In the UK, we throw away billions of plastic bottles every year. Here are some facts about plastic that may shock you:
- 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK, that’s about 15 million bottles per day.
- Most families throw away about 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled.
- The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing by about 4% each year.
- Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
At Sundried, our Eco Core range of activewear is made from 100% recycled plastic. But how is it made?
Stage 1: Recycled bottles are taken to a recycling centre where they are shredded so that any liquid is removed. They are then boxed up to be shipped to stage 2.
Stage 2: The bottles are sorted into clear and coloured plastic, stickers, and bottle lids. They are put in a bath where the lids float to the top and can be cleared. Next, it's bath number two in chemicals which help to remove the stickers.
Stage 3: After two chemical baths, the plastic bottles have now become a pile of soggy, clear plastic shreds. So it’s time to dry it off. The plastic spends around 10 hours in what is effectively a slow cooker, rotating until it's dry and ready for the next step in its journey to become activewear.
Stage 4: Next, the mixture is sent through a rotating screw where it is heated to 270 degrees Celsius which melts the plastic, and it is then dropped into large strings which are collected into a container below.
Stage 5: There are now large strings of thread, but it’s not strong enough for activewear just yet. It is reheated and stretched to create stronger, binding fibres.
Stage 6: So what is done with these new stronger fibres? They are torn apart again. Once they are torn apart, you’re left with a fluffy raw substance.
Stage 7: The fluff is sent off to another factory to be made into cloth. A machine lays the fibres into a rough cloth. This rough cloth is then spun into fibre and collected on giant bobbins.
Stage 8: The thread is now ready to be transformed into activewear.So, what was once rubbish is now sweat-wicking, functional, and stylish activewear! It helps to conserve and protect the planet and contributes to combating climate change.
Ethical clothing is sweeping the nation and there is an ever-growing demand for more sustainable ways to produce fabric. With a rise in ‘fast fashion’ over the last few years, the mounting production of cheap clothing has meant that important values have been lost and not only does the environment suffer, but so too do the workers.
Sundried are proud to support ethical, sustainable activewear production with our range of apparel made from coffee. You’ve probably heard of fabric made from recycled water bottles, but coffee is the latest development in responsible sourcing.
First developed by a Taiwanese company in 2008, the use of coffee grounds to make clothes has been on the rise ever since. The fabric produced has a number of benefits, especially for activewear and gym clothing. It is fast-drying, sweat-wicking, and de-odorising, all benefits which are hugely important for performance clothing. Not only that, it does not require the high-temperature treatment that other materials require which reduces CO2 emissions leading to a greener planet.
How do recycled coffee grounds become clothing?
The fabric is made from the waste product that is created when making coffee. The used coffee grounds usually just end up in a landfill, so this recycling process is truly ethical and responsible. The coffee grounds are processed in a low-temperature, high-pressured environment to make them into yarn which is then woven into naturally high-tech fabric.
The clothing that is produced from used coffee grounds has fantastic benefits, including odour control, sweat-wicking, and it dries over 200 times faster than cotton. It is also naturally anti-bacterial.
Responsibly-sourced materials are the future and ethical brands like Sundried are leading the way to a brighter time ahead for our planet. Did you know that most polyester blends are made from the chemical reaction that occurs between coal and petroleum? Hardly what you'd want to be wearing to the gym when you think about it! The manufacture of fitness clothing from recycled materials has a significantly lower CO2 emission and therefore is kinder to the environment.
Sundried believe in keeping our customers educated about the life-cycle of our clothing, so you can make your purchases responsibly.
What Is Ethical Activewear?
The fashion and sportswear industries see a lot of what we call 'fast fashion'. This is where large quantities of clothing are produced at a rapid rate and sold very cheaply. When this happens, the people making the clothing are often not treated or paid fairly and the way the clothing is made is not environmentally friendly.
Our ethical activewear can be traced right back to where it was made and at Sundried, we guarantee that all of our employees are treated fairly, from the supply chain to the Sundried HQ office.
Not only this, every purchase made at Sundried gives a donation to charity Water For Kids. You can read more about that here.
The Sundried ethos starts at the very beginning with our materials. We select the finest quality technical fabrics which are produced in Portugal and Italy. All our material choices are made with the mitigation of harmful substances, pollution and other environmental hazards associated with raw material extraction in mind.
Our latest collection is made from 100% recycled materials, including plastic bottles and coffee grounds. These raw materials are sustainable and by recycling them into clothing, we are helping to reduce the global plastic pollution problem.
We believe you cannot be a health and fitness brand without promoting health throughout your company, from production to purpose. The fashion industry is the 2nd largest pollutant, widely known for terrible and dangerous working conditions and tragic disasters such as the collapse of The Rena Plaza factory which stole the lives of 1134 victims.
Sundried’s factories are based in Portugal and Italy and our staff are paid fairly and respected. We take pride in our partnership with European production which allows us to bring our products to you with a low carbon footprint. Larger production runs allow for lower per unit costs, but we know that producing cheaply means someone further down the line will pay the cost.
We ensure our factory conditions are safe, clean and have everything our staff need.
Our production will remain in Portugal or within the European Union for all further production as the European proximity allows us to control the working conditions of employees and make sure that European quality standards are maintained during the entire process. All our staff are paid fair wages, within EU guidelines.
Sundried Low Emissions
Sundried produce our activewear in partnership with The Low Carbon Innovation fund, to ensure we have as little environmental impact as possible.
The Low Carbon Innovation Fund has strict policies and regulations which we must adhere to.
We minimise our carbon footprint throughout the full lifecycle of Sundried apparel through:
- Local production in the UK and Europe (vs. the rest of the industry which is mainly produced in the Far East).
- Using materials that use little carbon in their manufacture, little energy in their maintenance and are recyclable.
- Carbon offsetting where a zero/low carbon choice isn’t currently viable
- Advising our products are “washed cool and sun dried” to minimise our footprint after purchase.
Our vision is to enable people to feel good inside and out before and after exercise through premium, exciting and ethical technical activewear which is stylish, smart and made with consciousness.