Our interpretation of a more sustainable t-shirt - they are made from a 50% recycled & 50% organic cotton blend, and are designed to be recycled - again, and again, and again.
Creating the most sustainable T-Shirt possible.
What is a sustainable T-shirt?
First off, let’s make it clear that a 100% sustainable t-shirt doesn’t exist. And that anyone claiming to produce a 100% sustainable t-shirt is, to put it bluntly, full of shit...
But that doesn’t discourage us from continuously working on reducing the impact that our t-shirts have on the environment. In our case, a more sustainable t-shirt means that it is made from 50% organic and 50% recycled cotton. It is produced in Europe, by certified factories whose sustainability values align with ours. It is also designed to be recycled, so that at the end of the T-shirt’s lifecycle we are able to keep our T-shirts out of the landfill by taking them back, shredding them into fibers, and turning them into new ones. This is what enables us to be zero waste, circular, and ultimately produce a more sustainable t-shirt. If you want to read more about our current process for how we create the most sustainable t-shirt possible, make sure to check out our process page.
How do you measure the impact of a sustainable T-shirt?
We are firm believers in transparency, especially when it comes to being able to back up our claims regarding the materials and processes that contribute to our sustainable t-shirt being.. well.. more sustainable.
For this reason we worked with True Cost Label in order to have a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) done for our sustainable t-shirt, as well as for each step of our supply chain involved in making them. The product is broken down at fiber level, looking at every single kilogram of material and type of fiber within. Based on this, the environmental and social impacts of the production of raw materials and the manufacturing of those materials into fabric is collected and used to calculate the total impact figures. From the spinning of yarns from fiber, to the weaving of yarns into fabric, the dyeing, the cutting, sewing, packaging and shipping and anything else imaginable within the typical supply chain of fashion products. Another important aspect of the LCA is transport. For every product True Cost Label investigates, the transportation route from the very first fiber to the brand’s store is tracked down and included in the impact calculation. This way, the total amount of kilometers a brand’s product has traveled is displayed in its True Costs. All in all, having this LCA conducted by a third party organisation gives us the confidence (as well as concrete data) to claim that we do in fact sell a more sustainable t-shirt when compared to the industry average. If you would like to see by how much, you can download our full LCA here.
What is a Circular T-shirt?
When we talk about making a more sustainable t-shirt, then circularity plays at the core of this process. A Circular T-shirt is a garment which has been designed in such a way that it can be recycled at the end of its lifecycle...
In order to achieve this, we make sure that we use mono materials to produce our T-shirts, which in our case is cotton. This doesn’t only apply to the fabric we use, which is a 50/50 blend of organic and recycled cotton, but also to the stitching yarn, rib, and labels. This way we can make sure that our Circular T-shirts can be recycled in the most efficient way possible. Once recycled, its base fibers are then blended with virgin organic cotton fibers and spun into yarn which is used to make new Circular T-shirts; again and again and again. The reason we don’t produce 100% recycled cotton T-shirts yet is because the cotton fibers are damaged during the mechanical recycling process, causing fully recycled garments to lose their durability. And since we believe that the most sustainable T-shirt is one that can be worn for as long as possible, we currently use a 50/50 blend of recycled and virgin organic cotton in order to strengthen the fabric, and in turn ensure that our Circular T-shirts can be worn for a very long time.
Are Full Circle T-shirts more sustainable than 100% Organic Cotton T-shirts?
A lot of brands nowadays are producing organic cotton t-shirts, which is great. But we believe organic cotton t-shirts should be the bare minimum when it comes to sustainable t-shirt production...
For this reason we are always looking for ways to reduce the impact that our clothes have on the environment and the people involved in producing them. You will see that we use a 50/50 blend of virgin organic and recycled cotton, for example. This is because re-using an existing resource, in this case recycled cotton, does not require virgin natural resources to be extracted or grown. So simply by using 50% recycled cotton, we reduce our T-shirt’s impact by 50% when compared to a 100% organic cotton t-shirt. But we don’t plan on stopping there, as producing a more sustainable t-shirt is a never ending process. We are currently working on changing the virgin cotton fiber used in our 50/50 cotton blend from organic cotton to regenerative cotton, as this holistic way of cotton production is even more sustainable when compared to organic cotton production practices.
So yes, our sustainable t-shirt is at least 50% more sustainable than organic cotton t-shirts...for now.