A Look at Recycled Fibers


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Heather Kaye of Finch Designs talks at Green Drinks China Monthly Forum in May about recycled fibers.

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A Look at Recycled Fibers

  1. 1. Scrap, melt or spin?A look at recycled fibers
  2. 2. What are we wearing?65%35% Manufactured& SyntheticNatural Fiber
  3. 3. How much are we consuming?!Americans alone consume nearly 20 billion garments a year.That’s more than one piece of clothing purchased per week!• UNIQLO makes 600,000 items of clothing a year.• Zara processes 1 million garments per day.• World fiber production is now 82 million tons, whichrequires 145 million tons of coal and somewhere between 1.5trillion and 2 trillion gallons of water to produce.• In the U.S., almost 13 million tons of textile waste aregenerated annually. Of that, just 15% is recovered for reuseor recycling.• Source: http://www.overdressedthebook.com/fashion-fast-facts/
  4. 4. FINCH: 2010
  5. 5. The Influence of DesignersRawMaterialsKnitting &WeavingFabricDyeing &PrintingGarmentProductionCustomer/Disposal?Transport& DistroLandfill
  6. 6. Sourcing: Trust issues• Apparel has a LONG supply chain...raw fiber tospinning to weaving/knitting to dyeing to finishing togarment making• Lack of transparency from suppliers and agents• Language barrier• Many different certifications and standards...GOTS,Intertek, Oeko-tex, KRAV, IVN, Ecolabel, JOCA
  7. 7. What is being certified?• Raw fiber?• Fabric?• The finished garment?
  8. 8. GOTSGlobal Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)The GOTS standards cover production,processing, manufacturing, packaging,labeling, export, import and distributionof all natural fibers.
  9. 9. Sustainable fabric options• Organic Cotton• Hemp, bamboo, soy• Tencel and Modal• Silk, wool, yak• Recycled cotton• Recycled PET (Poly Ethylene Terephthalate)
  10. 10. Source: http://rpetclothing.com/What-Is-RPET.html
  11. 11. The FINCH Rain Cape
  12. 12. Why recycle plastic?It takes 450-700 years for most types of plastic bottles to decompose•Approximately 86% of plastic bottles aren’t recycled in USA•Approximately 1500 bottles end up in land fills and the ocean…everysecond•60 million plastic water bottles are used each day in the US alone, 30Million in Europe, more than 100 million world wide every day•It takes 3-5 litres of water to make 1 plastic bottle•Plastic bottles are a petroleum product and use 151 billion litres of oil toproduce each year. That’s enough to run 500,000 cars per year.• Source: http://www.safebottles.co.nz/News/Plastics+and+the+Environment.html
  13. 13. But wait...• Where do the recycled plastic bottles comefrom?• How do we know these are actually post-consumer use bottles?• How many bottles does it take to make onecape?
  14. 14. Sourcing eco-friendly dyes• The dyes allowed under GOTS are limited to naturaldyes and some synthetic dyes that meet GOTS specificrequirements• Look for “low-impact dyes” and “fiber-reactive dyes”• Avoid dyes with heavy metals, formaldehyde,pesticides, and azo dyes
  15. 15. ...and printing?• Screen printing with low-impact dyes• Digital or inkjet textile printing• VOCs, solvents, energy and water inputs
  16. 16. Keep in mind...• The real costs of FAST FASHION are borne bythe garment factory workers, the environmentand our limited resources• Invest in timeless, high-quality garments thathave been made under fair labor conditions• CONSUME LESS, RE-USE MORE!