PACT: Changing the World through Changing my Underwear

This is what happened. I generally hate shopping for clothes. And I really hate shopping for underwear, which you often can’t try on. (How can I know how it’s going to fit and feel if I can’t try it on first?) And now, with the added conviction that my undies have to not only feel good but be good for the planet, finding the right ones has become a real drag. So I procrastinated on buying new ones, repairing my old panties over and over again until they were just shreds of thread. I had a lot of reasons to hope I never got into an accident!

The motivation to finally take care of business came before my trip to Disneyland. I knew I’d be sharing a hotel room with a co-worker. Holy crap! What if she sees my holey underwear? I jumped on Google and once again started my hunt for the perfect pair of panties.

My discovery: PACT. And here I am modeling them…

PACT women's underwear

Seriously, it’s me. Didn’t you know I was an underwear model in a past life? So was Michael. I bought some for him too:

PACT men's underwear

Wanna see what kind we bought for our kitties?

Okay, all kidding aside (I wouldn’t be caught dead flashing my skivvies on the Internet. I can barely manage to flash myself in my own mirror. And I didn’t actually buy any for Michael either, as much as I’d like to.), here’s what’s good about PACT:

1) They are made from 95% certified organic, non-GMO cotton, produced by the Kadioglu Organic Cotton Project in the Izmir region of Turkey. The company chose organic cotton over bamboo or soy, explaining that bamboo requires toxic chemicals to process into fabric, and soy tends to wear out faster.

2) While the company is still working to innovate more eco-friendly inks and dyes, those that they currently use are free from heavy metals and PVC. And they don’t offer any underwear in white because of the chemical bleaches that would be required.

3) Instead of being packaged in individual plastic bags, each pair of PACT undies comes in its own fabric bag made from remnants of the underwear fabric itself, saving material that otherwise would have been wasted.

4) PACT underwear is shipped in a ASTM-6400 certified compostable bag, which here in the Bay Area (where PACT is headquartered) can be placed in our green compost bins.

PACT underwear

PACT says:

Nothing that is shipped to you – the underwear, fabric bags, or compostable shipping bag and labels – should end up in a landfill. We’re hoping that by the time your PACT underwear is well-worn and you’re ready to get rid of it, we’ll have figured out a way to recycle it. We are constantly searching for innovative ideas about how to best accomplish the cradle-to-cradle goal and move away from the idea of consuming and then discarding.

5) The fabric design of each pair of underwear is inspired by a particular environmental organization, which receives 10% of the sales of that design. I chose the designs supporting Oceana, an ocean conservation organization, and 826 National, the nonprofit founded in SF by Dave Eggers to tutor and develop young writers.

There are other things to like about PACT. Check out the About PACT and Ingredients pages.

While this company is great, there is always room for improvement, right? Here are some things I’d like to see addressed in the future:

1) The panties run small. I bought Large, but I think I might be happier with Extra Large, which is the biggest size available. Those who have met me know that while I’m not skinny, I’m not so very big either. When I asked, PACT told me the company is exploring larger sizes as well as developing an additional style for men. (The current choices for women are: bikini, thong, and boy short; the styles for men are brief, trunk, boxer brief, and boxer.)

2) They are made with 5% Elastane (Lycra) for stretch. While I would prefer a completely plastic-free panty, the company believes that 100% cotton underwear loses its shape quickly and has a shorter life span. I’m not sure I need my underwear to be so stretchy, but your mileage may vary.

3) The compostable shipping bag is manufactured using corn-based PLA. I would love to see PACT develop a compostable bag from a more sustainable crop than corn, since most corn is produced using GMO seeds and requires huge amounts of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers to grow.

Overall, I feel like PACT is a responsible company that considers its impact on the planet very carefully in every aspect of production and shipping. Like all of us, it’s not perfect. But spending the extra money for underwear like this will help to increase demand for organic fabrics and non-toxic dyes. Buying underwear at Costco or Wal-Mart will not.

PACT has generously offered Fake Plastic Fish readers a 25% discount through January 15. Use coupon code fpf25 when placing your order.

Okay, Dennis, is that the kind of post you were talking about? :-)

13 comments
Kaylen
Kaylen

I buy 100% organic cotton underwear (and bras, actually) from decentexposures.com. They're expensive but they last for freaking ever. I don't recall any plastic in the shipping package but since they make everything to order you could certainly ask them to package without plastic.

Socks and Underwear
Socks and Underwear

This reminds me of the edible underwear I got a friend of mine for his bucks night. Its funny how you hate shopping for underwear there's been studies showing that men between 25 - like 45 done buy much underwear especially if they are in a relationship.

susanna eve
susanna eve

That's a lot of money for one pair of underwear. I can buy organic cotton underwear locally but I simply can't pay that kind of money, I never need to buy just one pair of underwear. I am hoping to get some ones made out of recycled t shirts:) I have seen tutorials for DIY undies from old t shirts, maybe I'll try one day.

Eleanor Sommer
Eleanor Sommer

I've putting off getting underwear for all the same reasons! But these are a bit pricey! Although I applaud their dedication in all levels of manufacturing and delivery. .-= Eleanor Sommer´s last blog ..Herbs Without Patents =-.

Tracey
Tracey

Undies were invented to save on laundry - wash the undies, spare the pants. Makes sense when you do 5 people's laundry with hang drying. I compost all of our worn clothes once they hit the useless as rags stage. In fact, I composted Sarah McLaughlin's turquoise wool pants once they got overly eaten by moths. Jeans. Socks. Mixed fibres. 2 dozen diapers. 1 season. Undies at rag stage? I give them 2 months. Max. .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Natural Baking Soda for Health? What do you think? =-.

Rob
Rob

HOLD ON HERE: What about going Commando? Seems to me that would be the greenest choice in underwear. Of course not so comfortable for the boys-gonads, eggs, balls, what have you, but still. .-= Rob´s last blog ..Peanut Butter Kisses =-.

Lindsey
Lindsey

Can people seriously afford to spend 22$ on one pair of underwear? I would love some of this underwear, but it's definitely not going to happen at that price.

Anaquita
Anaquita

Well I'm in no need for new undies at the moment, but I'll have to definetely get some of these the next time I do need to shop for them. So, I've saved the link. :)

AP
AP

I found new organic underwear packaged in cloth bags while I was shopping at an Oxfam shop in Cambridge earlier this year. I don't have imminent plans to get back to England, so thank you so much for this - I need to add to my drawers drawer.

Lacey
Lacey

These are so cute! (Maybe too cute as they make me want to buy underwear I don't really need.) Hopefully they will come out with more styles too - or all FPF readers will soon have matching undies :-) .-= Lacey´s last blog ..Holiday Baking: Spitzbüben - My favorite cookies! =-.

ejwm
ejwm

Thank goodness!! I normally shudder when people say things like this, but thank you Beth for doing the research for me - I've been putting it off. Now about bras... ;)

Pure Mothers
Pure Mothers

I will get some from them. I've been looking for an organic bra (I'm finally getting rid of my nursing bras!), but I can't find nay. The only ones at Gaiam were sold out. Too bad PACT doesn't make bras too. Maybe int heir future! Merry Christmas, Beth - and thanks for all your hard work! I'll keep tuning in. .-= Pure Mothers´s last blog ..Our Green Move =-.

monkeyjen
monkeyjen

you can try on underwear!! just keep your underwear on - like a swimsuit. i've done it plenty of times. oh yeah, great post ;-)

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