2010 October Organic clothing and Tshirt collection

Organic clothing

The new 2010 collection from October Textiles Ltd will not only see the introduction of new garments and fresh photography, the new look book, features the first in a series of both Organic and Sustainable products.

The ORGANIC COTTON label by October is a stock collection of the highest quality blank garments produced in 100% pure organically grown cotton. It is certified by the Control Union World Group, to the Organic Exchange 100 guidelines and the Skal International standards for sustainable textile production, which verify conformity with organic regulations of Europe, Japan and the United States. The cotton is cultivated in the Aegean region, wholly without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, in “Living Soil” that has been free from any toxic substances for at least 3 years and enriched by organic compost and other organic matter. This means that the soil and water supply are cleaner, which in turn protects the local population and wildlife. The resulting cotton fiber is processed into fabric without the use of harmful chemicals or bleach.

October Textiles Ltd offers both undyed and dyed organic cotton items, and to achieve organic certification only azo-free dyes that meet the requirements of the Global Organic Standard are used in the dyeing process.

The SUSTAINABLE label centers round naturally sustainable BAMBOO which is gaining popularity in the fashion world due to its light, almost translucent yarn that has a natural quality that feels like silk, but with the practical advantage of being machine-washable.

This natural fiber is hypoallergenic, absorbent, and is naturally anti-bacterial so will not hold odor. It also is the most sustainable of the natural fibers, reaching a mature height of 75 feet in just 45 to 60 days. And, because of its natural antibacterial properties, it needs no pesticides.

It regenerates naturally through an extensive root system that sends out an average of four to six new shoots per year and can be harvested repeatedly.

Finally, when your bamboo garment finishes its useful life, it can return to nourish the earth, as it is 100% biodegradable.

“We are simply following in the footsteps of other forward thinking companies that are trying to lessen the impact they have on the environment. We’re not here to preach or convert – just to do what we can to conduct our business responsibly and encourage others in our market to do the same”.

Visit our main site: www.october.co.uk

Organic Tote Bags – EarthPositive

This is the latest addition to the EarthPositive® product range: organic and low carbon, screen printable, Tote Bags.

earthpositive1

There is a growing demand for ethically and environmentally credible bags, as more and more retailers, brands, corporate and promotional users are no longer content with using cheap cotton carriers as an alternative to plastic bags.

The rising levels of awareness mean the users of such products demand the same high values of the bags as they do of their cotton clothing.

Corporate and retail brands wish to communicate their ethical messages using an equally ethical communication medium.

The EarthPositive® Organic Shopper Tote (code EP70) is a plain weave, fine gauge canvas bag in undyed natural cotton, in the standard shopper tote dimensions (38x42cm) with long shoulder straps. The smooth fabric provides an ideal surface for screen-printing. This is the ultimate ‘sustainable’ shopper bag.

The EarthPositive® Organic Fashion Tote (code EP75) is a premium weight, twill weave cotton bag, with quality stitching detail, produced in a range of seven vibrant colours. This product is designed to meet the demand for a bag as a ‘fashion accessory with a conscience’ in a market place where the vast majority of similar products are produced in cheap quality raw fabrics of unknown origin. Again this bag is perfect for screen printing.

View our main website: www.october.co.uk
T shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

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HOW GREEN IS MY INK?

I’m a bloke, and as such when it comes to taking out the recycling I’m unable to make several sensible journeys. Firstly I collect all the tins and cereal boxes, and build an eight foot structure that resembles the Manhattan skyline.

Then after some preparatory blowing I attempt what I believe in weightlifting circles is called the clean and jerk. Propelling myself at speed and fueled by foul language I then career towards the bins. There can be only one outcome, and within seconds I’m wearing a pair of cornflake box slip-ons and fully drizzled in tuna oil.

Marvellous – another day smelling like I’ve spent the night in Captain Birdseye’s bunk. And so it’ll come as no surprise to you to hear that although well intentioned, I’m not the world’s most successful eco warrior. To such an extent that I swore that the only article on green issues I would ever write would be the boys book of bogey flicking……and yet here I am, about to join Gordon Ramsay in discussing carbon footprints, (although unlike Rammers, I don’t have a restaurant at Heathrow).

Nowadays you’re supposed to know all about your biodegradables, your biomass and bio fuels: the carbon offset, the carbon tax, and as for carbon trading well that’s all pretty damn straightforward. Then all we need to do is have a quick look at our micro generation and our sustainable development, and it’s home in time for a bag of mung beans and a glass of goat wee. I’ve got energy saving light bulbs dangling from the ceiling like sci-fi haemorrhoids; I’ve sold the guzzler and travel to work by donkey: and all my printers are in a home made bum sling, piped up to a methane converter that runs two autos and a dryer….my work is done…well, not quite, and there’s a reason – I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of eco friendly inks, and before I go on, I ain’t no chemist but…..

