by Amy Roberts February 21, 2018
We are all about making it better. Part of how we make it better for the apparel and screen printing community is by creating a better shirt to wear and to print on. A shirt that is high in quality, socially responsible and environmentally friendly. We brought together ten screen printers to create a better t-shirt and founded Allmade Apparel.
You might be wondering what exactly is an eco-friendly shirt. We consider how the fibers are cultivated or manufactured, how they are processed, and how much transport is required. Allmade tri-blends contain organic cotton, TENCEL™ Modal, and recycled polyester.
The cotton that is used in Allmade tri-blend t-shirts is 100% organic. It is grown and processed in the United States. Organic cotton is free of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that harm the environment.
Non-organic cotton is grown in a way that is extremely harmful to the environment and is often referred to as the world’s dirtiest crop. Synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and chemical defoliants are used to both grow and harvest the cotton. These substances leak into both the soil and water and damage the ecosystem.
In order to turn non-organic cotton white chlorine bleach and optical brighteners are used to treat the cotton. Our organic cotton is bleached using oxygen bleach and the dyes used to color the garments do not harm the environment. Less processing and additives in organic cotton make it softer and more luxurious to wear than non-organic cotton.
The polyester in Allmade tri-blends is created from recycled plastic water bottles. Plastic bottles are diverted from landfills from across the United States and turned into recycled polyester yarn. There are 6 plastic bottles in every Allmade tri-blend. That translates into a bunch of plastic bottles not ending up in landfills! Not only are we avoiding new polyester from being created, with all harmful side-effects, the use of recycled PET bottles reduces water use by 90% and uses 40% less energy.
Allmade uses TENCEL™ Modal instead of rayon. Not only is TENCEL™ Modal extremely soft, but more importantly in this context, it is a much more environmentally friendly alternative to rayon. TENCEL™ Modal is a man-made fiber, that is derived from beech trees certified by FSC, a global not-for-profit organization that sets the standards for what is a responsibly managed forest, both environmentally and socially. Beech trees naturally regenerate without the need for artificial irrigation. Beech wood forests are completely natural and sustainable source for material. The chemicals used are mostly benign and almost all production materials are recovered and reused. Rayon, on the other hand, is frequently derived from virgin and unmanaged forests, uses much harsher chemicals that contribute to water and air pollution. It is extremely damaging to the environment.
The last key component of an eco-friendly t-shirt is maintaining a transportation loop that is kept as tight as possible. The typical garment travels on average 16,000 miles from source to retail store. Taking an active look at reducing this, helps to reduce the quantity of fuel that is used in the transportation of the materials that make up the garments and the garments themselves. The less fuel that is used, the less amount of environmental impact a company has on the environment. The Allmade Apparel transportation loop is extremely tight. Most of the production of Allmade happens within the United States. The shirts are cut and sewn in Haiti, which is only a short distance from Florida. If you want to learn more about Allmade’s transportation loop, check out Where Allmade Begins and Ends.