The three-part series title is taken from the classic 1973 Hindi film, which in English translates as; Food, Clothing and Shelter. The bare necessities of life. Every week for the past year Sreepriya Sreedharan from Circular Business Podcast and Piyush Dhawan from the Circular Collective discuss examples of Circular Economy from across the Globe and analyse whether this would make sense in an emerging economy context. In this three-part series, we have collated examples from our Weekly Gupshup. This week we talk about five examples that are addressing Textiles or Kapda (in Hindi).
Beyond Retro, Spinnova, , Zalando
India’s denim production capacity is around 1.1 billion meters per annum. The global denim market size was valued at USD 64.62 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.81% from 2019 to 2025. Growing target population across the globe and rise in consumer disposable income levels, especially in emerging countries like India and China, are projected to be among the key growth-driving factors for the market. jeans are one of the most polluting items in fashion. Using 7.000 litres of water and nasty chemicals. With over 200.000 million jeans being sold yearly, the impact of recycling jeans and using organic cotton can be huge.
The circular production model by MUD Jeans is simply beautiful!! Alongside purchasing the jeans in a conventional way, users can choose to lease MUD Jeans for €7.50 / month. After one year, the user has three options. They can swap their jeans for a new pair, and continue leasing for another year; keep the jeans and wear them as long as they like; or end the relationship by returning the jeans to MUD and receiving a voucher for a new purchase. When customers no longer wear their jeans, they can send them back to MUD. Consumers receive a discount on a new pair when they hand in an old pair. Non-MUD jeans are also accepted, the only condition being that the jeans must be at least 96% cotton.
When old (MUD) jeans are sent back to the firm, a small quality check is carried out: if they are still in good condition, they are given a second life through MUD's vintage program. If they are irreparably worn out or from another brand, jeans are mechanically recycled at MUD's recycling factory.
78% water and 61% CO2-eq per jeans are saved compared to industry standards. This has allowed MUD to save 300 million litres of water and to avoid the emission of 700,000 kilos of CO2 in the last 3 years.
Listen to our podcast on Mud Jeans below
Babies and toddlers outgrow their clothes quickly because of the fast rate of growth they are going through during the first years of their lives. Restocking a baby’s wardrobe every other month is unpractical not only moneywise but also when sustainability is concerned. Many parents have a system of hand-me-downs, not just between siblings but even between families. However, this concept is becoming more and more commercial. Companies such as VIGGA, a maternity and children's wear brand, design for a circular economy.
It follows a circular subscription service model. Customers receive a bundle of sustainable designer clothes, which are later exchanged for larger sizes as the need grows. A bag usually contains between 15 and 20 pieces. The returned clothes are checked for flaws, treated and repackaged. According to their website, VIGGA resends the clothes to at least five families. Chemicals are not used in the manufacturing process and the clothes are washed in eco-label laundries.
A family can save up to $2,100 in the first year of parenting by subscribing to VIGGA instead of buying new baby clothes they found that by subscribing a family would use 90% lower consumption of water, 72% lower consumption of cotton and 53% less CO2 emissions. With sustainability as part of their award-winning business model, Vigga clothes are GOTS certified, made from Patagonia and the laundry service they use is eco-labelled.
By adopting such services, a family can collectively save on their annual carbon footprint, save money & time and best of all save a good wardrobe space for better use.
Listen to our podcast on Vigga below
Weekly Gupshup with the Circular Collective These are excerpts from weekly podcast series where Sreepriya and Piyush bring to you amazing examples from around the globe in the circular economy, where India and our citizens can take inspiration from
Did you know that over ninety per cent of all of the carpet made today is made up of synthetic fibre? That is nylon, polypropylene or polyester. Now nylon, polypropylene & polyester are raw materials derived from the oil & gas industry. So you can understand how crucial it is for the world to make this supply chain circular because Oil & Gas is non-renewable industry. The good news is that an individual & visionary by the name of Ray C. Anderson, founder and former chairman of Interface Inc. led his company and people on a path to Mission Zero® with a pledge to reduce their negative impact on the environment in the year 1994. Yes, more than 2 decades ago. He was moved after he read a book by Paul Hawkins. That book affected him so deeply that he went to the office the next day and challenged his senior executives to make their business sustainable! If Ray Anderson can do that in 1995 then our generation has no right to make excuses towards climate action today.
Since then Interface carpets have been redesigning and reshaping their processes, their thinking and their whole business to try and achieve sustainability by 2020. Their machine that they like to call “Cool Green” separates the reclaimed materials from used carpets → turns them into pellets→ then homogenized powdered form which then is mixed with Bitumen compounds and recycled limestone to turn it into new carpets! Interface carpets have radically changed entire business practices- influenced the industry by reducing dependency on petrochemicals and minimizing their carbon footprint. Their Cool green technology has evolved over the years and now forms a part of all their factories and business processes around the globe. Their carpets are made from recycled/renewed repurposed yarns, which are manufactured using renewable sources of energy. Just imagine how beautiful and efficient the world will be when you have such well thought & well-made carpet floorings across corporate spaces, co-working spaces, hotels, schools and colleges and hospitals!
