For the blue fabric, cotton from cotton plants (1); water (2); pesticides (3); fertilizers (4); fuel for transport (5); electricity for ginning, spinning, and weaving (6); bleach (7); and dye (8). For the plastic buttons, petroleum (9) + terephthalic acid (10) + ethylene glycol (11) to make polyester resin; color compound (12); water (13); electricity for blending and injection molding (14); and fuel for transport (15). And so on as we continue to add up for the thread, labels, hangtags, and other specified components.
These inputs are made up of both natural and manmade resources: the more that go into a product, the more we take from nature, and the more toxins and waste that come out evert step of the way. On the positive side, reducing the amount of inputs means less energy, water, and processes are required, yielding a smaller footprint. Designing out waste involves thinking differently from start to finish, and this difference is what we need in order to drive a more equitable and just future for all.
What it means: Simply put, dematerializing is minimizing the amounts of natural resources (such as water and raw metal ore) and the number of virgin materials (which require processing and energy through the supply chain tiers) when designing products.
How to achieve it: Source and select mono-fiber yarn and fabrics instead of blends, which makes them easier to sort and recycle at product end-of use. Comb through your bill of materials and combine or eliminate items such as labels, tags, and packaging. The lower the amount of inputs, the easier to break down or disassemble when you start a take-back program. If you cannot eliminate items, then reduce the dimensions of poly bags, boxes, and such. Reuse what exists, chop up pieces, and create patchworks, felts, attachers, and ties from damaged goods or post-production scraps.
Which materials get you there: Post-industrial and post-consumer textile-to-textile recycled yarn and fabric can get you there, as well as deadstock goods (so much fabulous fabric already exists!). Also look for recycled metal, poly trims, and fasteners; recycled down and fiber-fill for pillows; bedding and coatings; and recycled poly or paper labels and tags.
Who has them:
Creative Artisans does! India’s Creative Artisans produces artisanal and bespoke madras, print, and dyed fabrics with the planet in mind. They work toward dematerialization and zero-waste in many ways, including creating fabric with Altag yarn, comprised of 20% agricultural waste and local vegetable market leftovers! Creative Artisans also upcycles leftover poly strips into custom woven fabric for handloomed bags and more. They’re dedicated to making fully recyclable materials and offer regenerative organic cotton. Creative Artisans holds Global Recycled Standard, GOTS, Bluesign and Khadi Mark certifications, and are members of Nest. Check out their handmade, low-carbon collection here!
Charming Trim & Packaging does, too! Charming produces hangtags and packaging in a range of recycled paper options, replacing the need to cut down trees for virgin wood pulp! They work toward dematerialization by simplifying products such as: eliminating metal grommets and matte laminations on hangtags to make recycling easier. They also manufacture recycled cotton and rPoly labels and work to reduce energy and water use. Charming is Bluesign, Okeo-Tex and Global Recycled Standard certified and offers biodegradable labels printed with water-based inks. Plus, they’re charter members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition! If you have to label it, do it sustainably with Charming Trim & Packaging – check them out here!