SustainU's Clothing Helps Green Bridge Day Festival

Bridge Day's partners at SustainU have been helping us green the event for 5 years.  Sustain U Bridge Day designs for 2014

SustainU, a WV company that uses 100% recycled materials to make clothing, saw the festival as an opportunity to impact the environment in a positive way.

"When that many people gather in one place, there can be a lot of waste," said Chris Yura, founder and CEO of SustainU. "It's a bit intangible to say 'recycle plastic bottles.' It's better to hand them a shirt and say 'here's what you can make with plastic bottles."

Using SustainU’s recycled material for shirts during the past 5 years, Bridge Day has saved the equivalent of:

  • 278 swimming pools of fresh water
  • gas emissions from 19.7 passenger vehicles
  • enough energy to fuel 1.6 homes for a year

And it looks like those numbers will grow, as their popularity at Bridge Day is growing. Now that the word has spread, the shirts usually sell out quickly.

"The first couple of years, people wanted to feel everything and see if it felt any different, but it doesn't. It just feels like a normal t-shirt," Yura said. "Now, people come to the festival and it's something they look for."

Amazingly cozy shirts and helping the environment aren't the only benefits to SustainU's business model. Yura said it also makes financial sense. The affordable shirts the company offers are made locally, which lowers transportation costs, which are skyrocketing for many other businesses. This also cuts down on emissions.

SustainU also makes a social stand, keeping secure living-wage jobs in the country and fighting unemployment, which causes many other societal problems.

In a TEDx talk, Yura discussed more about the values that make the company sustainable.

"I think the partnership with SustainU and Bridge Day just foreshadows the future of what this state can be," he said. "With the beauty and culture here, we can be a leader in the country and world for innovation."

Yura said the design this year was his personal favorite. The SustainU team has been working since spring on the designs, and will be printing shirts (with eco-friendly ink) all week before Bridge Day.

While they try to have more to accommodate the demand, they expect to sell out again this year. You can buy one at any of their 3 locations during the festival, or snag yours early at Taste of Bridge Day the evening before the event.

And feel good about your purchase! With every single recycled materials shirt you get, you can conserve about a half a gallon of gasoline and save around 712 gallons of water!

Which shirt do you want?