Our OceanPositive journey started with recycled ghost fishing nets – using them to make a product which we felt was better for the ocean and contributing to the reduction of plastic in our oceans. We keep reaching further. In 2019 our Summer Life collection is being produced with certified organic cotton, hand printed with water-based inks, and all packaged without plastic.
Of course, nothing is perfect and nothing we do is without an impact on our environment, but we are trying to be better. There are so many myths about environmentally friendly products and practises that we needed to try and cut through the various bits of jargon to understand what it was we were buying. Here’s an explanation of our jargon and why we think it’s important…
100% Organic Cotton
Regular cotton is often farmed from genetically modified seeds which have a resistance to fight off crop-eating bugs. However, over time the resistance dwindles and more pesticides are needed . Even though pesticides are sprayed on land, often they can make their way into water sources. Marine animals become sick or die from this contaminated water which can lead to the collapse of entire ecosystems. Aside from the environment, pesticides are also dangerous for the human body and the residue of these chemicals on finished products can cause serious skin allergies. According to the World Health Organisation up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries.
Organic Cotton is grown without chemical pesticides, and ensures that waste water from the agricultural process is not contaminated with chemical residues, meaning that it can return to the water course. The production of cotton, and indeed most fabrics, is water intensive but organic protocols mean that waste water can be recycled.
Traditional printing with plastisol inks has its benefits as they produce bright colours and last for ages. Plastisol is made from PVC resin and can contain phthalates which are potentially harmful to human health. These inks require complex chemicals to clean the screens, with the waste fluids from this being difficult to dispose of. If released into water systems during the printing and curing process, this can result in cumulative harm to the environment.
Water-based inks are made by suspending a 100% biodegradable pigment into a water base and are free from harmful, toxic chemicals. This allows our printers to wash their equipment without the use of harmful solvents for cleaning and disposal. The quality and ease-of-use of water-based inks has improved dramatically over the years to allow us to bring you high quality, bright colours along with a soft hand feel and excellent wash fastness.
Polyester is a great fabric for garments as it is wrinkle-resistant, durable and has high colour retention. Synthetic polyester is made using a chemical reaction involving coal, petroleum, air and water, so by using more recycled polyester we reduce our dependance on these raw materials. Our hoodies contain a percentage of recycled polyester from plastic PET bottles, diverting them from landfill which helps to reduce soil contamination and is also a less energy-intensive process than producing virgin polyester.
This isn’t the end of our work. With each new launch we are continuously striving for new ways to become more environmentally friendly, something we believe is clearly reflected in our 2019 Summer Life Collection. Enjoy wearing your new garment in the knowledge it has been thoughtfully designed, manufactured and delivered in the most conservative way possible.