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When we talk about atmospheric pollution, the gas released from our cars or long-distance flights immediately comes to mind, but it's also important to consider the contents of our wardrobe.

Globally, the fashion industry is responsible for over 8% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The atmospheric impact of the textile industry is mostly due to the growing use of virgin materials that are made from extracting petroleum, like nylon and polyester. Today, these materials are present in over 60% of clothing.1

Therefore, the fabric composition of our clothing becomes an important factor from an environmental point of view.

To reduce the environmental impact of our wardrobe, there are a number of alternative fibres that we can choose instead.

Greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions

Recycled Polyester

There are two interesting environmental advantages to using recycled polyester instead of its conventional equivalent. Because it's made using recuperated plastic from post-industrial and post-consumer waste, recycled polyester eliminates the need to extract fossil fuels to create new fibres as well as helps reduce the accumulation of trash in our environment. It's a great way to reuse materials that are not biodegradable or compostable.

Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing GRS-certified and mechanically recycled polyester to conventional polyester

Recycled plastic bottles
Ecological benefits of recycled polyester

Did You Know?

We've been using recycled polyester in our private-label products since 2015! What's more, thanks to the REPREVETM polyester program, we've helped recycle over 1.2 million plastic bottles. In production terms, this is equivalent to saving over 73 barrels of oil and 32,000 kg of CO2 emissions.

The REPREVE recycled polyester program at Simons

Recycled Nylon

Nylon, like polyester, is a derivative of the petrochemical industry, meaning greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere during its production, making it a contributor to global warming. Additionally, there's no form of nylon that's biodegradable.

That being said, many companies are working to reverse these negative effects. Some examples include UNIFITM with their REPREVETM nylon and ECONYLTM, a company that creates eco-friendly nylon using a closed-loop production system. On its own, one ton of ECONYLTM raw nylon prevents the emission of 5.7 metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere.3

Some of the waste items used to produce our nylon products include:

- Fishing nets
- Nylon hosiery
- Post-industrial fabric scraps
- Recuperated clothing

Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing GRS-certified and mechanically recycled nylon to conventional nylon.

Fishing nets recycled into clothes
Environmental benefits of recycled nylon


TENCELTM Lyocell is a cellulose fibre made by the Austrian brand Lenzing. Biodegradable and compostable, this material is derived from wood pulp collected from certified and strictly controlled sources. What this means is that all the wood and pulp they use is harvested from sustainably managed forests. TENCELTM Lyocell is made using a closed-loop production system, which means that the water and solvents are reused each time. This way, nothing is wasted, contaminated, or thrown away!

Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing TENCELTM Lyocell to conventional lyocell

The wood pulp needed for the lyocell TENCEL production
Ecological benefits of TENCEL lyocell


TENCELTM Modal is another fibre derived from wood pulp that's harvested from sustainably managed forests. It's both biodegradable and compostable.

Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing TENCELTM Modal with conventional modal.

Wood pulp chips used for cellulosic fibres production
Avantages environnementaux du modal TENCEL

TENCELTM Lyocell with REFIBRATM Technology

Relatively new on the textile scene, these TENCELTM Lyocell fibres are produced with innovative REFIBRATM technology, which uses upcycled cotton scraps as well as wood pulp in its production process.
It's also worth noting that the wood pulp used to produce this material comes entirely from certified and controlled sources. Additionally, TENCELTM Lyocell is the result of a closed-loop production system, which means that the water and solvents are reused every time. This way, nothing is wasted, contaminated, or thrown away!

Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing TENCELTM Lyocell with conventional lyocell

TENCEL lyocell with REFIBRA  technology environmental benefits

Recycled Wool

Wool is a material that's cherished and highly sought-after by consumers. In order to enjoy its thermal properties and sophistication while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact associated with its production, be sure to select pieces made of recycled wool fibres.

In addition to giving materials a second life, this alternative helps eliminate the carbon emissions linked to animal farming.

As wool is a durable and high-quality material, the clothing made out of it can last a long time. In fact, many studies4 show that wool garments stay in our wardrobes longer than clothing made of other materials and that they are more likely to be recycled at the end of their life.5 According to the International Wool Textile Organization, wool items account for 5% of the total weight of consumer clothing donations. So keep your well-loved wool pieces for years and think about donating them to someone else when the time comes!

Sources: HIGG MSI3 comparing GRS-certified recycled wool derived from textile scraps to Australian virgin wool

Recycled wool knit
The environmental benefits of recycled wool


LENZINGTM ECOVEROTM Viscose fibres have a significantly lower environmental impact than their conventional equivalent. Made from wood pulp that comes from controlled and certified sources, they help to ensure the protection of ancient and endangered forests around the world.

Sources: HIGG MSI2 comparing LENZINGTM ECOVEROTM Viscose to conventional viscose.

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2 These results were calculated with the help of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The Higg MSI analyzes the impact of materials over their entire life cycle (up until the materials are ready to be assembled into a product). The Higg MSI scores or the calculations of percentages provided here represent only one production step within the scope of the Higg MSI (for example, fibres or raw materials). They do not provide an overall view of the impacts involved in the production of materials. The SAC does not verify the results of users' custom materials. (Higg Materials Sustainability Index, 2020)



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