Sustainability in Workwear
An increasing number of businesses are demonstrating a strong commitment to sustainability. Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a widespread move from paper-based processes to digitised ways of working, and many have taken further action, such as implementing recycling policies within the workplace. Today, we’re seeing an even greater drive to facilitate change, with growing interest from businesses in sustainable, environmentally-friendly workwear and uniforms for their employees.
Choosing Sustainable Workwear
Knowing what to look for in sustainable workwear isn’t always easy. That’s because there is more to sustainability in workwear that just the use of eco-friendly materials. Businesses also need to take into account how the workwear is manufactured, how garments need to be washed and cared for, and even how they can be disposed of. In fact, the choice of textile is perhaps the least important factor of all to consider.
Because, when considered on its own, no widely available, commonly-used textile is particularly ‘good’ for transforming into workwear. Acrylic, for example, requires a very large amount of energy, while nylon is one of the worst materials for the production of greenhouse gasses. Even cotton, which is widely acknowledged as one of the most eco-friendly textiles around, uses very high quantities of water during manufacturing.
Textiles themselves aren’t important here… what’s important is durability and lifespan.
Durability and Lifespan
It is possible for the energy use, emissions, and water consumption to be offset by how a textile performs, and how long it’s able to remain suitable for the job at hand. It is much better, for example, to choose a garment that lasts for many years, thereby reducing demand for manufacture, than to choose a short-lived garment that needs to be replaced over and over again, going through the same manufacturing cycle.
At Wearwell, many of our garments are made from poly cotton blends, and that’s because these blends are remarkably durable and can withstand more washing than other materials, such as 100% cotton. Polyester and cotton blends are also known for their quick drying characteristics, reducing the energy needed to dry such items.
And to make sustainability in workwear even more of a complex area of discussion, it’s not all about the garments themselves; it’s also about the people who make them. In partnering with companies who are taking sustainability measures beyond their own manufacturing processes, businesses can help to support global change. At Wearwell, we utilise low energy lighting across our facility, we recycle plastics, and we work alongside local organisations to optimise the use of fabric waste. And on the rare occasions we need to use paper, we only use PEFC paper, from a sustainable source.
Make a Change
If every business made the shift to adopting sustainable workwear, we could reduce the amount of microplastic fibres in the ocean, minimise air and water pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and really drive a future of change. Together, we can do it.