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There are many views on sustainability and what it means so below is a list of commonly used terms to give a better understanding of the terminology.

Organic cotton is grown in a truly sustainable way, which means that the cotton is grown and farmed without the use of pesticides, eliminating highly toxic substances from the environment. This has long-term benefits for both humanity and the planet.

Recycled polyester (often called RPET) is made from recycled plastic bottles which divert plastic from landfill. It tends to require far fewer resources than that of new fibres and generates less CO2.

Cotton waste from the manufacturing cutting room is recycled back into cotton which can be used in apparel production. The offcuts are sorted into different colours and shredded down, then finely spun into yarn to make clothing. This can be done by using organic or non-organic offcuts. Either way, turning a ‘waste’ material back into something usable is a great sustainable practice.

We have started to see the term ‘spun dyed’ amongst several of our brands, this year. This relates to the process of colour dyeing polyester. The traditional method is to dye the fabric in large vats of water treated with chemicals needed to dye the fabric. Spun dye is in addition to using recycled polyester to cut down on the water and chemicals used to dye fabric. The colour dye is added
directly to the polyester chips prior to them going through a heating process, where they are melted and extruded to form yarns. These yarns are then woven together to make clothing.

It takes at least three years of farming a field without cotton to be able to classify it as organic. There are now initiatives to encourage farmers to go organic by allowing them to sell their crops while they are in the process of becoming certified as organic, and this cotton is called transitional cotton.

Sustainability accreditations

Better Cotton is the world’s largest cotton sustainability programme. Its mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive while protecting and restoring the environment. They are making cotton farming a more climate-resilient, environmentally-friendly and responsible business.

By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

The aim of Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is to define worldwide recognised requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles – from the harvesting of raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, to labelling – to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.

If a textile article carries the STANDARD 100 label, you can be certain that all components – i.e. every thread, button and accessory – have been tested for harmful substances and that each article, therefore, is harmless to human health.

The Organic Content Standard (OCS) relies on third-party verification to verify that a final product contains the accurate amount of a given organically grown material. It does not address the use of chemicals or any social or environmental aspects of production beyond the integrity of the organic material. The OCS uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard (CCS).

The ‘PETA – Approved Vegan’ logo allows companies that sell apparel, accessories, furniture or home decor to highlight their vegan offerings, helping consumers find animal-free products at a glance and make purchases that align with their values.

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