In the 70s, a necessary direction emerged to work towards maintaining a healthy environmental order. Today it is quite clear that to help the planet, we have to firstly reduce our consumption of goods, then reuse what we already have with recycling as the last resort. The recycling symbol as we’ve all come to know it represents these three steps: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. The phrase became popular to symbolize the act of modern recycling as a new part of everyday life. But is the meaning completely understood?
In 2022 green bins full of unwanted goods that the city comes and collects every week have become “the act” for the planet. But what happens to those after they are taken? And what happened to reducing and reusing in the process? It is unfortunate that most people are unaware the majority of goods placed in green bins still end up in landfill because of a lack of facilities or misinformation of the recyclability of goods, i.e. dirty pizza boxes.
The same holds true for the recyclability of clothing. Less than 12% of clothing sold today is reused or recycled with a garbage truck of clothing ending up in a landfill every second around the world. As a slow fashion brand, we design and make our pieces to last a lifetime to reduce the production of unnecessary textile excess. We encourage our community to buy less and to promote the reuse of goods through our Second Life program.
For our craft in particular, reusing recycled materials for our products can sometime defeat the purpose of promoting goods that last a lifetime. We will not use recycled materials where they will compromise the quality of our designs and impede on our ability to stand behind our product for the sake of labeling a product ‘recycled’.
In our coats, the insulation that allows us to guarantee the warmth of our outerwear to -30 C is not recycled. We have sampled various recycled fills, however our tests concluded they are not as performant as its latter or comfortable for that matter. There are new developments in this area that will be available from our insulation partner in 2023.
For knits, the current technology for processing recycled cotton does not offer the superior quality we are looking for in terms of fiber length and comfort. We use the alternative of ethically farmed 100% cotton locally sourced from North Carolina.
There are applications in which recycling still has an important role to play such as our use of ECONYL which contributes towards the removal of fishnets that harm marine life. Our newly developed hangers are also made from recycled metals. In both these cases, we have been able to design and create products that are not inferior to virgin material applications.
In conclusion, whether it’s being mindful of our weekly consumed items that are actually recyclable (composting items can be a better option) or leaning towards slow fashion pieces, we need to come back to the original steps towards a healthy environmental order. Let’s focus first on reduction and reusing. Let’s go beyond recycling.