Innovators closing the loop
The textiles industry is unfortunately one of the largest polluters in the world, accounting for 10% of global CO2 emissions and 20% of global wastewater production. In addition to these, 85% of the global supply of textiles in any given year ends up wasted in landfill.
This does not have to be the case, however, and businesses within the textile and professional clothing industries are beginning to roll out real solutions to reduce the industry’s environmental impact and create green circular systems. The PCIAW® is proud to represent members like Meryl Fabrics® who are putting the circular economy at the heart of their business and making it work for them.
Meryl Fabrics®: Manufacturing textiles with circular foundations
The Meryl Fabrics® approach
As an environmentally conscious company, Meryl Fabrics® understand the necessity for clothing to last longer, so the company considers fabric durability right in the early design stages. This is particularly important for professional clothing, as businesses need to know their garments can cope with the daily stresses of prolonged operation. This obviously has an impact on cost, as well as the lifecycle of items.
Unlike other businesses which are in the process of becoming more circular, Meryl Fabrics® was built with circularity and green principles from its conception. This enabled the business to tackle the problems surrounding the industry, not just in the circular economy, but also in water usage, deforestation, land devastation, microfiber pollution and the harsh chemicals and solvents used in traditional dyeing processes.
Founded on principles of good practice
The difference with Meryl Fabrics® is the company never had to adapt to achieve good practice; they built all their processes, materials, and end products to be circular from the beginning. Once the company had its products right environmentally, it adopted all of the best industry practices to achieve as high a quality as possible, using multiple independent tests to gather data.
Meryl’s solution relies on retrieving all of the material from users at end-of-life in order to remanufacture it. This means the cost of disposal is neutralised, as well as the dangers of materials ending up in places where they shouldn’t, which is a huge problem for the textile industry. Meryl Fabrics’® ultimate goal for their business and the environment is to keep the circle intact, as they depend on the circular loop.
Pathfinding for sustainable futures
The only barrier Meryl has encountered in the industry is a lack of education and understanding of what can be achieved. Many circular solutions only account for one iteration, recreating and reusing just once. While this is a circle of sorts, it lacks consideration for the onward journey of materials. With a Meryl fabric, however, the materials come back for remanufacture every time, thus reducing the overall amount of virgin polymer being created.
Meryl Fabrics® offer the easiest route into circularity from a textiles manufacturer perspective, improving processes by removing stages and offering a single route for supply and disposal.
Everyone needs to be more aware of the issues surrounding workwear after the product has served its use. While using recycled materials is fantastic, we need to ask: what happens after that? Meryl Fabrics® can take away that headache for brands by offering a closed-loop process.
Procurement teams should start looking beyond the unit cost and look at the full lifecycle and balance the cost over a period of time, which makes things easier for the procurement team and better for the environment as a whole.