Explore C2C Certified™

The following graphic allows you to click on the different stages of an apparel value chain. By clicking on different stages you can find best practices for those specific stages and how they link to the C2C CertifiedTM [1] criteria most relevant at that stage.

 

Credit: McDonough Innovation –
Aly Khalifa, Mingyu Liu, Jonathan Boffa
1

Sourcing raw materials

The quality of a textile is mostly determined by the quality of its raw material. It is essential to have an understanding of not only the detailed composition of this material, but also its source. Best practices include:

  • Prefer certified organic and sustainable sources
  • Include rapidly renewable or recycled content
  • Establish a traceability system of the raw material starting from the initial location
  • Promote transparency in the supply chain and incentivise continuous improvement
  • Prefer raw materials that have been assessed against the C2C Certified Material Health criteria
  • Prefer sources that are closer to the manufacturing site
  • Prefer third party social fairness certifications, e.g. Blue Angel or FairTrade
2

Extracting fibre

Water and energy demands for extracting cottons, polyesters, and other fibres can vary widely based on the process used. Visibility down the production line, and planning for what’s next, can be highly effective for optimising processes:

  • Be mindful of the various processes available and implement a detailed nomenclature
  • Implement a vertical information system to optimise the fibre for its ultimate end use
  • Use unbleached or chlorine-free processes when possible
  • Incorporate compatible recycled content
  • Keep sources pure by separating process lines
  • Optimise water and energy use from extrusion processes (for synthetic fibres)
  • Extrude in colour when possible (for synthetic fibres)

3

Spinning yarn

The construction of yarns from single fibres involves many process variables, including fibre content, yarn count, and spinning methods. Due to its high level of automation, these processes can run 24 hours a day. As a result, small efficiencies in operations can add up significantly. Best practices include:

  • Lightweighting of spindles
  • Using energy efficient motors in spinning ring frames
  • Using Variable Frequency Drives on pumps and fans
  • Optimising diameters of spinning rings to the yarn count
4

Constructing textiles

Textile constructions can often provide the same performance as mixing fibre types, which are avoided whenever possible from a C2C Certified perspective. The same cotton fibres that can be used to make heavy non-stretch fabric could alternatively be knit together to create a stretchy and breathable result and a nonwoven construction of it can produce padding. Best practices include:

  • Maintain pure material sources by selecting proper textile constructions to meet objectives
  • Avoid material hybrids
  • Choose mechanical treatments over chemical finishes when possible
  • Upgrade and optimize production equipment whenever possible
  • Maintain continuous production when possible to reduce energy usage
  • Use smart equipment to reduce downstream work, e.g. seamless knitting
5

Finishing textiles

Significant amounts of water and heat are used in the dyeing, finishing, rinsing and drying processes. Generally, darker colours and more intense treatments consume more resources than lighter shades and subtle finishes. Best practices include:

  • Select lighter colours when possible
  • Use of darker textile fibres when darker colours are desired
  • Use C2C Certified dyes
  • Optimise heating operations by insulating equipment and recovering waste heat
  • Reduce chemical use through automated dispensing systems
  • Consider cold-pad-batch dyeing systems
  • Optimise closed-loop water systems with methods like enzymatic digestion
6

Assembling textile products

The process of Cut, Make & Trim (CMT) in apparel is notoriously labour intensive. As large employers, an optimised CMT operation focuses on having a positive social impact on its community. CMT can also produce significant amounts of material waste of finished textile materials. Clever design, patternmaking, and marker layouts can have significant impacts on cost and usage:

  • Commit to having a positive social footprint in the community and define metrics to measure progress
  • Provide a healthy working environment that promotes occupational safety
  • Find the most productive wage systems to reward workers for good work
  • Maintain, upgrade and replace equipment to reduce energy and improve product quality
  • Use automated cutting systems to reduce textile waste
  • Recover textile waste and try to re-integrate it within the supply chain
  • Optimise product for reutilisation by avoiding incompatible materials from labels and other trims
7

Sales and Recapture

Although beyond the manufacturer’s scope, engaging the customer in the textile product creation story is essential to educating them about the best way to return apparel to the right metabolism at the end of its use cycle. Developing systems of recapturing textiles are essential to maintaining healthy biological or technical metabolisms. Best practices include:

  • Optimise distribution to reduce warehousing and transportation
  • Product marking of detailed content and source if possible
  • Provide transparency to the supply chain through websites and apps
  • Reduce packaging and pack-out systems
  • Explore ways to collect and sort recycled clothing
  • Explore reverse logistics for enabling the reutilisation stream
8

Reutilisation

Best practices can provide reductions in post-consumer waste associated with the fashion industry. These include:

  • Explore ways to repair recycled clothing
  • Explore how to incorporate recycled garments back into the garment nutrient stream
  • Mechanical and chemical recycling
  • Returning biological materials to soil

 

[1] Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a certification mark licensed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute