The fashion industry is known to be a huge contributor to waste, from the tons of textiles thrown into landfills to the toxic dyeing chemicals dumped in the ocean. In fact, Harvard Business School notes that 92 million tons of textile waste are generated by the fashion industry every year. As such, consumers have become more conscious of the businesses they support and the products they purchase. Studies on the World Wildlife Fund found that 50% of global respondents switched products because a company wasn’t sustainable, leading to 60% of fashion brands in North America and Europe to adopt more sustainable practices.
If you’re an apparel business looking to do the same and yet do not know where to start, below are some tips to make your business more eco-friendly.
Some apparel brands have a surplus of products that never get sold due to overproduction or because they’ve gone out of season. In the end, unsold products become a waste of space, labor, and material. These may also end up in landfills, therefore adding to pollution.
To avoid this, Amour Vert makes its pieces in limited quantities to eliminate excess waste and to ensure the highest production standards. They also do this because they follow a zero-waste policy, and they find creative ways to recycle and reuse their items. The brand prides itself on a small-batch production and stays true to its brand name, which translates to “green love” in French.
Choose sustainable materials
Another way brands incorporate sustainability into their business is by using the right materials. The fashion industry makes use of a multitude of fabrics, and a majority are harmful to the environment. A common example of this is polyester, as it is non-biodegradable and takes 20-200 years to break down. It is also derived from oil, a major source of pollution.
However, Noah has changed the sustainability discourse by being conscientious about the fabrics they work with. Even for the simplest of shirts, they make sure to use 100% recycled cotton. Instead of promoting their pieces as sustainable, they instead make their recycled component a bonus. They don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of saying they made something recycled.
Use eco-friendly packaging
Aside from the material used in making clothes, the packaging is also something to consider. Most businesses use polybags to contain their garments. Polybags are made from either polyethylene or polypropylene, which have harmful effects on the environment. These do not decompose, so they can make their way to the ocean and become choking hazards for marine animals. When burned, they release toxic fumes that pollute the air.
Stella McCartney has vowed to minimize single-use and virgin plastic and paper in their packaging. Since 2012, they’ve also restricted themselves to only use paper that is made from 50% recycled content. They pledged to only use recycled, recyclable, or compostable plastic by 2025.
Nowadays, sustainability has become a big part of what consumers and job seekers look for when supporting or working under a business. Not only do sustainable practices ensure the environment’s welfare, but they may also help businesses grow by attracting more consumers and potential employees.