Who knew a material consisting of synthetic and organic compounds could cause such a catastrophic impact on our planet?
Plastic - the material we use in almost everything. From our toothbrushes and drinks bottles to our clothing and duvets, it's almost impossible to avoid it.
Not only does the creation of plastic use around 8% of the world's oil sources during the production process, there are also masses (around 46,000 pieces per square mile) of plastic waste floating in the ocean.
The problem with plastics is an ongoing challenge but as an outdoor company the importance of preserving our environment/workplace is even greater. So, as we tackle the Plastic Problem at hand we're taking a look at our favourite brands and how they're working to be more ECO-Conscious:
The North Face
Always determined to put the right face forward, The North Face have continuously worked on reducing their carbon footprint and creating products using recycled materials. This focus allows them to reuse unwanted clothing that can easily be repurposed into brand new jackets, fleeces or pants.
Their Glacier Delta Fleece is insulating, extremely comfortable yet created using recycled plastics and materials as part of their 'Behind The Seams' process.
Alongside product innovation The North Face has a firm focus on the need to…
'Clothes The Loop'
- The North Face now allow you to recycle your clothing by taking it to any North Face store in the UK or France. This also includes clothing from other retailers not just The North Face.
- Once the clothes are received in store they are sorted into over 40 different categories and sent on to a recycling plant.
- They are then repurposed or recycled into raw materials for products including insulation, carpet fabrics, stuffing for toys and fibres for new clothes.
Sustainability is a main focus for Merrell. Their President, Sue Rechner understands that a brand focused on encouraging outdoor living and adventure must continue to minimise their own impact on the environment around them.With this being said, Merrell try to utilise as much of their product fabrics as possible and re-use any off-cuts. Their factories regrind the product waste to make components for their new shoes. During their manufacturing process they strive to reduce water usage by using Solution-Dyeing instead of the extremely water intensive traditional method. They continue to research these processes in the hope of improving their sustainability.
Taking the time to consider not only their manufacturing process but their working environments too, Berghaus promise to run lower-energy offices with lighting sensors and designated recycling areas.
But, this is just one of their ECO-Conscious efforts.
Their commitment to high-end craftsmanship comes to life in the 'Made Kind' campaign. Here Berghaus are, 'Making a commitment to craftsmanship that's kinder to the world we love to explore'. The products they develop can only be awarded the 'Made Kind' stamp if they're made from 50% recycled content.
Berghaus have also developed dyeing technology COLOURKIND™ found in products such as the Berghaus Men's Duneline Hybrid jacket. This process does not soak the clothing in vats of water, dyes and fixing agents as you would normally expect. Instead, COLOURKIND™ technology adds pigments directly into the nylon or polyester chips before they are spun into yarn ready for the clothing. This way of dyeing the clothes using technology and fewer dyeing stages means the colour not only lasts longer but Berghaus save 89% of their water usage, use 63% less chemicals and reduce their CO2 emissions by 60%.
The Texa-Pore Ecosphere collection has been the main triumph of Jack Wolfskin's focus on being a more ECO-Conscious brand. Manufactured using largely recycled PET bottles, the collection is bright, vibrant and made using sustainable initiatives. Jack Wolfskin are offering the first 100% recycled membrane and using insulation in their Microguard Ecosphere products as 'light as a feather' but actually made using recycled synthetic fibres.
The number of 100% recycled Jack Wolfskin products continues to grow with 70 products already on the list. But their triumphs don’t stop there. The goal is to educate, recycle and innovate until their product process no longer impacts on the levels of micro-plastics in the ocean and the amount of waste is drastically reduced. Watch this space.
And last, but definitely not least in this insight into the outdoor brands ECO-Conscious efforts is Mountain Equipment.
Pioneers in supply chain visibility, they stand firmly behind the idea that knowledge is key and knowing EXACTLY where your clothing comes from is a must. Product processes are traceable and transparent for the consumer with initiatives like the Down Codex® scheme.
The Down Codex scheme was developed to manage and reduce risk in down supply chains. The aim is to have the most transparent auditing system of any outdoor brand - anywhere in the world. You can even trace the down in your jacket using the 12-digit code on the Down Codex® stamped label inside.
Arguably, there is still a long way to go in order to tackle the issues surrounding the outdoor clothing industry but these brands and many others continue to take steps in order to develop sustainable clothing for the future.
Tell us your thoughts and tips on being ECO-Conscious in the comments below.