Eco-friendly Clothing Production
Read Alice & Ted’s guide to environmental approaches.
There are certain standards that indicate positive production methods, good practices, and better fabric choices. We have below made a list of different environmental certifications out there. Please have a look and keep your eyes open for these next time you look for clothes.
Try to repair your garments when they rip. Even if you claim that you are not skilled to do it yourself, you can always hand in your garment to replace a broken zipper or to have it sewn. This way you don’t have to run off and buy new clothes right away.
Many materials or fabrics can be reused in new products even if the original product’s life is over. Reusing fabrics can be made on larger scale by companies as well as at home.
Reduce waste by change used materials into new ones. Recycling reduces the consumption of fresh raw materials, energy usage, air pollution, and water pollution.
The environment also includes our work places and factories. We have to make sure everyone in the production chain is working in good conditions for their health and safety. We have to make sure our clothes are not made in factories that collapse or where workers have to work with toxic chemicals and dyes. We simply have to stop demanding such products!
Minimizing waste is an effort to reduce the amount of waste, resources, and energy during manufacturing. A way to minimize waste can be to make products out of leftover fabrics or stop using plastic bags to wrap every single garment delivered.
Organic clothing is made from materials raised in, or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. The sources of the clothing’s fiber are free from herbicides, pesticides, or genetically modified seeds.
Biodegradable products mean that they can be consumed by microorganisms and returned to compounds found in nature. Clothes that are biodegradable are typically made out of natural fiber, such as pure cotton or pure wool.
All consumption strains the environment. Long-lasting quality products reduce the need to consume.
Here is a guide to textile certifications. Please keep your eyes open for these certifications as a way to guide you to better product choices.
Indicates all the input streams from raw materials to chemical components and resources used are assessed on their ecological impact. It is essentially a label that helps identify fabric and apparel producers that have analyzed their manufacturing chain and are constantly investing in research and development in an active effort to reduce their ecological footprint.
Cotton Made in Africa
Indicates that the cotton is sustainably grown by African farmers in collaboration with the Aid by Trade Foundation. This initiative is meant to provide African cotton farmers with the knowledge and practices for sustainable cotton farming, and to improve their quality of life as farmers. The initiative works with retailers that are demanding sustainably produced cotton.
Cradle to Cradle
Indicates a product that is either completely recyclable or biodegradable, and made with the lowest impact manufacturing processes that are not harmful to people or the environment in any way. The certification program applies to materials, sub-assemblies and finished product and is a chance for companies to demonstrate eco-intelligent design. Textiles from Pendleton Woolen Mills, Greenweave Fabrics and Sunbury Textile Mills have received this prominent certification.
The symbol indicates that the product has met certain social, environmental and economic criteria that support the sustainable development of small-scale producers and agricultural workers in the poorest countries in the world. The Fair Trade organization essentially gives consumers the opportunity to help reduce poverty and instigate change by purchasing Fair Trade cotton and several certified food items.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
Indicates that the product is definitely organic through every stage or production from ginning to the labeling of the final product. This includes all aspects of manufacturing from use of biodegradable and toxin-free dyes, to low impact waste treatment and water supply systems in factories, fair labor practices and final products that are free of allergenic, carcinogenic or toxic chemical residues. This officially and internationally recognized standard is currently one of the most trusted organic textile certifications.
Global Recycle Standard
Indicates that the product contains recycled content of some sort. This is often in the form of recycled polyester or rPET, which is often found in sportswear and cotton/rPET fabric blends.
The sign is a label that indicates a fashion company’s environmental responsibility and fair labor practices throughout the entire supply chain. The Made-By organization works with brands that use organic cotton and work with sewing factories with enforced social codes of conduct.
Indicates that a product is made from 100 percent organic fiber that has been tracked and verified throughout the entire production chain. Textile Exchange awards the certification.
The standard indicates that the textile product is free of certain groups of harmful substances, ensuring that all certified products are harmless to health. The certification standards fall into three levels: 100, 1000 and 1000 plus as the highest and indicates that everything from fabric, threads, interlinings, hook-and-loop closures, hooks etc. have met the criteria.
Measures the amount of recycled content that has been diverted from the waste stream in a certain product. The SCS organization also grants certification to companies the meet certain criteria for in-house recycling schemes.
USDA Certified Organic
Is often recognized for food labeling, but accounts for all agricultural crops. These include cotton, wool and other natural fibers that come from animals that have not been given antibiotics or growth hormones and receive organic feed, and plants that have not been grown with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or ionizing radiation. All products that are labeled as USDA certified organic have to meet the standards whether or not the raw material was grown in the U.S. or somewhere else.
Indicates responsibly manufactured and environmentally safe wool. Wool with this accreditation has been produced in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner, to high animal welfare standards, and is traceable back to its source. Most Zque wool is merino wool raised and produced in New Zealand.