How It's Made
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How does econscious ensure the integrity of its supply chain?
All factories in our supply chain undergo social audits to ensure safe and healthy workplace conditions. Most of our factories (80%) are audited using SMETA Sedex’s social auditing methodology which is designed to enable us to assess, understand, and improve working conditions in our supply chain. The remaining factories are WRAP certified.
What is the most environmentally responsible way to screen print?
We love screen printers! The ones we know are artists, renegades and visionaries. No suits and ties (or the female equivalent where applicable) for them---ever. So it’s not surprising that we have had plenty discussions with our artist friends about things such as what makes the best “blank canvas”, the craziest thing they ever screen printed or what temperature to use when screen printing a non-woven tote (answer: the lowest temperature possible).
We created the econscious line with screen-printers in mind. We think of our tees as works of art waiting to happen. And when our conversations invariably roll around to the question of the most “environmentally responsible” printing method…then things get interesting. Our discussions gave rise to many different viewpoints, so we decided there was only one thing to do. Get scientific.
To help with the science we turned to our friends at Brown and Williams Environmental LLC and asked them to survey the existing ink technologies on the market. Before you click the link---put your thinking cap on because this is some dense material.
To read about their findings click here.
Our choices impact the health of this place we call home. Organic farming practices:
- Keep millions of pounds of chemicals out of the environment
- Create healthier working conditions for farmers and agricultural workers
- Do not depend on chemical pesticides (poisons), synthetic fertilizers, or genetically engineered ingredients
- Reduce global warming. Organic farms pull CO2 out of the atmosphere as much as three times the rate of conventional farming practices and releases less CO2 into the atmosphere because it does not rely on chemical fertilizers and herbicides (Rodale Institute, 2008)
- Promote bio-diversity. Insect and bird life has been found to be as much as 50% greater on organic farms than conventional farms (UK Soil Association, 2000)
- Demonstrates your commitment to social and environmental responsibility
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Who certifies farms to organic standards?
Certification is done by independent, third party certifiers accredited to the standards being certified against (Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008).
What are the steps to becoming a certified farm?
Submit application to accredited independent 3rd party certifier
- Develop Farm Plan for Ecosystem Management
- Develop an Internal Control System, includes record keeping
- Annual Inspections by certifier
- Transition period of 2-3 years depending on standard
(Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008)
What are the differences between organic and conventional farming?
The major differences are in the following categories: seeds, weed control, soil, water, and harvest practice. Organic agricultural practices prohibit the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified seeds (GMO seeds). For more information, check out the Organic Exchange Symbiosis booklet (Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008).
What proportion of the agricultural chemicals are used to support conventional farming practices for cotton?
Conventionally grown cotton consumes 25% of the insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides used in the world (Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008).
What is the estimated amount of agrochemicals used to produce a single cotton t-shirt?
According to the USDA 2007 usage data, .00544 pounds of pesticides is used to grow one pound of conventionally grown U.S. cotton. When 2005 synthetic fertilizer usage (nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulfur) is included in the calculation, then the combined synthetic fertilizer and pesticide usage is .179 pounds per pound of conventionally grown cotton. For example, a 9 oz cotton tee shirt could use as much as 2.85 oz of chemical inputs to cultivate the fiber needed to produce the average conventional cotton tee shirt, or about 1/3 of the weight of the shirt.
How does organic farming support bio-diversity?
Through crop rotation, promotion of soil health, and through an absence of agriculture chemicals that effect the ability of wild life and insects around the farm to thrive (Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008).
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Which countries produce the most organic cotton globally?
Where can I get details about global organic cotton production?
Today there many of organizations working to educate people about the benefits of organic agricultural methods in an effort to promote the growth of organics globally. Here are a few of the sites we recommend visiting to learn more:
Organic Exchange: www.organicexchange.org
Organic Farming Research Foundation: www.ofrf.org
Organic Trade Associate: www.ota.org
Pesticide Action Network: www.panna.org
Rodale Institute: www.rodaleinstitute.org
The Organic Center: www.organic-center.org
Where does your cotton come from?
How much organic cotton is grown in the United States?
Where are your products made?
Why does econscious manufacture in Mexico, India, Pakistan, and China?
Are any of your products made in the USA?
Yes, in 2019 we joined forces with a factory located in the heart of Los Angeles, California that is well versed in the storied art of making a great tee. The introduction of the USA Made Organic Tee, style EC1007, helped us realize a long standing goal of bringing more manufacturing closer to home. We hope to add more styles in the future!
In addition, all our current production of our 100% organic tees are knit and dyed in the USA and then sewn in Mexico (styles: EC1000, EC1500, EC3000, EC3052, EC3500).
Who certifies your cotton?
Why is recycled polyester used in the sweatshirt?
Why do you use brass to make your zippers and clasps?
Why doesn’t econscious use bamboo fabric (viscose rayon)?
What are the working conditions in your factories?
Factories we work with agree to ensure and actively engage in upholding the econscious Workplace Code of Conduct which addresses important social compliance standards designed to ensure a safe and hygienic workplace is provided.
We’ve worked with most of our factories since our inception and have made regular visits to our production locations an essential part of the way we conduct our business. This allows us to assess workplace conditions first hand. We also employ independent third party agencies to conduct regular on-site inspections.
These long standing relationships have allowed us to build partnerships based on trust and our shared goals. We believe if we thrive so will our partners and vice-versa.
Why focus on “sustainable” textiles?
- Textile waste occupies nearly five percent of all landfill space.
- One million tons of textiles will end up in landfills every year.
- 20 percent of industrial fresh water pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing.
- In 2009, the world used three trillion gallons of fresh water to produce 60 billion kilograms of fabric.
- It takes 700 gallons of fresh water to make one cotton T-shirt.
- One trillion kilowatt hours are used every year by the global textile industry, which equates to 10 percent of global carbon impact.
(Source: Global Report Market Report on Sustainable Textile, Textile Exchange 2010)
What are the government standards established for organic farming production?
In the US, the standard is the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). The EU standard is the EEC 2092/2091. The Japanese standard is JAS. India and Australia also have organic standards (Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008).
What is organic farming?
The term organic describes a method of farming without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides or fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation or genetic engineering, and are certified by an accredited independent organization. It is a system of farming that strives for a balance with nature, using methods and materials that are of low impact to the environment (Source: Organic Trade Association, 2008).
Organic farming is not a new trend. In fact, organic farming represents a return to the practices employed prior to the mass industrialization of farming. The primary methods that distinguish organic farming are:
Soil: Organic farmers maintain the health of their soil by using manure or compost and other organic material instead of synthetic fertilizers. Biological fertilizers like compost, release nutrients slowly, build up organic soil matter, increase the capacity of soil to retain moisture and reduce leaching of nitrates into groundwater. Up to 40 percent of synthetic fertilizers used on conventional farms end up in ground and surface waters, eventually polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Beneficial insects: Some organic farmers introduce beneficial insects such as ladybugs, soldier beetles, green lacewings, big-eyed bugs and beneficial nematodes that eat harmful insects.
Crop rotation: Organic farmers often do not grow the same crop on the same field year after year. Crop rotation naturally replenishes the soil because as different plants contribute varying nutrients to the soil. Disrupting the habitats of insect pests and weeds helps control them.
Buffers: Organic farmers designate the edges of their land as buffer zones. This means the land is managed in accord with organic practices, but the crops grown on them aren’t sold as organic because some plants in the buffer may have been exposed to genetically engineered crops or chemicals used in conventional agriculture but barred for organic farms.
Cover Crops: Cover crops such as clover, rye, and wheat are planted between growing seasons to help replenish the soil with nutrients and prevent soil erosion. They also help maintain populations of beneficial insects. Cover crops can control weeds by smothering and shading them and outcompeting them for nutrients
(Source: Organic Trade Association, 2016).Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzXBLmsXt8w