Welcome one, welcome all to our new series 'Not So Trash Talk' where we have a wholesome chat around a topic we hold dear to our hearts here at Thrills: make quality clothing and accessories while reducing our impact on our planet and inspire an achievable path for change. As we've grown as a company our understanding of the fashion industry and our social responsibility as a fashion label has evolved, which is why we're taking steps to improve our day-to-day operations and lessen the imprint we leave. It's a long road, and we've by no means got everything perfect, but we're committed to reducing the impact we leave on the environment, and why not bring you along for the journey. Our in-house Environmental Enthusiast, Mike, will be taking you through a different topic and giving you a front seat view of what we're working on here at Thrills. Strap yourselves in!
Just to clarify, we're not attempting to preach about anything - we simply want to share our ideas and let you know what we are doing to help out our valuable environment. To recycle or even up-cycle anything is a fantastic way to reduce the amount of raw material manufactured as well as energy, water use, and emissions.
Reduce Re-use Recycle sounds like a cliche but if businesses and all of us at home do our very best then things can change. Let’s not wait for politicians to do something!
Our garment bags
For all Thrills garments, we need to protect each item so they can travel well and get delivered into a store without damage or waste. Sadly this means many of our items need to be individually wrapped. There are so many new products that have claims about being bio-degradable but, considering our garments can be bagged for up to two years, most of the options a have very long breakdown time, meaning if they go from your green bin to the tip they actually pollute the council composting and emit too much methane during a very long period.
The most practical solution for us at the moment is to use a Re-Cycled PE Bag which is made from many waste products that are up-cycled into a useable bag. Many local councils were offering soft plastic re-cycling until recently. Hopefully, the process will restart soon, though you can take control and deliver them to your local Woolworths across Australia as they have a soft plastics recycling bin for you to bring in soft plastics that can’t be recycled at home. They partner with REDcycle and Replas who recycle and reuse into furniture and equipment.
For large bulk orders with big customers, we bulk bag which reduces poly bag use by 95%. The Thrills Recycled PE Garment Bag is an environmentally responsible way to deliver our products. They cost us a bit more but we are happy to pay to reduce waste. Please note that our “Heaps Good Packages" that we deliver online orders with are bio-degradable in your home compost and have been produced from sustainable plants and non-toxic compostable resin - we love these!
RECYCLED CARD PACKAGING
You may have noticed that all of our garment hangtags and accessory boxes and wrappers are all made using Recycled Cardboard. This is where we all come in. All the card and paper waste that we put in our yellow bin at home is sent directly to paper mills and recycled into the reusable materials. This is the same for all Thrills locations, staff, and our friends in China and India who do exactly the same. This literally saves trees every day. Remember to try and avoid packaging that has coatings like reusable coffee cups and loads of food packaging as it doesn't recycle. “Keep a mug with you at all times if you buy coffee” = easy wins!
All the paper we buy for our printers is 100% recycled. This one is too easy - it costs a little more $$ but is well worth it! At Thrills HQ, we've all been schooled by our friend Grace from Wear No Evil on how to buy office products that are as sustainable as possible.
Grace also had loads of simple ways to reduce our paper use and waste around the office:
- We tick "print two sides" whenever possible if you need to print - that's a 50% reduction in paper use!
- To communicate digitally whenever possible rather than printing
- We have switched most of our accounts to buy from a digital platform rather than needing to print huge catalogues for everyone - a huge reduction of paper use
- Our warehouse has a dedicated paper and cardboard waste system
- We have clearly marked bins inside our head office so that “Land Fill”, “Recycling”, and “Soft Plastics” are well separated and sent in the right direction
- All our food waste goes in green bags and we take turns in taking it home to get to a green waste bin (no green bins in our industrial estate sadly) but easily fixed with a small effort
- Take a plate or cup when you go to buy lunch - if we all do this together so much packaging is saved!
- Use a reusable container with a sealed lid for lunch from home - it’s so easy to live without plastic wrap - that shit’s from the ’70s!
RECYCLED COAT HANGERS
We have developed a new coat hanger that is made from recycled card and we dream of this replacing all plastic hangers that go into some of our large department stores. We are currently trialling 200 of these in our own stores to see if they perform well and also hope to use them in all our locations in the future. Stay tuned!
All of our new tote bags are made out of 100% Recycled Cotton - it’s a great story! Our amazing accessory supplier told us that he used to have all their cutting table waste ripped up to sell for stuffing teddy bears, but that was all being done with cheap synthetics now.
Together we developed a way to take all cotton cutting table waste and have it re-carded into a beautiful hardy recycled canvas that looks really cool when dyed and printed - we have been selling these for ages now and probably saved thousands of meters of new manufactured fabric - these are the sort of wins we want to achieve. We are now trying to develop more items using recycled cutting table waste.
Another exciting project that was up our sleeves for a while was starting to produce our swimwear fabric out of recycled material. Our newest and most exciting women’s swim fabric recycled polyester fibre is made using a combination of waste plastic bottles, reduced back to usable PET chips, and also the recycling of old fabric and garments. As the fibre is normally derived from fossil fuels, this is a big reduction in both pollution and use of natural resources.
Another newly introduced recylced fibre is Recycled Nylon which uses 27% less natural petroleum to produce than non-recycled fabric and emits 28% less greenhouse gasses, plus it up-cycles discarded fishing nets from the ocean, reducing pollution and promoting recycling of waste consumer goods. Our goal is to move all of our women’s swimwear to Recycled Fabrics by 2022.
That's all for now, folks. Stay tuned for more to come on sustainable fabrications, energy consumption & co.