You’ve purchased your planet saving T-shirt, a subject I shall leave to the learned Professor Charles of the Continental University, and then you arrive at your printer full of good intentions:

You want water based ink. And why wouldn’t you, anything with water in the title has got to be good right? In some ways yes, but has a printer ever told you that to cure water based inks we run our dryers at less than half the speed, I guess using double the gas? Does that mean our carbon footprint has increased? I presume it does.

And while we’re in our cloud of noxious water based vapour at the Joker’s lair, I’d better confess that no matter how good we think we are, when we use water based inks we spend more time colour matching, have more screens break down and generally faff about like grannies in a factory outlet. It can take us up to twice as long to run a job…….and so we use more gas…. and the sun sets over another melting igloo.

And when we’re not sloshing about in the water based we’re whipping up a discharge cocktail for all your lovely dark garments. It really is brilliant stuff – when you print it you can’t see anything and then at temperature in the dryer, abracadabra, the reactive dye is removed leaving a bright and texture free print….rub it on your face and go mmmmmmm, after you’ve waited a few minutes for the formaldehyde to evaporate of course. Ah good old formaldehyde, fairly harmless and great for embalming bodies, but it’s a skin irritant so printers beware.

And when our ink maestros have finished with the above, they pour the waste inks into air tight containers and rocket them into outer space where they can do no harm. Under no circumstances are water based inks washed onto the water table – if you had a blue cup of tea this morning, don’t blame your local T-shirt printer.

But water based is better than solvent based isn’t it – we’ll I guess so. Solvent based inks have PVC in them, which sounds unnatural to my un-scientific mind. And if that really bothers us I expect we’ll be insisting on the re-introduction of walnut dash boards on our motors and ripping out our PVC windows….and then it’ll get a bit draughty, we’ll put up the heating, and I think I just saw a Toucan in my back garden.

And if you can say it, don’t forget to ask your local printer about phthalates – there are 6 of them I believe, one of which appears in some solvent based inks. As far as I know they’re banned for use with children’s clothing – I’ve got kids and I don’t want any of them growing a third testicle, so right behind that one. Having said that phthalates are a plastic softener, so guess what your cling film is full of – quick, to the gents and inspect your wedding vegetables!

This is all serious stuff though, and my flippancy is only an unconvincing mask for my confusion on the subject.

The ink companies, of course! They will know the answers, and so I arranged to meet an ink guru in a lay-by on the A416.

’The water based is drying quickly in the screen’ I said…

‘But not if you spray it with a water mister from Wilco’s’ he said…

’Dmitri’…

’Vladimir’…

And we shook hands.

Well it wasn’t quite like that, but a document did fall into my pocket, genuinely, and at the risk of sending you into a coma may I quote,

‘With more than 10,000 raw materials, the majority being preparations and mixtures of substances, with long and complex supply chains, it is not feasible for us to obtain guarantees of registration and pre-registration for every single substance at each and every stage of the supply chain all the way back to crude oil or mineral or vegetable feedstock. To attempt to do so would imply a significant resource and added cost that would be unacceptable to our customers’….when I click my fingers you will regain consciousness.

Basically, I think this means that the idea of tracing what’s in stuff and where it’s from is just a touch complex, costly and at the moment unlikely. And on top of all that,

‘In many cases full compositional information is considered to be confidential business information’ So, I presume that means ‘If we did know what was in it, we may not want to tell you’.

Sounds a bit Bond villain perhaps, but is this just the harsh reality of where we’re at today, and is it more honest to admit this than just join in with the greenwash?

And the ink companies are hardly being helped by some of the certifying organisations – 50 grand to licence one product for 18 months! That just isn’t going to happen unless you want to start paying 100 quid for your printed T-shirts. So who’s really pushing the pedal and sending us into the piranha tank?

‘Organic’, as a chemist called Malcolm recently said, ‘is a vague and contradictory term. In it’s current context it is directed at produce manufactured without chemicals, in which case it can hardly be applied to chemicals. But peculiarly, most chemicals we use are organic, as they are carbon based’ ……at which point he stepped through my wardrobe and returned to Narnia.

None of this is a reason to stop trying; I live next to a river and would rather avoid the UK introduction of malaria. So by all means give the Soil Association a call (although as far as I’m aware they won’t accredit your inks). Buy yourself a Prius and plant a tree, it can only help, but if you want a final answer on inks all I can say is, we don’t print with spring water and mango juice, so perhaps the jury is still out.

