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TALA sustainability guide

TALA is a new brand of athleisure and activewear that holds sustainability at its core. Garments are produced and hand finished in Portugal where a number of steps have been taken to ensure every step of the process is as sustainable as possible. Partnering with a world-leading facility has ensured that the garments not only fulfil the functionality demanded by the customer but also lessen the footprint by spinning the required yarn and fibres on site (3).

Some context:

The annual footprint of a household’s newly bought clothing, along with the washing and cleaning of its clothes, is estimated to be equivalent to the:

  • carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles
  • water needed to fill over 1,000 bathtubs
  • weight of over 100 pairs of jeans

According to the WRAP report (5).

The difference:

Water usage

Water usage is important because the irrigation methods generally used to feed cotton farms diverts water away from waterways and unmanaged land, causing drought conditions and soil salinisation (4). Even grown organically, cotton farms can still be extremely water intensive (1), so by using recycled cotton and yarn, TALA is saving huge amounts of water.

By using recycled cotton in the hoodies and joggers, TALA saves 4817 litres of water per tonne of recycled cotton used compared to cotton grown.

Similarly, TALA seamless garments contain 92% Polyamide, created using a fibre called Q-NOVA. This is made from recycled materials and cuts down water usage by 90% compared to other polyamide yard (1). 

Recycling

With the number of products we consume today, and with more than half of fast fashion items thrown out after less than a year (6), recycling clothes and fabrics has never been more important. Disposed of clothes are thrown into landfill, where the U.S. EPA estimated textile waste to occupy nearly 5% of valuable landfill space (2). However, it is estimated that up to 95% of landfilled textiles are actually recyclable (2).

TALA seamless garments are made from 92% recycled raw materials, collected pre-consumer i.e. directly from factories (1). If the materials were not recycled they would have otherwise been disposed of in landfill. The hoodies and joggers, made with Recovertex yarn, use upcycled products (2), preventing clothes and textiles reaching landfill. In 2018 Recover saved over 7,272,394 m2 of landfill space and 2.9 million kg of textile waste (2). By using this product TALA is actively contributing to the recovery and recycling of textile waste before they reach landfill.

Plastic usage

Plastic usage has been on the radar for sustainability longer than almost anything else, and it is widely understood that plastic usage needs to decline. A large proportion of the problem is RPET water bottles, which are 100% recyclable, but around 70% of PET bottles are not recycled (2), ending up in landfills or oceans.

The hoodies and joggers are created using a combination of recycled cotton and recycled RPET water bottles, actively preventing non-biodegradable products from contributing to landfill waste or water contamination. Often ‘sustainable’ brands still use plastic packaging and labels, but TALA products are created differently. Neck labels for all products are made from 100% upcycled Nylon and bags are 100% recycled plastic, which would otherwise have been disposed of. 

Chemicals

The production system used in the creation of TALA products is very conscious of the use of chemicals. Conventional dye processing is a particularly high-volume, high-impact source of water pollution and CO2 emissions, and uses a large variety of toxic chemicals (2), highlighting the importance of the use of Recovertex in TALA hoodies and joggers.

Q-NOVA, the material from which the seamless garments are made, utilises the MCS process - a locally-based mechanical regeneration system which does not involve using chemical materials which would detract from the sustainability of the end product (1). The hoodies and joggers are created using Recovertex yarn, which saved over 3,213 tones of toxic chemicals in 2018 compared with conventional cotton yarn (2). No dye or chemicals are used in the processing of Recover cotton fibre (2).

Emissions


The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world (5), due to the increased prevalence of fast fashion and consumption of cheap, disposable clothes. Emissions of CO2, a type of greenhouse gas, contribute to climate change, and the reduction of GHG emissions is key in reducing the impact of fashion on the environment.

Q-NOVA reduces CO2 eq. emissions by 80% compared to polyamide yarn coming from a virgin (new) polymer (1). Similarly, Recovertex, the material from which the hoodies and joggers are made greatly reduces CO2 emissions by using recycled cotton rather than cotton specifically grown for the garments (2). Per tonne of recycled cotton used, 233KG of CO2 emissions are avoided.

Where are the products being made and what from? How do we know this is better for the planet?

Our factories have achieved numerous certifications, including testing for harmful substances, Global Recycled Standard and Organic 100 and blended content standard (3).

This factory uses Q-NOVA, which is certified and traced by the Global Recycle Standard system, the European ECOLABEL EU system and by the OEKO-TEX STD 100 CLASS I system, both of which effectively measure the impact of the textiles on the environment. The conclusion is that “Q-NOVA slashes CO2 eq. emissions by 80% and cuts down on litres of water per kg of product by 90% as compared to a textured polyamide yarn coming from a virgin polymer” (1).

The hoodies and joggers are made using Recovertex yarn, which ‘drives the fashion industry closer to zero waste’ (2). The impact of this fabric is measured using the Higgs Index, which enables brands and manufacturers to measure and score the environmental impact of materials used in creating textile products and compare products to the rest of the industry in order to make better choices. This index shows that Recover makes the lowest-impact cotton yarns in the global market, which are then used in TALA products (2).

Our factory group has been audited by Sedex which checks the whole business on four pillars: Labour, Health & Safety, Environment and Business ethics. This covers fabrics and the well-being of the workforce. For more information please visit the site - https://www.sedexglobal.com

References

[1] http://www.fulgar.com/eng/insights/recycled-nylon-q-nova-by-fulgar

[2] https://www.recovertex.com/sustainability/ *
*These statements have been calculated through LCA work, verified by Universitat de València and UNESCO.
Environmental data courtesy of: Textile Exchange, NRDC, EPA, UNESCO and Universitat de València.

[3] http://www.clothius.pt

[4] Environmental Impacts of Water Use in Global Crop Production: Hotspots and Trade-Offs with Land Use

Stephan Pfister et al., Environmental Science & Technology 2011 45 (13), 5761-5768

[5] WRAP report - http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/valuing-our-clothes-the-cost-of-uk-fashion_WRAP.pdf

[6] McKinsey report - https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/style-thats-sustainable-a-new-fast-fashion-formula “As a result, nearly three-fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.”