Monday, 10 December 2012
Image source: Ecouterre
Last month Greenpeace released a report entitled Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch Up which exposed numerous global fashion brands for using toxic chemicals during clothing production.
A selection of brands were chosen, clothing items brought and sent to labs for testing to identify any restricted substances. Brands highlighted to be selling clothing with high concentrations of NPEs (hormone distruptive), and/or with the presence of phthalates (hormone disruptive/carcinogenic), amines or azo dyes (can be carcinogenic) included Mango, C&A, M&S and Zara.
I do not agree with such chemicals being used during fibre/fabric/garment production, however I came across a rather interesting article in Ecotextile this afternoon: Toxic Chemicals Found in Greenpeace T-Shirts. Unfortunately a registration is required to read the Ecotextile article, but to sum up it appears that Greenpeace cannot practice what they preach.
Phthalates have been discovered in Greenpeace t-shirts and APE’s in Greenpeace headgear. The article states that Greenpeace has removed the textile products from sale along with suspending other textile merchandise sales. It appears that Greenpeace are none the wiser about what is within their textile products, much like the rest of the industry. The organisation has committed to ‘only be able to sell textiles again when the industry can produce toxic-free fashion.’
Greenpeace are encouraging customers to keep their wears as garment durability is as much a part of their strategy:
The wearing of our textile products do not pose a health risk. The best way to be environmentally friendly is to make it last as long as possible, so that it stays in your wardrobe and not end up in landfill.
I have tried searching the Greenpeace website for such words, but I cannot find this.
It is interesting how Greenpeace are willing to condemn fashion brands for slip-ups in the incredibly complex global textile supply chain. Will the report be re-issued with their own textile products highlighted within?
Also what will become of the rejected stock they no longer plan to sell. Within the Greenpeace statement they make it clear they do not believe in land filling textile products that have not fulfilled their life. I will be very interested to find out what their solution is with this stock.
In light of the report, Zara has committed to go 'Toxic-Free' and M&S are currently working with Greenpeace to develop new chemical commitments.
Saturday, 10 November 2012
The visit was a swift one; a day rail trip from London to Antwerp involving an insanely early rise at 5am and an arrival home at 9pm. Oddly I felt refreshed and excited at both 5am and 9pm.
In case you are not aware of Ecover, let me enlighten you: the company was founded over 30 years ago in Belgium with an aim to produce washing powder without phosphates (linked to eutrophication), instead opting for plant based ingredients to provide the cleaning power. Since those humble beginnings in 1980 Ecover is still committed to using plant based ingredients along with no additional chemicals and now produces over 35 cleaning products in 2 European factories to 40 countries.
Not only does Ecover aim to reduce the environmental impact of detergents they even built the world’s first eco factory. The factory is made from a pine wood structure, uses no heating or air conditioning and boasts a 6000m2 sedum covered roof (a grass lawn simply grew too quickly!).
It was this factory that I visited and boy was I impressed. At present I have not visited many factories, but the ones I have include a mill in Leeds and that floor tile factory in Coventry my Father used to work in. Both of these factories possessed a rather grim, dark appearance along with a certain musty and dusty smell I only associated with factories. Not now, the Ecover factory simply smelt of…..nothing and the pine structure with roof windows allowed natural light to flood in giving the impression of almost being outside (or at least not in a factory). The spongy, sedum roof was certainly a change to the usual factory along with the insect homes encouraging biodiversity.
I was given an insight into the R&D department receiving a tour of the labs where an in-house fermenter brews the surfactants for the detergents, new developments are tried and tested, and experiments are undertaken to test the oxygen level/toxicity of the waste water along with competitor like for like performance research.
Efficiency and knowledge are key to the Ecover operation, which became more evident while chatting with the R&D team who were completely ‘on the button’ and taught me more than a thing or two about washing and detergents (of which I immediately passed onto my Mother upon my return home).
I have always encouraged others to try Ecover for themselves ever since my eczema prone brother brought it home when I was about 14. However I can hand on heart promote the products from this first hand experience and seeing the results against their competitors. I know people struggle to change their cleaning habits, especially when it comes to the change in fragrance (Ecover do not use synthetic chemical fragrances), but please go on give it a go.
For more information, please visit the Ecover website.
For more Ecover customer focused fun, visit their online magazine The Splash.
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
You may remember my previous post for 2011 and my disappointment as I was unable to attend (my boss’ decision). Well I am happy to announce that this year I have registered and will be attending with another colleague. See you there.
Monday, 15 October 2012
Click on the below image link to take you to the article on the magazine’s website.
Saturday, 6 October 2012
I've completed my latest knitted creation: a zebra. It does not boast to be sustainable in any way (acrylic yarn stuffed with polyester wadding), however it does have the ability to bring a smile to a face. Or in the case of my brother, a light chuckle.
Saturday, 29 September 2012
Last Friday's of the month at the V&A are a party. I had a truely enjoyable, cultural and different (well at least it started differently) Friday night yesterday evening.
On offer was sensational knitwear inspired by amour (Juliana Sissons), glowing neon installations (Chris Bracey) and to bring out the child in us all: billowing cloud caves (Jason Hackenwerth). Make sure your there next month.
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Alternatively you could hem on the inside: overlock edge, fold edge up (by at least 1.5cm) and lockstitch.
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Saturday, 19 May 2012
Monitoring and Evaluation
If someone thought I went this year, I can only hope I’ll get an invite next year. It may just happen, you never know.