That said, if you need me for anything I’ll be by the bins wearing a yoghurt pot.

Paul Stephenson
paul@october.co.uk

http://www.october.co.uk
Tshirt printing, screen printing, embroidery
To be remarkable

Organic Clothing Labels – October Textiles Ltd

Having made the commitment to use organic garments and water based inks, the next obvious question is ‘What about my labels, are they organic too?’

Well now the answer can be ‘Yes’. Obviously they have to be printed as a woven label uses man made fibres, but add an organic swing ticket, and the garment is well presented while ticking the right ecological boxes – long live the polar bears.

www.october.co.uk
t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery


A-Z of Ethical terms

With ethical issues dominating the headlines, we’re constantly being bombarded with cryptic acronyms that are difficult to decipher and words like ‘sustainable’, ‘green’ and ‘eco’ are banded around on a regular basis.

To try and diffuse this ethical minefield, Epona’s Juliet Bacon has broken down some of the more common terms into an easy to use A-Z guide and looked at why you might, or might not, choose to go for some of the eco options available

A

Azo free dyes. The manufacture and use of synthetic dyes are two of the world’s most polluting industries and azo dyes make up around 70% of all dyes used to colour fabric. There are serious concerns about the safety of azos. Most azos are water-soluble and there is the risk that carcinogenic chemicals from these dyes can be absorbed by the body through skin contact. Dye house workers have been know to suffer from asthma, allergies, birth defects and reproductive damage. Alongside the human cost, considerable environmental damage is caused by chemicals from these dyes. GOTS prohibits the use of all amine releasing azo dyes and many companies are choosing to ban azos themselves.

B

Banned substances lists cut out or cut down on harmful chemicals used to manufacture clothes. According to Greenpeace, among the most hazardous substances commonly used in the textile sector are lead, nickel, chromium IV, aryl amines, phthalates and formaldehyde. Marks & Spencer is the first major retailer to set its own standards that ban or restrict chemicals on the products it sells and has an Environmental Code of Practice for dyeing and finishing. Manufactures in the promotional industry have the opportunity to lead the way by introducing their own banned substances list.

Bamboo is an innovative ‘eco-textile’. It grows naturally and is sustainable, thriving without pesticides or fertilizers, and reproduces rapidly across large areas where it is known to improve soil quality in degraded and eroded areas of land. It is not really seen as a replacement for cotton, more as an alternative fabric that is particularly suitable for high end garments, due to its silky feel, and sportswear because it has a natural antibacterial quality which means the fabric stays around two degrees cooler in hot weather. On top of this, the garment will biodegrade, so it won’t clog up landfills once its product lifecycle is complete.

Biodegradable plastics degrade through naturally occurring micro organisms, such as bacteria, but there is no requirement for leaving “no toxic residue”. If you want a more environmentally friendly product, it is better to opt for a compostable plastic. Compostable plastics biodegrade and then disintegrate within a set period of time, without producing any toxic material and the compost left can support plant life.

Bluesign standard is a business-controlled environmental scheme to remove any substances that are potentially hazardous to human health or the environment from the entire textile supply chain. The standard takes into account chemicals from the ‘restricted substance list’, water and air emissions, resource consumption and workplace conditions.

C

Codes of Conduct. Most manufacturers now agree they have a responsibility to help improve the labour conditions of their suppliers. Many have developed codes of conduct or lists of labour standards they say they are meeting in their workplaces. The reality behind these codes however, is often still quite grim. Wages are too low to live on, 80-hour working weeks are common, and the health and safety of the workers, the majority of whom are women, is constantly being undermined. Workers have no security of employment, women are discriminated against and harassed, sometimes sexually. Workers are often not allowed to form trade unions. Sometimes this is because the right to organise is not recognised in the zone or country where they work. However, more often obstacles are put up specifically to prevent workers from exercising their right to collective bargaining. Some companies opt to sign up to one of the many multi-stakeholder ethical trading initiatives that oversee the implementation of specific codes of conduct based on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) conventions. Some of the better known initiatives include:

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

This is the largest UK-based initiative and is partially supported by the UK government. The main idea of the ETI is for companies to work in collaboration with NGOs and trade unions to learn the best way to implement codes. The ETI has its own code which is used as the basis for pilot projects. Corporate members must participate in ETI activities and provide the ETI secretariat with annual reports on their progress with respect to the code implementation.

