As I strive to eliminate single-use plastics in my daily life, I’m finding it’s nearly impossible to avoid them in the form of packaging and wrapping. I recently bought a new pair of riding pants that came sealed tightly in a plastic pouch… inside of a plastic mailer.
C’mon. Riding pants are not surgical implements. They don’t need to arrive hermetically sealed. A biodegradable plastic or recycled paper pouch would have done the same job—but now I was the owner of yet another plastic pouch that I had to figure out how to responsibly dispose of.
Lauren Singer, author of the Trash is for Tossers blog and founder of an amazing eco-friendly store in Brooklyn called the Package Free Shop, put it so well in a recent Instagram post:
In the United States there is not currently a system in place where manufacturers and businesses are taxed or fined for waste, so that burden all falls on the individual taxpayer. This works by taxpayers paying for municipally provided services like recycling and garbage pickup. […] If the burden of end of life was put on the manufacturers, then it is very likely that only sustainable and recyclable materials with a clean end of life would be used because it would be too expensive not to!
For the eco-minded, this is the status quo: the waste burden falls on the consumer, not on the manufacturer.
But in the world of equestrian commerce, a small start-up from eastern Pennsylvania is disrupting that cycle.
Oaklyn Equestrian is changing the game when it comes to environmentally friendly tack and horseware.
Intrigued by their mission, I ordered their pilot product, the Terra Plush Fleece Girth. This schooling girth is made of polyester fabric sourced from plastic bottles—on average, 15 of them per girth—and the fleece is composed of sustainably and ethically sourced American wool. All Oaklyn products are made in the good old US of A. You can read more about their manufacturing here.
But most importantly, how is the girth? Incredible. It’s a cleaner look than the conventional fleece schooling girths we’ve always used, and it feels more luxurious, too. Aesthetics aside, it’s held up to the grime and slop of 2019’s hot, soggy summer that has rapidly turned into a cold, soggy fall. A win all around. Even my trainer, who has a decidedly if it ain’t broke don’t fix it mindset (hi Karen!), was immediately sold. In fact, she asked me to order 4 more! Admittedly a small focus group, but Team MVF is impressed.
More products are coming from Oaklyn Equestrian and we can’t wait to see what’s next. Be sure to check them out.
In the meantime, here’s what else we can do:
Seek out companies like Oaklyn Equestrian that are fighting the good fight. Support those businesses whose practices you respect and whose principles align with yours.
Ask your favorite vendors to do better in the sustainability department. Use your voice AND your dollars to demand change.
As the poet Osho said, There is no need for you to change the whole world; just change yourself and you have started changing the whole world, because you are part of the world.