Securing The Future.

Making Earth Day Meaningful

Raising awareness of the environmental, ethical and security issues and how we can make a difference.

To mark Earth Day 2024 on Monday, 22 April, we are highlighting the impact that fast fashion has on the environment and working conditions for many in the textile and garment industry. We’ll also explore how your company can not only be more sustainable, but more secure also.

Clothing Landfill e1713776329501The fast fashion culture

Fast fashion has become an integral part of our culture, particularly in Western nations, where we are accustomed to paying less and buying more. It isn’t a problem if clothing is poorly made from inferior fabrics because fashions change so quickly that a worn-out garment is the perfect excuse to buy a new, more fashionable replacement.

We may salve our consciences by donating our cast-offs to clothes banks, imagining they will be given to some needy people in a faraway country; in reality, the glut of unwanted clothing is creating an environmental crisis of its own in those countries.

A few fast fashion facts

The statistics surrounding fast fashion are shocking:

  • The world produces 92 million tons of textile waste (80-100 billion new garments) every year (The Round Up)
  • 87% of our clothes will end up in either incinerators or landfills (The Round Up)
  • Only 1% of discarded garments are recycled (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
  • 200 million trees are harvested annually to provide cellulose for garments, affecting biodiversity (NY Times)
  • Textile mills use 20,000 pollutants, many of which are known to be carcinogenic, and produce one-fifth of industrial pollution globally (Waterman Australia).
  • Even cotton isn’t as eco-friendly as we think. Most cotton is genetically modified, which requires a pesticide-intensive growing process (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • 1,800 gallons of water are needed to produce enough cotton for one pair of denim jeans; a cotton tee shirt needs 400 gallons (The 71 Percent)
  • 69% of clothes are made from crude oil (Changing Markets)
  • Fast fashion manufacturing is commonly outsourced to nations where regulations are lax: workers are exposed to unsafe, overcrowded, poorly ventilated working conditions and few are paid well below a living wage (Sustainable Review); some research estimates that only 2% of the world’s fashion workers are paid a living wage (Fashion Revolution)

And the list goes on. While this is a problem that is too large for any one person or organisation to solve – government intervention may be the only answer – there are actions we can take to reduce the problem.

How you can make Earth Day 2024 meaningful

clothing

Garment producers

Garment production produces large volumes of textile waste – scraps and roll-ends left behind after cutting the cloth, garments rejected by quality control or damaged during storage and transit, and surplus end-of-season stock – which can be recycled.

If you are using textiles which are unique to a brand, recycling surplus rolls of cloth will prevent them from falling into the wrong hands and being used to produce counterfeit garments. Recycling surplus or substandard garments can also prevent them from being illegally sold, which can tarnish a brand’s image and decrease its value.

Uniform examples e1713777245817Corporate workwear consumers

Any company that supplies personnel with uniforms or PPE workwear can set up a scheme to collect worn and damaged clothing for recycling. A brand refresh involving new workwear doesn’t need to be detrimental to the environment – even surplus unworn clothing can be sustainably recycled.

Another benefit of recycling corporate clothing is that it protects your reputation by preventing branded clothing from being reused fraudulently (by persons passing off as an employee) or inappropriately (non-employees wearing branded workwear that is dirty, faded or damaged).

school uniform e1713777516781

Schools and colleges

While reselling outgrown school uniforms is an ideal way to save money and live more sustainably, running a recycling scheme for worn and damaged clothing can also be an excellent way of promoting sustainability and enabling students to get involved. They can even bring in discarded clothing from home to increase the volumes.

How Avena can help with your textiles

Avena provides secure destruction and recycling services for a wide range of commercial waste, and one of these services is SECUREBRAND®.

SECUREBRAND addresses the various concerns our clients have around the disposal of textile waste and used workwear.

sustainability greenSustainability

The SECUREBRAND process shreds textiles into individual fibres, which are then sorted into three classifications.

  • Level 1 fibres are the best quality, and these are re-spun into new yarn which is used to weave new textiles.
  • Level 2 fibres aren’t good enough for re-spinning but make valuable material for padding in upholstery and sound-deadening panels in office screens and vehicle interiors.
  • Level 3 fibres are an extremely small percentage of the shredding process’ byproducts. These are used to generate energy and heat.

By segregating and separately processing the fibres, we maintain our commitment to a zero-waste-to-landfill policy.

security icon 1Security

For some textile or garment producers and companies using branded workwear and PPE, disposal of textile waste and discarded workwear raises security issues. How can they ensure that their uniquely patterned textiles and clothing designs aren’t stolen? What would happen if their corporate-branded workwear were to be used to fraudulently gain access to restricted areas or private homes?

As Avena’s services combine security with sustainability, SECUREBRAND comes with a guarantee that security won’t be compromised. Discarded textiles and garments are collected in secure bins on your premises and transported to our recycling facility by security-vetted personnel in unmarked vans fitted with CCTV and real-time satellite tracking. On arrival at the recycling facility, they are only handled and processed by security-vetted personnel until they are reduced to fibres.

Other ways to increase sustainability and security with Avena

We offer two further secure destruction and recycling processes that can improve your sustainability performance while keeping your company safe.

SECURALL® – Secure document destruction and recycling

While society continues to strive towards the paperless office, paper documents still play a vital role in many businesses. Any documents that contain personal data – information that can be used to identify a living person – must be protected under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), both during and after its useful life.

SECURALL guarantees total security for all your paper-based documents; not only those containing personal data but also commercially sensitive information such as pricing structures, business plans, product designs and contracts.

SECURALL provides you with lockable consoles that fit unobtrusively into any office environment. These are so secure that, once a document enters the console, it can only be retrieved by an authorised keyholder. When the console is full, a security-vetted Avena customer service representative will remove the contents and transport them to our recycling facility in one of our unmarked vans. Our paper shredding plant is capable of shredding large volumes of paper, reducing them to small paper chips that, unlike the ribbons of paper generated by an office shredder, are impossible to reassemble and extract any information.

Unlike general waste paper, which commonly includes inferior-quality material such as cardboard and newsprint, our shredded paper is predominantly office-grade paper and of a higher, more consistent quality. This results in a more valuable pulp that can be used to make new, high-quality paper.

SECURETECH® – Secure IT and media destruction and recycling

While the use of paper in the office may be on the decline, this is being replaced by digital media, and it isn’t just our computers, laptops, tablets and phones that hold data. Hard drives, flash drives and even printer/copiers store sensitive data.

As electronic devices and equipment are upgraded or fail, they must be appropriately disposed of, for two reasons.

  • To comply with GDPR, data storage components should be irretrievably destroyed to protect data that may still lurk hidden deep inside (electronic wiping isn’t always a fail-safe solution).
  • Under WEEE regulations, users are legally obliged to properly dispose of electronic and electrical equipment. This requires a registered waste contractor, as all recyclable materials, valuable minerals and toxic substances must be separated and processed appropriately.

SECURETECH addresses both of these requirements at once, ensuring all sensitive and personal data is irretrievably destroyed, reusable materials are harvested and waste to landfill is minimised or eliminated.

Make every day an Earth Day

Whether you’re reading this on 22 April 2024 or not, every day can become an Earth Day for you and your organisation. If you haven’t yet implemented processes to handle your waste sustainably and securely, or if your current processes are inadequate,  or fill in our online contact form or get a quick quote and a support team member will contact you within 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

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