You may have noticed the little water conservation icons that appear on the product pages of our website.
It takes a lot of fresh water and energy to make the stuff we buy. Just how much depends on a number of factors, including the material it’s made from, where it’s made, and what processes are used to make it. To produce a cotton t-shirt, for example, water is required to grow the cotton, process it into fabric, and dye it.
Unfortunately, the way the apparel and accessory industries work, a lot of perfectly usable material gets thrown out even though they took a lot of resources to make. That includes trim waste, end of bolt excess, and last season's fabrics. When you buy an upcycled product made from discarded materials, you are directly offsetting the water and energy needed to make new materials from scratch to produce the same product. Thus, resources are conserved.
How we calculate it
Because we source material from around the world, we use a global average water footprint for different materials pulled from a couple of references.
- Cow Leather – 2,000 gallons per lb
- Goat Leather – 1050 gallons per lb
- Cotton – 587 gallons per lb
- Felted Wool – 295 gallons per lb
- Polyester – 10 gallons per lb
- Nylon - negligible
- Neoprene – negligible
All else equal, upcycling also conserves carbon emissions because making materials requires a lot of electricity, which requires a lot of carbon. We’ve tried our hand at a carbon footprint analysis before, but (a) it’s time intensive to calculate it accurately and (b) there’s so much variability in a final number based on what study you reference and we didn’t want to misrepresent our impact.
Got ideas for an easy and accurate carbon footprint analysis? Know of anyone else making cool upcycled stuff? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below.
Looptworks Upcycled Apparel >