INTRODUCTION

How many pieces of clothing do you buy every week, month, or year? How often do you buy online, and how often do you return something? How is your clothing washed? And what do you do with clothes that you no longer wear? The estimated CO2 emissions of an average consumer, whose clothing choices pump 735 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the air every year. A study of organic cotton in the region of India, commissioned by PUMA (the sportswear manufacturer), found a 40% reduction in global warming potential, 72% lower primary energy demand, and less water consumption.

ORGANIC COTTON

The study shows that organic cotton is produced with 978kg of CO2 per ton of cotton, a 46% reduction in the greenhouse effect compared to non-organic cotton. The study also found a huge 91% reduction in water consumption – only 180 cubic meters of water is consumed per ton of organic cotton, compared to 2,120 cubic meters of unconventional cotton.

EMISSIONS

The CO2 emissions are so big because the chain is huge and not practical. The emissions start with the cultivation of cotton in America. Growing this complicated crop requires a lot of water (2700 liters for one T-shirt) and pesticides. 25% of all pesticides worldwide are used for cotton production, while cotton grows on 2.5% of available agricultural land. After harvesting the cotton, the product is pressed into bales of 225 kilograms. These bales depart by ship from America to China or India, where the raw cotton is transformed into yarn. After this, the fabrics are colored, some of these dyes are very harmful to people and the environment. The dyes do not only end up in the garments but also in the wastewater. Unfortunately, this wastewater is “simply” discharged into nature. The piece of fabric is then processed by hand into a garment. In Bangladesh alone, nearly 5 million people work in the sector, average income: $66 per month!

When the garment is ready, it will leave by boat to the Western world, where it will be sold. By boat, remember that. A freighter emits the most CO2 from all modes of transport on earth. Before a garment has been worn, it has traveled an average of over 20,000 kilometers. To illustrate: The circumference of our globe is 40,000 kilometers. A major problem in the sector is the cheap “fast fashion” chain stores, which respond well to the throwaway culture of the Western population. From 1994 to 2014, clothing consumption in the Western world increased by 1400%, to about 80 billion pieces of clothing. (Information collected from the source THRLL 2020.)

WHAT IS COLLÉ DOING
TO REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS?

Our world has many more years to live. That is why we must take action now to help build a better future for us and our planet. Both companies and consumers can help, each in their own way. Here are a few ways how we reduce CO2 emissions.

 

ORGANIC COTTON

First and foremost, our clothing is very important. These are made with environmentally friendly materials such as organic cotton. This process is better because of the little water usage and no pesticide. We also work with recycled cotton. In addition, we have switched from China to Portugal (Porto) in order to reduce the footprint and whereby the transport cycle is less far.

RECYCLED PAPER

With our brand we want to profile ourselves by not only looking at the clothing, but also at the rest of the clothing chain such as packaging. Our invoices and paper products are printed on recycled paper to reduce emissions. We also work with a laser printer that saves us cartridgesand therefore plastic. Our packaging is also recyclable and made from reusable paper.

RECYCLED POLYBAGS & CO2 NEUTRAL PAPER

We are also looking at how we can make sending packages more sustainable. For example, we would like to work with recycled polybags and we consider the options for working with Repack. Our shipping labels are also printed on CO2 neutral paper with a thermal printer. A saving of plastic and ink!

In short, we do everything we can to be as sustainable as possible! Let’s not buy less together, but more consciously. With Collé, you are already doing a good deed to a better clothing process.