Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour: Meet Our New Master Roadtrippers

When one eco-friendly trailer door closes, another opens. While Dr. Drew’s passion for sustainability and general stoke for life have been integral to launching our Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable mobile tour, his time on the road has come to an end. While Drew returns to the Toad mothership in Santa Barbara, CA, we’re kicking off a new chapter of the tour in Freeport, ME—with a new rad couple at the wheel.

Rob and Rachel
Don’t worry, Dr. Drew always has his place on the tour.

 

Meet Rob and Rachel. Originally from Atlanta (Rob) and Connecticut (Rachel), the pair met at Appalachian State University, tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. They most recently lived in Denver where Rob worked as a land use planner and Rachel was working with geographic information systems for the city. Now, they’re onto their next big adventure as they hit the road to spread the word about how we’re helping to clean up the apparel industry.

Toad HQ: What made you want to join the Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable tour?

Rachel: We had been tossing around the idea of a big road trip for a while now, so when we heard about the tour through my sister Sam (who works at the Toad&Co Freeport store), we knew we wanted in! I’ve been a big fan of Toad for a while now and love the word that this tour is spreading.

Rob: We’re already fans of the brand and really support Toad’s ecologically responsible practices. We really wanted to be a part of increasing awareness of the environmental impacts of the apparel industry (4th largest global polluter—real bummer) and offering an alternative (go nude, or wear sustainable clothing). It was a no brainer!

What are you most excited about in the months ahead as you lead the charge on the STP tour? 

Rob: I’m excited to see parts of the country that I’ve never been to, and engage the local communities as we raise awareness about sustainability.

Rachel: Aside from the two stops (Freeport and Chicago) on this next leg, every place will be new so I’m really stoked to see cities we haven’t been to and connect with the people in those communities.

What’s your favorite U.S. city to visit? 

Rachel: It’s always whatever’s next! Recently, we’ve spent a lot of time in Santa Fe and we love it. The sunsets, food, and hiking are killer.

What about your favorite national park?

Rachel: Rocky Mountain National Park, without a doubt.

Rob: Ditto! Living in Denver gave us the opportunity to spend plenty of time there. I’m stoked to visit new parks along the trip, especially Glacier NP and Northern Cascades NP. Who knows—maybe we’ll wrap up our time on the tour with a new favorite…

How about your favorite road trip songs?

Rob: Can’t go wrong with a long Phish or Dead jam to crush some miles!

Rachel: You’ll usually find me listening to some folk or bluegrass. There’s a lot of John Prine and Vampire Weekend in my current rotation.

Which one of you is most likely to get caught belting out your favorite tunes while driving?

Rachel: We have a few solid duets in our repertoire, but probably me!

At Toad, we stand by the idea that every day is an adventure. What are your best tips for living life this way? 

Rob: Go for it! If you’ve ever wanted to do something, you can find a way.

Rachel: And don’t wait. Just make it happen!

What outdoor activities get you most fired up?

Rob: Backpacking and fly fishing. But also into hiking, cycling, running, and climbing. I guess this is also how I live every day as an adventure!

Rachel: I love biking around to check out new spots, backpacking and hiking, and I’ve recently gotten into fly fishing with Rob.

Even the most adventurous of us need a little downtime. How do you like to spend yours?

Rachel: I love to bake (mostly pies) and garden.

Rob: Playing guitar, eating good food, and an occasional binge watch on a rainy day.

Can you share your best hacks for living life on the road sustainably?

Rob: Bring reusable cups and utensils, say “for here!” when ordering food and coffee, wear clothes a lot between washes (dirty is the new clean), and stop to make food on the road.

Rachel: We try to limit our waste as much as possible—make our own food, bring to-go containers, eat in if we don’t have them, and always say no to straws!

STP key handoff
The official passing of the torch (aka keys to the rig).

 

If we learned one thing from Drew, it’s that the search for the best cup of coffee and most tasty beer is critical on a long road trip (just kidding, Dr. Drew, you taught us a lot). What’s currently topping your list? 

Rachel: I’ll get a vanilla latte when I’m treating myself, and my old neighborhood coffee shop in Denver, Queen City Collective, makes the best cuppa Joe. When it comes to beer, I’m really into the Milkshake IPA right now. WeldWerks in Colorado does ’em best.

