Operation Warm is supplying a sustainable coat for children in need called “The Green Guardian.” The nonprofit will be creating 15,000 coats made from recycled plastic bottles across the North America by the fall. It was announced on Earth Day, which had a focus on ending plastic pollution this year.
Each of Operation Warm’s Green Guardian coats are made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and makes up the lining, fleece, and the shell. Each coat will stop an average of 32 plastic bottles from reaching our oceans and landfills, and that’s close to 500,000 plastic bottles should the nonprofit hit their goal by autumn.
"Our eco-friendly coat is stylish and durable,” Dick Sanford, CEO of Operation Warm, said in a press release. “It has been designed to withstand hours of playing outdoors and to protect against harsh winter temperatures. However, The Green Guardian also addresses the plastic bottle crisis and gives us an opportunity to further educate children about environmentalism."
PET plastics are generally used to recycle and turn into fabric for a variety of uses. It’s a common plastic used for food and beverage packaging, but only a quarter of it is recycled in the United States. A number of apparel companies like the Girlfriend Collective have created new clothing lines using the material.
Operation Warm focuses on delivering products to low-income families instead of selling them individually. They work with local communities and give away coats in bulk at events held in schools, youth clubs, and churches. Organizations can contact the nonprofit for Green Guardian coats. For further support, people can give a donation to help those in need.
"The Green Guardian will be our contribution to the crisis that we have in this world; our little drop in the bucket,” Sanford added in the press release. “I personally believe it is everyone's responsibility to help others, and this is how Operation Warm can support kids and help the planet.”
This year, Earth Day was focused on spreading the message of plastic pollution. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean is twice the size of Texas and will only be getting bigger at this rate with plastics needing up to 2,000 years to disintegrate. Not only is Operation Warm helping kids from poor families with winter coats, but they’re also saving the environment when doing so.