We all share this planet, and we all want to do our part to make it a better place to live! This page will give you a breakdown of the various ways we try to ensure as many of our products are as "green" as possible. Currently, roughly 60-70% of our products are eco-friendly, we would like this to reach 100% in the future! This page will also answer question you may have regarding our FLA accredited products.
Q: MY GARMENT CONTAINS ORGANIC FABRICS. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
We utilize various fabrics in our apparel. Some of these fabrics contain various amounts of Certified Organic Cotton. Those of you who know what to look for might be asking, "Certified Organic? I've heard that before! Prove it, jerks!" Well, please refrain from calling us jerks. However, you are correct in being cautious.
"Organic" has become something of a buzz-word these days. Savvy consumers know to look for a few certifications that have become the standard for Organic textiles. All of our Organic products are Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Certified. The Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate, and end products at all stages of production. They test for harmful substances such as: illegal substances, legally regulated substances, known harmful chemicals, as well as certain healthcare parameters. The requirements for certification of textile products according to Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 is that all components of an item have to comply with the required criteria without exception - that means in addition to the outer material, also sewing threads, linings, prints, etc. In their entirety, these requirements clearly exceed existing national legislation, so you can feel pretty damn good about wearing our products and supporting the farmers, weavers and sewers who produce these garments in a fully organic way! For additional information, check out Oeko-Tex.com!
Q: MY GARMENT CONTAINS RECYCLED P.E.T. POLYESTER. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT!?!
Great question! Recycled P.E.T. polyester, or Polyethylene Terephthalate, is a type of synthetic resin used in everything from clothing fibers (about 60% of its use) to liquids and foods. Currently, there is a process that takes post-consumer plastics from used water-bottles, and turns them into this form of polyester fiber. Why is this considered a green option or practice? There are two main reason for this. First, the energy to turn water-bottles into fiber is estimated to be between 33-53% LESS than the energy needed to create "virgin" fibers. This means that by using this recycled polyester, factories are using up to 53% less coal based electricity. On average, there are about 70 million barrels of "virgin" PET created every year. If we can continue to lower that number and replace those barrels with recycled PET, imagine the amount of energy that we could save!
The second reason this is a "green" option is because it reduces landfill waste. This seems an obvious reason, but let's think about this. There are currently an estimated 2 million tons of discarded bottles in US landfills alone. Roughly 80% of bottles become waste and only 20% are currently recycled. Those bottles that are taken to land-fills take 1,000 years to bio-degrade, and if incinerated they release toxic fumes. Imagine the change we can make on this planet if we start turning these bottles into textiles instead of waste.
Q: I SEE THAT THIS GARMENT IS FLA CERTIFIED. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
FLA stands for the Fair Labor Association. The Fair Labor Association is a non-profit collaborative effort of universities, civil society organizations, and businesses. Its mission is to promote adherence to international and national labor laws. If you see this on a garment you have purchased, it means that the garments originating factory was accredited by the FLA using internal and third party audits throughout the year.
The factories which manufacture many of our products are both FLA accredited as well as WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) accredited and often adhere to a strict internal code of conduct as well. For more information please visit FairLabor.org and WrapCompliance.org.
Full disclosure requires us to accept that there is currently very little accountability on an international level to force corporations and their factories to continue to improve workers' conditions and rights.For example, many accrediting bodies were started or are overseen by the very companies they are certifying.Due to this obvious conflict of interest, there is debate regarding the viability and usefulness of these groups (see flawatch.usas.org for example). Due this these unfortunate facts we are constantly reviewing our options and will change our sourcing and manufacturing whenever we feel we can improve the conditions and rights of the workers at these factories. However, we feel it is still worth using accredited factories in an attempt to promote the positive business practices they represent and are, hopefully, upholding.
Q: THAT'S ALL WELL-AND-GOOD, BUT WHAT ELSE ARE YOU DOING TO STAY ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS?
Man, we can't catch a break with you, huh? Thats OK, we like your enthusiasm! We are doing many things to make our products and our business practices more eco-friendly. Examples of this include utilizing new materials, like bamboo, in our branding labels on clothing. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable plants on the earth, and there are now many bamboo thread options that we take advantage of. We are also using papers with as much post-consumer recycled material as possible for our hang-tags and various other branding materials. We are using water-based inks on our shirts as much as we can. Water-based inks are non-toxic, or less toxic depending on the type, and if disposed of properly can be much more eco-friendly than standard Plastisol inks.
Do you have an idea about how Concrete Native can do more for the earth or the people on it? Please let us know with the feedback form below!