Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eat my shirt

I held a little experiment over the last year. I read that cotton was compostable and wanted to see if I could grow food using an old t-shirt.

"Matchsticks" was my favorite designs from our first Viper Black season back in Spring 2008.

I really liked this shirt and wore it everywhere. Many good times were had.

I wore it so often, it's time had come and was a really good candidate for this experiment. I decided to throw it in the compost bin to see what happened.

And added a few scraps to get it going.

It took quite a while to compost. Most of the food scraps in the compost bin would decompose in weeks, but the shirt took about 6 months. It slowly shredded somewhat at first, then eventually decomposed completely, becoming indiscernible from the other bits of broken down coffee filters and leaves in the bin.

Here's a video of the composting in progress

I planted the potatoes, simply using eyes of old potatoes, planted in a diamond pattern in 50% mix of compost and dirt.

I covered the potatoes with hay, watering very infrequently, and waited about four months (I said this was a long project).

Here is a batch of the potatoes coming out of the ground.

After rising off the dirt and my BO, the pototoes were ready for cooking.

I made a nice side of home fries to go along with my pesto omelet (with basil from the garden!).

So, there you have it. After one short year, I was able to show full cycle from used clothing, to compost, to garden to table. I'm not encouraging you throw your clothes into the compost bin before the Goodwill bin, but I hope it opens your mind to sustainability and sustainable fashion. It is possible for our society to move toward zero-waste if we think creatively and plan for our future. Please think twice before it goes to the landfill.

You don’t necessarily need to feel guilty about updating your wardrobe. Is there another use for this article of clothing? Can I re-sell it? Can I donate it? Can I use it as a rag? Can I make it into something new? Can I eat it?

See our clothing at