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Sustainable Clothing Sees 12% Water Use Reduction in UK, New Products on Kickstarter

Around the world, more and more action is being taken to create a more sustainable clothing industry. In the U.K., waste reduction charity WRAP is seeing significant progress on its Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP). Meanwhile, two U.S.-based Kickstarter campaigns are offering sustainable, certified organic options: men’s denim made in America; and temperature-regulating base layers that use nanofibers from Austria.

In its two years of activity, SCAP has already achieved a 12.5 percent reduction in water impacts per tonne of clothing across the clothing supply chain, against its 15 percent target for 2020. The progress for carbon impact reduction is slower, but on track, with a 3.5 percent reduction per tonne of clothing so far against the 15 percent target for 2020. SCAP delivered the good news in a recent progress announcement.

“SCAP signatories have made great progress against the targets to date, particularly water. This is a positive indication of what can be achieved and we must capitalize on the momentum we’ve built,” said Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP. “We will be working with the sector to ensure focus is maintained on priority areas. And whilst waste arisings [sic] haven’t been reduced, they have remained stable and we are encouraging concentrated efforts in this area.”

SCAP signatories represent over 50 percent of the UK retail market by sales, volume, and value. WRAP will continue to work with the industry towards its 2020 targets, which also include to reduce waste to landfill by 15 percent. The progress on this target was not announced, but it is supported by the organization’s “Love Your Clothes” campaign.

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In October, WRAP launched a €3.6 million project targeting European clothing waste, with a goal to divert over 90,000 tonnes per year of clothing waste from landfill and incineration by March 2019.

Launched on November 9, D’Lord Denim’s Kickstarter campaign claims it is selling “the world’s first sustainable men’s denim.” While it is difficult to vet that as true – particularly given G-Star’s use of Bionic Yarn made from ocean plastic in its “Raw for the Oceans” collection, and Levi’s Wellthread™ Collection using Water<Less™ fabric – the startup does boast some impressive sustainability aspects in the production of its new premium denim.

Front and center on the Kickstarter campaign page, D’Lord Denim states:

  • 100 percent of their denim fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton or made from ethically manufactured hemp and bamboo;
  • It only works with factories that 'share their passion for sustainability;'
  • It has a zero tolerance policy for human rights violations;
  • Its supply chain includes as many American facilities as possible, including sourcing materials and the products’ final cut and sew;
  • It plants trees for every product sold through the Arbor Day Foundation, a conservation and education non-profit; and
  • For each sale after the Kickstarter campaign, the company will donate 15 percent of its profits to various environmentally-focused charities.

“Making our jeans in America not only ensures I can provide the highest quality denim possible but also that we can help bring back and sustain American manufacturing,” said Daniel Lord, founder of the brand.

“Having come from a long line of blue collar workers, and an immigrant family, part of the reason why food was always in my belly growing up was that America had trade work available for my family, and it’s my duty to help continue that proud tradition of American manufacturing.”

The jeans will retail at $180 per pair, but the Kickstarter prices begin at $135 each for early birds. The campaign will close on December 14, 2015 and deliveries are expected to take place in April 2016.

Already funded with about 30 days to go, Element Pure is offering “the most comfortable baselayer ever,” thermal underwear made with tencel, a high-tech nanofiber from Austria. The Kickstarter campaign page claims that the fabric is antibacterial, odor-proof, and will keep you dry by absorbing sweat away from your skin.

“Right now the fashion industry uses enormous amounts of water and generates huge amounts of textile waste, the vast majority of which goes straight into landfills. Many clothes are made from non-renewable fossil-fuel derived synthetics such as Polyester and Polyamide that will sit in landfills for more than 200 years. With climate change and water shortages worldwide, sustainable clothing will only continue to grow in importance.” said Michael Chen, co-founder of Element Pure.

“Backers of this Kickstarter campaign are helping us make highly sustainable clothes that uses 20 times less water versus cotton and generates 5 times less CO2 than polyester.”

And those are not the only sustainability credits the company claims. The tencel baselayer:

  • Is made from organic PEFC certified Eucalyptus wood;
  • Uses 20 times less water in its production than cotton;
  • Generates 5 times less carbon emissions than polyester;
  • Will biodegrade in 12 days under compost conditions;
  • Is certified hypoallergenic;
  • Has a 99.7 percent recovery rate for solvent used in the manufacturing process; and
  • Requires no bleaching or any other chemical processing during production.

Shipping within the U.S. is included in the prices: $39 for one top or bottom, or $75 for one top and one bottom. Shipping to Canada starts at $5, and there is no information about other international shipping. The campaign will close on December 12, 2015 and deliveries are expected to take place in late January and early February of 2016.


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