Eco-Friendly Scrubs: A New Buyer’s Guide
Given that it's one of the most wasteful industries consumers regularly engage with, tackling the bad habits of the fashion industry and promoting eco-friendly scrubs is a great way to start making a personal difference.
How to Buy Effective Scrubs
To be there for your patients, you need to prioritize scrubs that work, no matter how eco-friendly the alternative may be. So, the first step in buying any new pair of eco-friendly scrubs should be evaluating whether they work well in the first place. Here are a few ways to weed out any scrubs that you’ll regret buying.
Consider the Colors
Some hospitals are very particular about the uniform colors they allow their staff to wear. So, to avoid throwing away money on scrubs you can’t wear, be sure to check your employer’s color requirement before buying your scrubs.
Chances are, you’re going to be on your feet and wearing your scrubs all day through a whole range of intensive situations. So, you’ll need to prioritize materials that are comfortable and won’t irritate your skin.
Take a minute to look at the materials used in a pair of scrubs before buying them. Do you like super-soft fabrics or slightly stiffer ones? Do you prefer pure cotton or a blend? Do you want an oil/liquid-repellent material? If there’s one place to be picky about comfortable materials, this is it.
Make Sure They Fit
Though anyone would prefer comfortable clothing, that comfort takes on a whole new priority in the medical profession. From standing for 12-hour shifts to lifting patients to rushing around the hospital, medical professionals need scrubs that provide a wide range of motion and can be worn for hours on end without too much discomfort.
So, make sure your scrubs hit that sweet spot between being too tight and too loose—you need them loose enough to allow you full motion without being so loose that they get in the way. Ideally, you’ll want scrubs that have a slight stretch to them.
Also, think about the style of the scrubs themselves. Check to make sure the neckline isn’t too low-cut and that your top is long enough to cover below your hips. If your weight tends to fluctuate, consider opting for drawstring pants, and if you tend to prefer more tailored styles, opt for women’s scrubs. Overall, make sure your eco-friendly scrubs fit comfortably while looking professional.
How to Buy Sustainable Scrubs
Once you’ve found scrubs that you’re sure will work well, it’s time to take a look at their environmental impact. If possible, this will mean prioritizing sustainable scrubs over more typical ones. Here are a few tell-tale signs that a brand truly is helping the environment.
Minimal Resource Consumption
Creating clothing is one of the most energy-intensive processes out there, from the mind-boggling amount of water used to grow the crops to the energy used to power machinery. Ideally, fashion brands consider this energy use and avoid wasting it unnecessarily.
This can seem a little confusing at first—after all, brands will still need to grow the same crops and use the same machinery. However, a brand committed to sustainability is always willing to find ways to reuse or reduce the resources they use to create its products. For instance, some brands have started reusing the water used in the natural dying process, while others have used green energy to power their factories.
Avoiding Packaging Waste
Of course, the scrubs' sustainability doesn't mean much if they're wrapped in single-use plastics.
Unfortunately, it's easy for retailers to greenwash their products by emphasizing their eco-friendly production, only to skimp on using plastic-free or recycled packaging once they've gotten your sale. A genuinely sustainable brand will work to incorporate eco-friendly practices into the shipping process. For example, all TAARA products are shipped with 100% biodegradable materials to ensure that they meet TAARA’s strict sustainability standards.
The first step to spotting a sustainable fashion brand is to look closely at the materials used in their products. Ideally, they are made 100% from the same material so that the item can eventually be recycled and given a new life as something else.
A brand's products should also be made from non-synthetic and biodegradable fabrics like cotton and linen. When a eco-friendly scrubs reach the end of their cycle, they can quickly and safely degrade without releasing any harmful chemicals into the surrounding ecosystem. Products made of synthetic materials like polyester are great, too, as long as that polyester is recycled.
No matter how sustainable a brand is, it will always need to release some carbon to make its products. Some sustainability brands take accountability for this carbon by pledging to be "carbon neutral." That means they will engage in carbon offsetting practices, which aim to take the same amount of carbon out of the atmosphere that the brand produces.
Be careful, though! Advertising carbon neutrality is a classic greenwashing technique, and being carbon neutral doesn't necessarily mean a brand is that sustainable. Some brands will try to appear eco-friendly by becoming carbon neutral without doing any necessary work to change their actual materials and practices.
Because carbon offsetting is by no means a perfect system, the priority should always be avoiding carbon release in the first place. A legitimately sustainable brand will always engage in carbon offsetting as a supplement for other eco-friendly practices—not as a replacement for them.
The fashion industry alone is responsible for The main culprit? Synthetic dyes.
Today, the process of dying clothing requires thousands of different toxic chemicals, which are mixed together with our shrinking supply of drinking water in order to dye clothing. And while these chemicals are long gone by the time we buy an item, they don't just magically disappear. Instead, they find their way to the oceans, damaging wildlife while also wasting a limited supply of drinking water.
So, be on the lookout for brands that use natural dyes instead. These plant-based dyes create the colorful styles you're looking for without releasing toxins!
Fair Working Conditions
No brand has any claim to sustainability if they don't treat their employees well. This includes fair wages and working conditions for all employees, from C-level executives to the garment workers that put items together.
As the situation surrounding the climate crisis worsens, it's time we expect more out of every fashion brand, including those that supply scrubs.
Luckily, brands like TAARA Scrubs have already taken the initiative to implement several green practices. use eco-friendly scrubs and are shipped in biodegradable packaging TAARA products to maximize the brand's positive impacts on the environment. And, with their commitment to Project Hope , TAARA is providing medical apparel to communities in crisis worldwide.
Interested in TAARA’s commitment to eco-friendly practices? Explore our wide range of sustainable, flattering styles today.