Skip to content

Leading the Way in Sustainable Branded Apparel: Part II

April 25, 2024

Click here to read Part I: The Traceability and Ethics Driving Our Recycling Focus

Part II: Our Innovative Recycled Materials and Closed-Loop Recycling Capabilities

While recycled materials have become more prevalent, true closed-loop recycling remains an ambitious undertaking that only some have accomplished. At Image Solutions, we're proud to be among the pioneers driving this circular economy approach and constantly pushing boundaries to integrate recycled materials into our product offerings. Part Two of our blog series delves deeper into our innovative recycled material and closed-loop recycling capabilities within the branded apparel industry.

Innovation at The Core

Our journey toward offering sustainable products isn't just about meeting existing standards; it's about setting new ones for the apparel industry. We understand that actual progress requires thinking beyond the conventional, so we're committed to exploring innovative solutions every step of the way. Innovation is at the core of our approach, from researching new materials to collaborating with cutting-edge partners.

"To make sustainable product lines a reality requires custom development, extensive testing, and building new partnerships," says Annmarie, Major Account Manager at Image Solutions. "But we are committed to continually improving and enhancing our recycled material capabilities."

As previously mentioned, a cornerstone of our sustainability initiatives is integrating recycled materials into select product offerings. Unlike traditional manufacturing processes that rely solely on virgin materials, we're harnessing the power of recycled resources to create high-quality branded apparel. In 2023, Image Solutions produced over 400,000 units of recycled 100% cotton t-shirts. We're constantly exploring new avenues to minimize waste and maximize efficiency.

Unique Recycled and Closed-Loop Offerings

Closed-loop recycling represents the future of sustainable apparel, and we're proud to be at the forefront of this movement. Unlike traditional recycling methods, this revolutionary process involves taking materials from discarded garments and transforming them into new apparel, creating a continuous cycle of reuse.

"Closed-loop recycling is still in its infancy stages, but Image Solutions is paving the way through our innovative mill partnerships," explains Li-Ann, Development and Production Specialist at Image Solutions. "Being at the forefront allows us to have full traceability and transparency into the recycled materials we use."

Our closed-loop recycling process is made possible through strategic collaborations with specialized mills and factories that can separate and recreate new yarn from reclaimed cotton apparel. This enables us to successfully integrate 100% recycled cotton into select branded t-shirts, giving products a second life versus being downcycled or contributing to landfill waste – a rarity in the industry.

This closed-loop capability drastically reduces ozone depletion, fossil fuel use, and water consumption compared to traditional cotton production. By producing recycled cotton yarns, we can reach 99% less water consumption, 61% less energy consumption, and 34% less ozone depletion. 10,000 L of water is needed to grow 1.2kg of cotton fiber and produce 1kg of cotton yarn.

Our vertically integrated approach allows us to back the recycled cotton yarn with polyester to enhance durability and longevity. As we continue to evolve in development, a trial phase of blending recycled yarn with conventional cotton is in progress. We hope to have favorable results that will allow us to offer additional product categories.

While we're proud of the strides we've made, we recognize that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. That's why we're dedicated to continuous improvement, constantly exploring ways to enhance our processes and minimize our environmental footprint.

As we look to the future, we're excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. From pioneering new recycling methods to expanding our sustainable product offerings, we're committed to staying ahead of the curve and driving positive change in the industry. Together, we can redefine the future of apparel and create a more sustainable world for generations.

Click here to read the final part of our blog series, where we explore the challenges we've worked to overcome and our vision for a more sustainable future.