UPCYCLE

up - cy - cle

verb

reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. 

Upcycling is a philosophy and a design principle that includes 'recycling' but goes beyond this system by taking a 'whole system' approach to the vast flow of resources and waste through human society.

Redesigns the current, one-way linear industrial system into a circular economy.

 

Modeled on nature's successful strategies​.

Restorative and regenerative by design.

Aims to keep materials and components at their highest form of use and value at all time.

Preserves and enhances natural resources, optimises their yield and minimizes system risks by managing renewable sources and flows. 

Operates under a closed-loop system, a continuous positive design and development cycle.

The Industry

The apparel and textile industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil.

 

The textile industry is one of the top 3 water wasting industries, and the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet.

8,500 liters of water are needed to produce a pair of jeans and 2,600 to produce one single t-shirt.

150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year.

26 billion lbs. of textiles are trashed each year

and only 15% of these are recovered for recycling.

A quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles.

Unsafe use of agricultural chemicals has severe health impacts on workers in the field and on ecosystems that receive excess doses that runoff from farms.

Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. Taking more than 200 years to decompose.

Circularity

Upcycling and closed-loop systems eliminate the concept of waste. 

Reduces consumption and ensures endless reuse, repair and recycling. 

 

For every kilogram of upcycled textile waste, we save up to 20,000 liters of water.

For every ton of upcycled textiles, 20 tons of CO2 are prevented from entering the atmosphere.

Upcycling is essential to minimize environmental impact and decrease the amount of waste that goes into landfills. 

Eliminates the use of chemicals and dyes, as well as significant water and energy usage reduction.

A powerful entry point into a critique of excessive consumption, waste, corporate irresponsibility and the fundamental causes of environmental destruction. 

Existing materials are given more value, not less.

A circular economy works effectively at every scale.

EDUCATE​:  Sustainable textiles are just as current and progressive as any other conventional textiles- the difference is the conscious design behind their creation. We value the textile industry as a powerful vehicle for human empowerment and sustainable development worldwide. Beautiful and premium quality textiles should not cost the earth. We are all part of the problem, which means we must all take part in this shift towards a sustainable industry.

CHALLENGE​:  We have challenged ourselves to question our textile culture. We aim to shift to new aesthetics providing a convenient and eco-conscious choice to reduce environmental degradation and social irresponsibility. By removing hazardous chemicals from our production, we will free ourselves from the global chain of toxic pollution and waste of our natural resources. Creating a safe and clean environment for all involved and impacted by the production of textiles and apparel. 

INSPIRE:  We have been inspired by the textile world's ability to connect values, hoping our inspiration stimulates buyers and clients to design, live, create and shop purposefully. Demand and respond to both social & environmental transparency. We must remember that what we do to the environment, ultimately we do to ourselves. 

CREATE:  Waste is a design flaw. Therefore, we have chosen to spend our time and effort into re-designing mechanical processes to create premium quality upcycled yarn, fabrics, garments and accessories. Our end goal is not just about solving the negative; it's about creating a positive.

 

 

 

Sources:

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (McDonough & Braungart, 2008)

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability-Designing for Abundance ((McDonough & Braungart, 2013)

Zero Waste International Alliance Organization

Ellen Macarthur Foundation

World Wildlife Fund

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© 2019 by Grupo Iris Textiles, S.A.