CSR Report 2023 / Chapter 4: Don't waste anything

We told you about our clothes, you are now able to quote the carbon footprint of Willie and the next time you look at a company's carbon footprint, you will check if we are talking about scope 3. Now let's go further: engaging in a virtuous production process means looking throughout the chain and ensuring that nothing is wasted. In an episode of Generation XX in 2019, Charlotte said “I don’t like to waste”. All is said. In this chapter we share with you our efforts to move towards zero waste and recycling throughout the production chain.

On each part of the production chain there is waste: the goal is to collect it so that it is not lost and to reintegrate it into our chain.

A polybag is a plastic bag in which each garment is stored individually to be protected during transport and within the storage warehouse. At Patine, our polybags are sourced in Europe based on 100% recycled polyethylene: they are recyclable and since September 2020, they have been 100% recycled. For comparison, on a national scale, only 28% (source: Citeo 2020 report) of plastic packaging is recycled after being sorted

(source :Report on waste recycling sectors in mainland France 2020).

The single-material composition of our polybags facilitates their recycling and we have real visibility on this since, in partnership with our logistician, we have set up a local recycling chain in a Work Service and Assistance Establishment (ESAT). )* specialized near our logistician located in Angers. Here's how it works: before shipping your clothes, our logistician removes them from the polybags in which they are contained and approximately every two months, he hands them over to the ESAT which takes care of packaging them in plastic bales then to send them for recycling (always nearby) to be transformed into new polybags. This transparent and local circuit allows us to control and ensure that our polybags are really recycled.

*more details on ESAT in the INSERTION chapter

We must collect waste from each part of the production chain, so that it is not lost and reintegrated into our chain. The processes are different at each of our partners. Some are already very committed and have developed their own collection and recycling system. This is the case, for example, of Tony's weaving factory. With other partners, we work with them to set up collection and think about the most efficient and useful way to reuse this waste.

The aim is to develop an internal recycling sector for our own production waste. We have already collected 1350kg of stitches from our knitter at Willie® and Marty®.

Since May 2019, the composition of our exclusive Willie® and Marty® yarn has evolved to 50% organic cotton/50% post-consumer recycled cotton. This means that the waste used in recycling had a first life with the consumer, recycling a plastic bottle or a piece of clothing for example.

We announced the launch of our knit recycling program at the end of 2020: in 2021, we were able to collect 100% of our knit and denim material scraps and defects with the aim of recycling them into new yarn. This seems normal, but it is still far from being the norm in textiles, because industrial structures are needed to store and then recover the waste, transporting it to the place of transformation into new yarn. Thank you to our knitter, maker and recycler partners in Portugal who run this program. No greenwashing please. At Patine we talk about “waste” thread and pieces of fabric when cutting our t-shirts and sweatshirts from the knitting rolls. Sad spoiler for 2022, you will see more and more so-called “recycled” materials on labels and in sublime advertisements, the word seems sexy and gives a good reason to buy. Attention ! Recycling is great as long as it doesn't feed the beast, you see? So no to unraveling new unsold clothes to make so-called recycled material (yes, that exists), and I don't agree at all with a vision of recycling serving micro trends, it will always be far too polluting ( the cycle “I buy - I wear 3 times - I return it to the store for a voucher - my item of clothing is recycled - I buy a new one). For Patine, the idea before this project is to always reduce waste, by optimizing our cutting plans and/or finding technologies to knit without waste at all. We will be happy the day when there is nothing to recycle, that will mean that we use the minimum amount of material and that clothes are not thrown away. Olé.

Even though we are proud that our polybags are 100% recycled, it is not a perfect method: a polybag remains a plastic based on petroleum-derived components and plastic cannot be recycled indefinitely, it degrades over time through recycling cycles. For the moment we have ruled out biodegradable polybags because it seemed to us that this solution was no cleaner than the current one. Our research is more focused on sourcing 100% recyclable and compostable FSC certified paper raw materials.

(FSC =Forest Stewardship Council: a certification that allows us to know which paper comes from sustainably managed forests and good news, there are some near us)

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