Though waste has always been an issue in manufacturing, attention on what to do with it—or how to lessen it—has never been greater than it is now, with investments being poured into closing the loop. Artistic Fabric Mills (AFM) is doing its part with Earthmatic, the first-ever Cradle to Cradle Gold certified denim fabric made with recycled mill waste.
The Earthmatic collection includes four fabrics varying in weight from 9.5 oz. to 12.5 oz., and come in several constructions including comfort stretch, rigid and an option for shirting. Each fabric is a blend of organic cotton and 5 percent recycled mill waste and is dyed and finished using AFM’s Double Zero Technology, which eliminates waste water in both stages. The fabric range is also produced using 50 percent renewable energy.
“The intention to use recycled cotton waste, sourced and processed at our own mill, was very clear from the start,” said AFM director Haya Iqbal Ahmed. “However, this elongated the certification process which is extremely rigorous and it took us almost a year to get the certification in January 2020.”
Recycling is a major focal point for AFM. Nearly all of the company’s articles have recycled cotton content from its recycling plant. Along with importing discarded jeans and shredding them into fiber to make new fabrics, AFM collects an average of more than 88,000 lbs. of textile waste per month from its own production, which is cycled back into its manufacturing process.
“While this helps treat the massive waste problem of the apparel retail industry, it makes you question how the supply chain is handling its own waste, which is often times quite toxic in nature,” Ahmed said.
Brands and consumers, however, are taking note of efforts to close to the loop. Most clients are aware of the C2C certification and what it means, Admed said. “However, I think understanding of how rigorous and detailed the certification process is and exactly what the assessment categories encompass, is not widely known,” she added.
AFM is taking steps to educate through product guides, and just as importantly, make Earthmatic accessible.
“AFM is a sustainable denim manufacturer and all our developments are mindful of our customer’s price points,” she said. “The focus is always on creating fabrics that are both functional and financially feasible for the brands that we work with. We believe that this is the only way the industry will be able to shift towards a cleaner supply chain, and our Earthmatic C2C certified range is no different.”