Rob: You can’t go wrong with a good IPA, clear or hazy. Right now we’re in Maine and I’m loving Lunch from Maine Beer Co. For coffee, I typically go for a local light roast in whichever city we’re in.

Have you ever gone nude in the name of sustainability (we have to ask…)?

Rachel: We haven’t yet, but anything’s possible on the tour, right?!

Rachel and Rob

What are your favorite Toad clothes to keep it comfy on the road? 

Rachel: Definitely the Hillrose Short Sleeve Shirt (in the Pink Sand Resort print) when I’m feeling fun! And the Tara Hemp Pant—the perfect summer pant. Dress ’em up, dress ’em down.

Rob: I love the Taj Hemp Short Sleeve Slim Shirt and the Rover Short!

Learn more about the Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable tour and find out if we’re coming to your neck of the woods.

 

Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour: On the Road with Dr. Drew

The apparel industry is a dirty one (the 4th largest global polluter of air and water), and the way we see it, you have two options: Go nude or wear sustainable. So we’ve set out on a cross-country tour to spread the word – with our sustainably-retrofitted 1959 Shasta Trailer Buffy leading the charge and Toad Drew (aka Dr. Drew) at the wheel. We’re rolling into towns to host events with local retailers, organizations, artists, and makers to spread the gospel of sustainability. And yes, for those wondering, those are Drew’s legs on the driver’s side of the truck.

Drew and Buffy cropped

Drew and Buffy have been on the road for 92 days (that’s around 8 thousand miles, 23 tunnel breath holds, and 98 honks), so we decided it was time for a check in with our main man to see how life on the road is treating him.

Toad HQ: Where are you now?

Drew: Somewhere in Delaware, near the Pennsylvania border. This morning I got stuck behind a horse and buggy carrying a cart of hay during rush hour. First time for everything!

What has been the most unexpected part of your trip?

How big Texas actually is! You don’t really feel the 268,597 square miles until you’re driving it with a trailer in tow.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve seen so far?

Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee. The Smokeys were covered with snow-capped trees and untouched wilderness as far as the eye could see. It’s the most visited national park in the nation (pro tip: free admission!). I rolled through the park at first light and as I came through the hills, the clouds settled right at the treeline, staying true to its namesake. A must see for all wilderness fans.

Can you tell us a little bit about your sidekick Buffy?

She’s a 1959 Shasta trailer – and we’ve retrofitted her interior using 100% sustainable materials like upcycled cardboard and sawdust, recycled cork, upcycled steel, and beetle kill pine for the floorboards. We keep her well lit with a rechargeable battery and solar panels. She might be sick of my personal carpool karaoke moments, but she’ll never admit it (If you want to know what I’m belting out, check out my road trip playlist).

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met along the way?

I met a great guy named Art in Raleigh, NC. He’s originally from Kauai and is making plans to sail from Maine down to Florida. We’ve been supporting local retailers and nonprofits in every city we stop in, and I’ve met a ton of cool people through those partnerships. Everyone’s been super welcoming and it’s been great to be part of each of these communities for a few days.

With “Go Nude” written all over your ride, we have to ask…how many times have you been flashed?

Surprisingly, zero! Though one gal did tell me, “You wish you could see me naked.” Ask me how many traffic violations have been committed after seeing the rig, though. Probably thousands.

We believe it. What else have you been keeping track of? 

I’ve enjoyed 111 beers (discovering lots of rad local breweries), stayed in 19 2-star hotels, saw 85 dog sweaters in Austin, TX, and coffee intake has been too high to calculate.

Have you learned anything new about sustainability on your trip?

In Pennsylvania, we’re partnering with Stroud Water Research Center to put on events around the state. They’re an awesome non-profit that taught me a lot about organic farming. They advise on seasonal cover crop rotations (planned sequences of crops over time on the same field, which helps improve soil stability) rather than tillage (turning the soil to prepare for seeding). Soil tillage can increase the likelihood of nutrient runoff into streams and rivers and the release of greenhouse gases. Crop rotation also means fewer problems with insects and pests, preventing the need for pesticides.

How do you keep things eco-friendly while you’re on the road?

I dine in for most of my meals (relying on Airbnbs with kitchens so I can whip something up each night). I also always cruise around with a spork, a coffee/beer mug (what’s in it just depends on the time of day), and a water bottle. I shop with reusable bags (produce bags too) and bring reusable containers, like mason jars, for bulk bins at co-ops and local grocery stores.

