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Recycled materials VS. Raw materials

At KOHR we only use natural, organic or biodegradable raw materials rather than recycled polyester or any other kind of plastic. I want to put out a little disclaimer, using both recycled and organic raw materials make steps to bettering the environment. But, I’m here to tell you why we at KOHR decided to not use recycled materials.

“I’ve always seen using recycled materials as a

temporary solution”

A temporary solution that we definitely need now, as the UK consumes around 1.1 million tonnes of clothing each year (basically no one can say they don’t have anything to wear). We already have so much fabric available to us, so there is definitely a need for recycling and upcycling.

However, recycling doesn’t balance out the amount we consume. What we really need to focus on is over consumption, but that’s a whole different blog post!

Recycling is a tricky issue and isn’t bullet proof. There’s a such thing called down cycling unfortunately nothing like the Tour De France, but a phrase used to reveal the truth of what recycling really is. Take a plastic milk bottle, it can be recycled right? Right, but it probably won’t be reincarnated into another milk bottle. It will be down cycled into something of lesser quality, maybe a fabric?

One thing to note on recycled fabrics, when you wash them, they still release micro plastics into the ocean which is a huge environmental issue. In 2014 it was estimated there was 15-51 trillion pieces of microplastics in the world oceans, and that was 7 years ago, can you imagine what it’s like now? Yes, they’re small, but damn are they mighty! Each piece micro plastic holds several chemicals that are incredibly harmful to marine life. You may not think this affects you, but it does, every time you eat seafood you are consuming the plastic they did!

“95% of the products environmental impact is due to the materials”

This is where we come onto the raw material. What is a raw material? It is the absolute start of a materials journey in the supply chain. For example, cotton buds for cotton, or sheep for wool! The raw material stage is where we can make the biggest environmental impact in the fashion industry, we can even decide it’s end of life.

Ever thought about where your clothes end up at the end of its life cycle? We have! Recycled materials still cannot decompose or degrade at the end of its life, sure, we can prolong that life but it’s always going to come to an end! Whereas, linen, organic cotton, hemp, bamboo all biodegrade at the end of its life making its environmental impact extremely minimal.

What now? Be a conscious consumer, decide how you’re going to be sustainable and how it best fits into your lifestyle. There’s no right or wrong, this was just a food for thought. There are so many options out there to being a conscious consumer, just make sure you choose one of them and don’t turn a blind eye to the issues at hand.

Blog By Amy Joanne Kohl

Amy Joanne Kohl is the founder of KOHR a sustainable slow fashion brand. Amy is a Fashion Designer with a vision for a better industry.

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