EconomyFinancialA recycled PET bag? This Mexican company already made...

A recycled PET bag? This Mexican company already made it possible

The use of recycled materials is a trend that has reached the shelves of Cloe’s clothing and accessory brands. Carlos RuizVelasco, founder and creative director of the Mexican brand, comments that the company’s path towards sustainable fashion has been advancing little by little.

In 2020, Cloe added the Beyond Fashion line of products made with recycled materials to its product portfolio. Then, in 2021, it launched a capsule collection of upcycling products, made up of 200 different pieces, including clothes and bags, made with products from returns, in addition to some garments that the company’s staff donated. The goal was to give second-hand garments a second chance, and this year this initiative will double production and include customers who want to donate unused bags and clothes.

The young entrepreneur is aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry. This sector releases half a million tons of synthetic microfibers into the ocean every year. The average consumer buys 60% more clothing than 15 years ago and each item is kept for half the time, so garment recycling is key to reducing impact.

RuizVelasco has sought to incorporate more recycled inputs into its product line, however, they are still more expensive than traditional ones. While the rawhide roll costs around 4,000 pesos, the pineapple fiber roll costs 26,800 pesos. The catwalk is still long for sustainable fashion, but Chloe has already started walking it.

Recycled pet and vegan fur

Cloe also has in her portfolio products made from recycled pet , such as travel suitcases or the containers of her line of sunscreens, and among the most innovative actions is the use of textile fibers made from nopal or pineapple fiber, which have been integrated into the production of bags, watches, suitcases and footwear.

“These categories grow and grow, the consumer is definitely benefiting from these brands that care about the environment. This trend is seen in Panama and Colombia, in addition to Mexico, where this movement of the market towards these sustainable fashion lines is noticeable, and the most interesting thing is what is coming because after the pandemic, people prefer brands that respond and care the environment”, declares RuizVelasco.

But the development of products made with recycled inputs is not the only front that Cloe has decided to cover.

The sector also generates between 8% and 10% of global carbon emissions, more than all shipping and international flights combined, according to the United Nations (UN). Some of these emissions come from pumping water to irrigate crops such as cotton, oil-based solvents, harvesting machinery, and transportation emissions.

RuizVelasco reports that the company, which has been in the market for more than 30 years, has made efforts to mitigate the impact of its production processes on the environment for at least two decades. For example, it has stopped using solvents in its manufacturing processes, instead using water-based glues, which tend to cost more. In the packaging they use recycled boxes.

Chloe also uses polyurethane in shoe soles and textile fibers, since it pollutes less than PVC. “We have been using polyurethane for many years, which does not take more than two years to degrade if it is exposed to the sun or rain. It does not pollute and the product has good durability, between seven and 10 years,” he explains.

Need more scale to achieve better prices

The founder and creative director of Cloe did not detail whether the adoption of these practices has an impact on the final price of the people who buy their bags, suitcases or accessories, but he did emphasize that for sustainable raw materials to become more accessible it is necessary that more companies join the trend, as happened with polyurethane, which is already a proven product and has a competitive price.

“Using sustainable materials is more expensive, we still haven’t reached the volumes needed to make raw materials accessible, but I hope this will change soon because it has been a challenge trying to level the same cost,” he says.

Efforts are moving forward. Several fashion brands, including Hugo Boss, Gap, H&M, have joined the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, and although many already have garments made with recycled textiles on their shelves, more companies still need to added to lower production costs.

“There are many brands that are joining the cause of caring for our planet, but it is also a research topic to create vegan and recyclable fibers. Processes and production costs have to be improved to achieve better prices”, he concludes.

A recycled PET bag? This Mexican company already made it possible

Cloe uses recycled pet and second-hand textiles in the production of her bags, suitcases and watches.

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