Have you learned anything surprising about yourself along the way?

I never would have guessed I loved being on the radio! There might even be a podcast interview going live soon…

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten?

Brisket in Austin. Hands down.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten?

Okra. That’s some slimy stuff!

You’ll be saying goodbye to Buffy and passing the torch to a new tour lead soon. What are you looking most forward to during the final leg of your trip?

Scoring some waves in Maine and seeing our store in Freeport (also Maine).

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get back to Santa Barbara?

I’m going to see Father John Misty at The SB Bowl with my lady.

Which spring items have you seen flying off the shelves?

The Barrel House Hoodie (100% recycled!) and the Tara Hemp Jumpsuit.

Check out our Save the Planet tour page to see if we’re coming to your neck of the woods.

And if you want more on sustainability from Drew, see him drop all kinds of eco-knowledge about one of our favorite fibers (hemp)

Scenes from the road…

 

New Year’s Resolutions: 5 Easy Ways to Save the Planet

Start the year off right. Here are our 2019 sustainability resolutions:

01 wear sustainable

The apparel industry is the 4th largest polluter of air and water on Earth. Wearing eco-friendly or second-hand clothing can make a world of difference. We’ve got you covered: 100% of our products are made with eco materials.

02 recycle

Everything from food scraps to lightbulbs to shower water, start by cutting back on your consumption and reuse as much as you can.

03 no plastic

12 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills every year. Same for 6 out of 7 plastic bags. BYOB from here on out.

04 keep it local

Eating food sourced within 30 miles of your home cuts back on land, water and emissions pollution. Support local, support the planet.

05 ride your bike

By riding your bike instead of driving, you save 1 lb of carbon emissions for every mile you opt for 2 wheels. Bonus: it’s good for your health.

Want more? Join our movement to save the planet and download our Eco Cheat Sheet.

 

What is bluesign®?

From high-end garments to fast fashion, most of the clothing you wear is produced under less than stellar conditions. One of the dirtiest parts of fabric production takes place in what’s known as the “Dyeing and Finishing Process, ” like dying yarns and treating them Polygiene® Odor Control or a water resistant finish. 85% of all water, 80% of all energy, and 65% of all chemicals used to produce a garment are used in the dyeing and finishing process alone. With the majority of resources used during this stage of production, the bluesign system focuses its auditing efforts on the dyeing and finishing stages of production. Since we are continually implementing new ways to lessen our footprint, we are proud to use fabrics that have been certified as safer for the environment by the bluesignⓇ certification system.

When it comes to auditing sustainability standards, bluesignⓇ relies on a 5 principle system:

Resource Productivity
Resource productivity refers to a manufacturer’s ability to produce textiles of maximum quality by minimizing consumption of resources. For example, in the case of dyeing and finishing, bluesignⓇ certification ensures that a manufacturer has used the least amount of water as possible during production.

Water Emission
bluesignⓇ certified facilities are required to have a well-functioning wastewater treatment facility. Much of the water used in the dyeing and finishing process ends up contaminated with chemicals. In the past, manufacturers often disposed of waste water by dumping it into nearby watersheds. bluesignⓇ strictly monitors handling of wastewater and works with manufacturers to optimize wastewater treatment technology.

Air Emission
In order to be bluesignⓇ certified, a manufacturing facility must reduce greenhouse gases and make an active contribution to climate protection. Each and every process of textile production produces air emissions.  bluesignⓇ works to implement best practices in material usage and requires that any CO2 generated via dyeing and finishing must be cleaned and recycled adequately.

Occupational Health and Safety
The health and safety of employees who manufacture textiles is a large part of bluesign’sⓇ auditing process. In order for a manufacturing facility to be bluesignⓇ certified, they must adhere to a strict list of guidelines. Employees must complete a chemical training program and have complete protection from dust and noise. bluesignⓇ helps factories improve working conditions by decreasing exposure to chemicals during the dyeing and finishing stages of manufacturing.

Consumer Safety
Today’s consumers want high quality goods that were produced under fair conditions. So “consumer safety” has to include both: the promise for high-quality textile products without health risks as well as the compliance that sustainability is implemented in each step of the production process.  bluesignⓇ ensures that manufacturing facilities are operating in the most conscious manner possible to provide consumers ecologically high-quality textiles as well as a clear conscience.  As a result, proactive manufacturers are able to meet the requirements of their customers for sustainable and reliable products – even before legal obligations will force them to act.