They also lease you carpets-as-a-service which totally ups their game in this industry. Since 1996, they’ve reduced the embodied carbon footprint of their carpet tile product by 74% by changing how they design and make their products through the use of recycled materials, dematerialization and improved manufacturing efficiencies. Then, through their Carbon Neutral Floors programme, they compensate for what they still can't avoid with carbon offsets from renewable energy, fuel switching and reforestation projects.
Listen to our podcast on Interface below
The fashion industry is one of the most resource-intensive industries which is built on complex linear supplier relationships. By now we all are well aware of how this resulted in massive toxic pollution, unethical labour practices and spiralling waste, with the rise of textile materials hurtling towards the end of life at an ever-increasing rate. But there is hope, and yes we have something crucial to learn from this Netherlands based brand- Dutch aWEARness whose products are designed for reincarnation. They are performance-based.
Established in 2012, Dutch aWEARness creates clothes from 100 per cent recyclable polyester — called Returnity® In the year 2010, Rien Otto (founder of Dutch aWEARness) met cradle-to-cradle pioneer Michael Braungart and got inspired by their discussion, which set him to investigate how the cradle-to-cradle concept could be applied to the textiles industry. He wanted to change the world & make new materials.
How do they do it? To put it simply-
They make returning clothing that is worn by customers and take it back after use.
The garment is then reprocessed into raw material.
A factory makes new raw fibres out of the raw material.
These fibers are then transported to the yarn Factory
Now In this factory the fibers are sprayed into yarn
After completing this process various yarns are developed and ready for use.
The yarns are later sent to a weaving Factory where these yarns are taken into production.
Here in the weaving mill the new clothing fabrics are made the fabrics are then sent to the manufacturer
The manufacturer uses the fabrics to make new garments
This new garment is made from this circular fabric material and ready to be worn again by the customer
Listen to our podcast on Dutch Awearness below
Fast fashion enables companies to mass market, it enables manufacturers to mass-produce and provokes consumers to buy latest trends for cheap. Tell me, have you fallen into this trap already? I guess most of us have. That’s why circular business models have emerged as a key area of focus. Unlike the linear model, circular business models transform how fashion brands and retailers create value; it presents an opportunity to fulfill consumer demands, drive innovation and simultaneously reduce environmental impact.
Bank & Vogue (BVG Group) which is the largest trader of second-hand goods in North America, operates one of the biggest commercial remanufacturing facilities in the World. In 2002, they started the Beyond Retro which is Europe’s largest and best-known vintage retail chain. As the name suggests their specialty is vintage clothing, and Beyond Retro has carved out a niche as a vintage brand and label in the fashion industry. They aims to deliver a superior shopping experience to its clientele & their clothing collection is sourced globally and hand-picked by a team of vintage fashion experts. Not only is Beyond Retro recycling product and saving textile waste from landfill, they are indeed making a conscientious effort to streamline every part of their business, from packaging to shipping, to minimise their footprint on the environment.
TIME magazine has named Renewcell's fiber Circulose® as one of the best innovations of 2020: BVH will be supplying Renewcell 300,000 metric tons of post-consumer denim a year for this project. H&M and Levi's are already using this fiber to produce new products, proving that innovations like these will shape the future of the fashion industry. Approximately 7,000 Tropical shirts were diverted from landfill and transformed into a vibrant array of one-one-a-kind Converse Chuck 70’s, continuing on the iconic footwear brand’s legacy of enabling creative expression. Considering the perceived risk of cannibalisation, operational complexity of new models and uncertainty on the financial viability it’s fascinating to see the involvement of an established brand like Bank & Vogue in implementing circular business models.
Listen to our podcast on Beyond Retro below
About the Author
Piyush Dhawan (LinkedIn) is the co-founder of the Circular Collective was awarded the prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship last year to work on the topic of Circular Economy. He has for the past decade been working with Bilaterals and Multilaterals on a range of topics including business and biodiversity, Vision 2030 SDGs and Future of Indian Cities.
Sreepriya Sridharan (LinkedIn) She is your host & dost @Circular Business Podcast, a series that gives you a unique perspective on the circular economy from the Indian context. Inspired by the Friday’s For Future movement, in August 2020, amidst the pandemic uncertainties, she chose to be an environmentally conscious citizen and has dedicated her life to making this planet a better place every day. Circular economy wooed her and resonated with her so much that her deep dive into research around this topic made her want to share its possibilities with other seekers who are on a similar journey, in a way creating a bridge to make their leap faster. She is your go-to person for creating a convincing pitch for your eco-conscious business. Storytelling, finding solutions and building a network of an impact-driven community is her arsenal for change.