As designers and manufacturers, we believe that we have a responsibility to ensure our products are as sustainable as possible, from the initial concept to delivery on site. To act on this belief, we have developed processes and policies that guide our decision making and behaviour. Closing the loop is a move from the traditional design template—make, use, dispose—to a circular design template that looks at ways to feed the disposal stage into the creation of a new product. Our policies centre around the three R’s—reduce, reuse, and recycle—considering how we can minimise the production of waste, and repurpose what is left.
Our products contain as much recycled polyester fibre (PET) as possible before the performance of the product is compromised. For some products this number is around 80%, and for others it is closer to 45%. To ensure our claims are accurate, our sustainability team calculate the amount of recycled polyester used annually—a calculation that is independently verified under ISO 14021. We also make sure to use minimum recycled content claims, rather than ‘average’ or ‘up to’, to avoid misleading statements. Using recycled PET in our products repurposes plastic that would otherwise end up in a landfill, giving it a new life. Our products are designed to be recycled at the end of their life too, continuing the cycle of reuse.
Our manufacturing processes generate roughly 200,000 to 300,000 kg of waste in the form of trims and off-cuts annually. We aim to minimise waste trimmings as much as possible through smart design that optimises material use, however in our current position some waste is inevitable. To keep this waste out of landfill we recover as much of it as possible, with the goal to eventually establish all production lines as zero-waste. Recovery and shredding units are attached to our manufacturing lines to collect and reprocess the waste material and feed it back into the beginning of the line. As a result, 194,800 kg of recycled trimmings from our production lines are turned into new products, and 38,000 kg of waste trimmings are reused by other local manufacturers.
Sustainable policies and practices need to be put in place, from the production of raw material to deconstruction at the end of life, to build a circular economy. As a large manufacturer with a global footprint, we are dedicated to implementing sustainable processes to help close the loop. Our next steps include developing equipment and operations to further the recycling of our waste products, and establishing zero-waste production lines across our business. We hope that our actions inspire others in the industry to do the same.