Aside from the 5 principles, bluesignⓇ also requires a list of general criteria to be met. This ensures that partner companies stay competitive by using responsible and sustainable solutions. In our effort to provide the most sustainable clothing possible, we have committed to using bluesignⓇ certified materials as much as possible and we’re actively pursuing more bluesignⓇ certified materials across all styles.

Toad&Co Sustainability Cheat Sheet

When it comes to sustainable, easy-on-the-earth clothing, there are some great options. But the apparel industry is still one of the biggest polluters on the planet due to poor-quality, cheaply made clothing. The industry is the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil, and accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. We’re doing our part to bring those numbers down by making high-quality clothing from better fibers. Our Sustainability Cheat Sheet identifies fibers that we think are good based on their low environmental impact, and fibers that aren’t so great because of their dirty production processes. Look at the tags or fabric content before you buy: If the majority of its fibers are from the ‘great’ list, it’s probably A-Okay; avoid buying items with ingredients from the ‘not so great’ list. You vote at the ballot box for sustainable climate measures, so vote with your dollars for sustainable, eco-friendly clothes. When you make educated choices, you can live well and do good.

Great Fibers

ORGANIC COTTON
The ONLY cotton in our eyes. Starts with GMO-free seed and follows practices that maintain soil health, conserve water and support biodiversity. 100% of our cotton is certified organic cotton. Period.

TENCEL®
Soft, perfect drape and made from responsibly forested trees in a closed-loop system. Efficient, clean and 98% of by-products are recovered and reused. Waste not, want not.

LENZING MODAL®
Starts with sustainably grown trees and processed in an energy-efficient system that reuses most of the by-products. We’re big fans.

RECYCLED POLYESTER
Goodbye plastic bottles, hello awesome fabrics. Made from post-consumer plastic waste which reduces emissions and uses less water that virgin polyester. Also stems the mountain of trash entering landfills and oceans.

HEMP & LINEN
Hemp & Linen are fast growing, low maintenance crops that are grown primarily with rain water, requiring minimal chemical inputs during growth and processing. Extra hemp bonus: the entire plant can be used!

RECYCLED WOOL
Upcycled wool garments and mill scraps are spun into new, performance fabrics, sparing reusable materials from landfills and drastically reducing the resources needed to grow, graze and process new wool. Bah-utiful!

bluesign® APPROVED
The bluesign® system takes into account the use of energy, water, chemistry, emissions and worker safety during fabric production. In Fall 2017 we have 13 bluesign® approved fabrics across 23 styles.

Not So Great Fibers

ACRYLIC
Acrylic may be cheap, but the costs are high. Acrylic is made from polyacylonitrile (a soft plastic and known carcinogen) in a chemical and energy intensive process. Toxic by-products during manufacturing have been linked to occupational hazards and waste water is difficult to treat. Acrylic fabric is nearly impossible to recycle. We refuse to use acrylic in any of our fabrics.

BAMBOO VISCOSE
Though Bamboo has natural origins, converting stalky bamboo into fabric is a dirty process. Pulping and spinning requires toxic chemicals and high energy demands. Issues with non-sustainable tree-sourcing risk deforestation of ancient bamboo forests. It’s common to see misleading eco-claims about bamboo (“bamboozling”) so we stay away from it altogether, preferring to use verified eco-friendly fibers like Tencel® and recycled polyester.

CONVENTIONAL COTTON
Don’t be fooled – regular cotton is pretty darn unnatural. It starts with GMO seed and high use of herbicides, inorganic fertilizers and hazardous pesticides. The process has high water use due to irrigation. For us, it’s organic cotton or bust.

RAYON VISCOSE
Cheap fibers leave big environmental footprints. Making rayon viscose is an energy intensive process that generally starts with unknown tree sources which can lead to deforestation in places like the Indonesian rainforests. Toxic chemicals are used in the pulping and spinning processes which generates harmful waste and by-product. Given alternatives like Lenzing Modal®, we steer clear of rayon viscose fibers.

SILK
Sure silk looks and feels amazing, but it requires a lot of trees and their tasty leaves to keep those worms fed. Large quantities of chemicals are used for growth hormones and de-gumming the silk thread from its sticky residue. Lastly, a lot of energy is required for processing.

Verified industry sources:
Textile Exchange Material Snapshots 2015, SAC Higg Index, Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibers