3 fashionable ways to be eco-friendly

Adam Baruchowitz is founder and CEO of Wearable

Adam Baruchowitz is founder and CEO of Wearable Collections and Walkable Collections. The company takes old clothes and sneakers and recycles them. Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

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Amber Valletta is feeling mighty green lately. She's the face of two eco-friendly collections released by H&M earlier this month: Conscious (a limited-edition line made from organic cotton, hemp and recycled materials), and Conscious Exclusive (its more upscale, sustainable sister).

"Reuse . . . repurpose clothing," she says in an H&M online video on how to make clothes last. Nice thought, Amber.

So what's a consumer who wants to be greener to do?

Eileen Fisher fans who have any of that brand's gently used clothes can return them to any EF store this month (including East Hampton) in exchange for credit on a rewards card ($5 per item). The clothes are then sold at Green Eileen second-hand shops, with proceeds funding empowerment programs for women and girls.

Adam Baruchowitz does Fisher one better.

The Stony Brook native heads Wearable Collections, a Brooklyn-based firm that collects used clothing (any brand, wearable or not) in New York City and surrounding areas, making weekly pickups at more than 200 apartment buildings and 26 greenmarkets. Last year, he hauled away more than 2 million pounds of clothes, which would have otherwise clogged landfills. Instead, wearable items were sent to second-hand shops, the rest recycled into rags or ground up into insulation material.

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Now he's launching Walkable Collections, a division devoted to reusable footwear. At the website -- walkablecollections.com -- consumers can learn how to donate old shoes (he'll provide UPS labels) or spearhead shoe drives (he provides bins, signage, pickups, and sends the shoes to impoverished regions around the globe).

"I was blown away by the huge 'waste' of reusable resources in our wastestream," he says.

That's just a start. We've gathered info on other green choices you can make on Earth Day -- or any day of the year.

"Today it's possible to be fashionable and responsible," says Valletta. "And that's the way it should be."


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