Putting the environment first
When we read that 10% of worldwide CO2 comes from clothing, that 60% of clothes are made from or with plastic and that a dump truck of textiles waste goes to landfill or incineration every second, we knew we wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. That's why we built the first circular economy for fashion. Our products are made from GOTS certified organic materials, using renewable energy and designed to come back to be remanufactured when they're worn out.
It's the advanced technology in our supply chain that makes this possible. Out in business-as-usual land, clothes are mass produced speculatively, producing massive amounts of waste: 40% of clothing is never worn. By printing in real time we only make what people need when they need it, and ship directly to the customer saving transport costs and lowering emissions. Those savings are spent on making organic cotton farming and renewables affordable. Robotics does the same thing, making the packing process 30% more efficient so the 10X increased cost of using sustainable packaging made from plants, not plastic is covered.
The first working circular supply chain is a systemic approach to a total redesign of the way the clothing industry works. Changing the industry to become a circular economy changes the outcome. It's why we are here.
Natural and Organic
Our products are printed to order and made from organic cotton using renewable energy. Each item is designed to be sent back when worn out, and new products are made from the material that's recovered.
Organic cotton farming methods are better for producers and the ecosystem around the farms. Instead of more toxic pesticides and fertilizer's, co-planting and insect traps are used along with the special ingredient - cow poo. It encourages biodiversity and leads to the extra soft feel of our organic cotton clothing.
Less inputs also means less water, but even organic cotton is still a thirsty crop. So where you grow it matters. The fields that grow the organic cotton for our products are in the North of India, where the monsoons fill reservoirs that supply almost all the water needed.
Teemill digital printed products are certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. Meaning that the products are tested for the use of harmful substances. The use of technology has enabled this transformation. By printing the products in real-time to order, we only make what you need, when you need it.
Similarly, software runs the reverse logistics that enables products to be recovered and remade when worn out. From this integrated and digitized supply chain, efficiencies are created and the cost savings can be reinvested in the facilities, working conditions and team. Consequently in factories on the Isle of Wight, in India and in Europe, the environment is clean, light, modern and positive as would be expected from any 21st century manufacturer.
Water clean enough to drink
Wastewater from dye house effluent is a major source of pollution in the clothing industry. Where our products are dyed, the water is recovered, cleaned and recirculated. After settling and skimming, the water is filtered using reverse osmosis and distillation. This is basically sucking up water through really fine sand over and over, then boiling it.
Salt is added back in so that the dye adheres and all the cruddy mulchy stuff left over is dried out and used for road markings. About 95% of the water is recirculated and recovered.
At the end, the water coming out of the filters and going back round to be reused again is crystal clear, literally clean enough to drink. Once it has been cleaned, it is then used at the input for the next batch. It is a closed loop system.
Only what you need, and when you need it
Technology is developed at the factories in our supply chain to improve all aspects of t-shirt printing, making it possible for us to deliver profitability, affordability and quality whilst keeping the environment in mind. This includes working on lower impact inks, software, machinery and automation technologies. It means products can be made in real-time. At the factory, products are only made after they have been ordered - there is no waste.
The efficiency and productivity gains from tech balance the cost of more sustainable materials. Tech is how our organic cotton t-shirts are made affordable.
Clean, renewable energy is a vital tool to reduce the worst effects of climate change. Throughout our supply chain, renewable energy is used. We are proud to be a carbon-neutral. Our manufacturing operations run on solar power and, in India, the factory owns two wind farms and a 150kw PV array. Renewable energy is affordable, reliable and something we are committed to using.
Within the factory, machine-to-machine communications technology allows the team to dynamically turn equipment on and off only when it is needed, balancing our manufacturing demand with on site generation.
By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This is bad. Instead of plastic packaging, we use a rip and splash-proof mailer bag made out of paper. Big orders come in cardboard boxes, with paper-based tape.
Plants, not plastic
Reuse the packaging or colour it in
Recycled material stickers
Made to Last
These products are made to last and we encourage everyone to care for them properly and use them for as long as possible. They're printed to order using water based inks one at a time and in real time, so there’s no waste from over-stocked designs and sizes. What is made is only what people need, when they need it.
When they are no longer wearable, each product is designed to be sent back to us and the material reprocessed, re-spun and made into new products. This is how we're taking sustainable print on demand to the next level, so anyone can join the circular fashion movement. You can find instructions on how to do this inside every product on the wash are label. Scan it and get a Freepost code (if you're in the UK) to send the item back and get store credit in return.
Let's keep natural materials flowing, and end waste together.