and bands/jewelry findings, to where the product ends up when the consumer is finished. I encourage you to read Wareable’s post to discover more of what is being done. The point is, it’s important to raise these questions because companies need to strive for a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. The world is already being transformed with green practices in architecture and transportation sharing, so it seems that our tech should follow.
One of the reasons I value DIY is because the process of making creates awareness of what is involved in a process, whether it be building circuits, knitting a sweater, repairing an engine or baking bread. You notice the details of gathering materials, finding the right tools and allocating your time. You recognize the value in using what is on hand, where there is waste or toxins, the need to save time, the importance of testing and the desire for improvement. In the end you are aware of the longevity of your project and think carefully of how you will part with it. It’s a great way to learn about connection to the environment. When wearable tech companies really explore the equation, they will find ways to be green. In the meantime, we will either need to develop our own DIY wearable tech, or create the demand for the green market. One small thing you can do is create wearable tech that is actually helpful, like a Solar Boost Bag. Transform a bag or purse with a solar panel and create a charging station for your cell phone. Learn first hand what it means to use clean energy, while also appreciating the elements that go into the process.
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!