Yoga Democracy is committed to recycled fibers. Overwhelmingly our products are made with one of three fabrics made from recycled material. We are also determined to use suppliers who adhere to high standards of sustainability in water use and greenhouse gas emissions.
95% of what we produce is made from recycled fibers. All of our recycled polyester is dyed using a waterless transfer process right here in our own workshop.
We import our fabric from Italy. We do it because it’s the best we’ve found in the recycled space. We think eco is great but we think eco and just really good is even better. First up is our recycled polyester. Polyester gets a bad rap. It only deserves it some of the time. Standard polyester in fairness has high energy requirements to produce. 1 kilogram of virgin polyester produces around 6 kilograms of CO2. Our recycled polyester produces around half.
One of its other great features is its low water impact. Our recycled polyester has very low water and energy consumption in the dyeing/fixing and spinning process. Like 6 times less than standard polyester. And we don’t add to the water cost with our waterless dyeing method. That’s great because the textile industry is notoriously water hungry and it leaves behind a mess. According to the World Bank, approximately 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the textile industry. Cotton production alone accounts for 2.6% of annual global water usage. It takes the equivalent of two weeks of drinking water for one adult to dye a single t-shirt. Because polyester can withstand high temperatures better than nylon we can use a process called sublimation to transfer our artwork to the fabric without a single drop of water used in the process.
All the paper we use in our transfer process is recycled after use. Because obviously...
Nylon was off limits to us for some time. It is notoriously energy hungry. Then came technological innovation to reduce its impact to a level that satisfies us without compromising on quality. In fact, it may be the highest quality nylon we’ve seen in some time, standard or otherwise. The recycled nylon we use requires half the energy to produce versus standard nylon and has half the Greenhouse Warming Potential (GWP) which is a measurement of total greenhouse gas emissions weighted by their relative impact on ozone depletion.
And there is one other fact to consider. This nylon is helping to clean up the world’s oceans and landfills. Much of the material that goes into our recycled nylon comes from discarded fishing nets. Discarded fishing nets are a real and under-publicized problem. Left behind as worthless by industry, they do not biodegrade and float for generations in our oceans, killing sea life and causing a general mess. By using that material to produce a new, high quality product, there is a financial incentive to stop throwing away valuable nylon material. While the exact figure is hard pin down, one report jointly issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Environment Program (UNEP), estimated that 640,000 tons of abandoned nets are spread across the world’s oceans, representing 10% of ocean trash.
We put a lot of thought into where our fabric comes from and we also put a lot of thought into how it’s going to make our customers look and feel. Texture, shape retention and sweat wicking also play a big part in what we use. We think texture doesn’t get enough credit in sportswear. Just because we might sweat in it doesn’t mean we don’t want to feel great wearing it. We choose fabrics we want to touch and wear again and again.
We are always on the look-out for fabrics we think meet our standards of sustainability and quality. We think recycled fibers represent the best way to reduce the impact of textile production in the activewear space.