Fair Labour Association (FLA)

The FLA grew out of the Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP), an initiative of US President Bill Clinton, established to address labour standards of clothing sold to US-based colleges and universities. Approximately 1,100 suppliers are taking part in the FLA’s licensee program. The FLA is governed by a board of companies, universities and NGO’s, but trade union organisations pulled out after disputes over code content. The FLA accredits independent monitors that verify compliance through factory inspections and filing reports that are accessible to the public. Where non-compliance is identified, participating companies are required to implement a remediation plan.

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) aims to promote humane labour conditions in the garment industry. It is an initiative of business associations in the garment sector, trade unions, and NGOs. FWF was founded in The Netherlands, but is currently working hard to join similar initiatives in Europe.

Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent labour rights monitoring organisation, conducting investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who make apparel sold to the United States.

But does this really work? While it is positive that manufacturers are starting to sign up to these initiatives, it is hard to tell the extent companies are practicing the principles they’ve signed up to behind closed doors. Primark joined the ETI in May 2006. In December that year, War on Want published a report on workers at factories in Bangladesh that supply to ETI members Primark, Tesco and ASDA/George. These workers were typically paid 5p an hour and worked 80 hours a week. Sam Maher of Labour behind the Label says: “None of the companies can guarantee that all parts of their supply chain implement the ETI Base Code. The main issue is that there is no transparency – the reviews, criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the ETI are all confidential, so as a pressure group it is hard to know what to try to hold them to. However, when there is an urgent issue involving a specific violation, it’s much easier to get the companies involved to sit around a table and discuss it.”

Multi stakeholder initiatives are clearly a good start in encouraging companies to address problems with their supply chain, but the success of these initiatives is heavily dependent upon the genuine commitment of the company to implement and uphold significant changes.

Carbon Reduction refers to finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your company. If your organisation spends more that £50K per year on energy, the Carbon Trust will send out agents free of charge to suggest ways of reducing the amount of carbon you produce. The aim is to become as energy efficient as possible by using renewable energy, shipping rather than flying goods and cutting down on energy intensive processes.

Carbon Neutral: Once you have done this and worked out how much carbon you are still producing, you can become carbon ‘neutral’ by offsetting this amount. One way of doing this is to work with an organisation that funds projects to prevent other companies from producing carbon. To give an example, you might help a school in Africa to put in a wind powered generator rather than a diesel one. By preventing carbon from being produced, you are balancing out the carbon your company produces.

D

E

Eco-label is a European voAndyary certification scheme, represented by a flower logo, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of products, taking a ‘from the cradle to the grave’ approach. Products and processes are independently tested according to ecological criteria that includes: reducing the amount of toxic residues found in fibres, water pollution in fibre processing and the use of heavy metals and formaldehyde.

Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is a campaigning group that makes a direct link between the need for environmental security and the defence of basic human rights. They are responsible for the ‘Pick your cotton carefully’ campaign that encourages manufacturers to state where they buy their cotton from; White Gold, which highlights the plight of cotton farmers in Uzbekistan; and reporting on child labour throughout the world.

Environmentally Friendly? It takes around 8,000 chemicals to turn raw materials into clothing. Many of these cause irreversible damage to people and the environment. The bleaching, dyeing, sizing and finishing of textiles all result in large quantities of effluent, often containing highly toxic heavy metals that pollute the soil and water and damage aquatic life. Each year, the global textile industry discharges 40-50,000 tons of dye into rivers and streams. Add to that the carbon emissions and impact of growing non-organic cotton, which uses petrochemical fertilisers and leads to reduced soil fertility, soil erosion, water pollution and reduced biodiversity. Then there’s the high-energy manufacturing process and the clothes miles in transporting the fibre/textiles/garments around the world. Once bought, how an item is cared for and disposed of also has an impact on the environment. Manufacturers of promotional clothing have started to take these environmental factors into consideration by producing clothing that is both kind to the environment and to the garment workers.

Continues next month

For more information contact: Juliet@eponaclothing.com or go to the Epona website: http://www.eponaclothing.com/

Published: 01 May, 2008 Printwear and Promotion magazine

www.october.co.uk
t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

Save money, save the world

For a limited period our Earth Positive brands are available at the same prices as the regular streetwear collection. The benefits are obvious, but just to remind you…..

“EarthPositive has a single aim, which is to prove that it is possible to produce (cotton) clothing without any detrimental effects to the Earth’s soil or water, its inhabitants, whether they be animals, plants, or people, and to its climate.”

Organic and ethical standards are the starting point in the EarthPositive supply chain, that eliminates the emissions of green-house gases as much as is presently possible, through ‘low emission’ organic farming, and by achieving Carbon Neutrality.

We’ll have a go if you will.

Regards

Paul Stephenson
Director
October Textiles Limited
www.october.co.uk/organic
t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

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