Circular Design Strategy 2 - Design for Low-impact Materials and Processes
Design for low Impact Materials
Up to 80% of a clothing item’s climate impact is determined at the design stage, so the sourcing decisions you make can be critical.
The fibres you choose are important. From fibre production to end of life, there is an environmental impact at each stage due to the energy, water, chemicals and other natural resources used, and the pollution generated including greenhouse gas emissions and the release of toxic chemicals into waterways.
There is no one ‘perfect’ fibre, but through the choices you make you have the power to select fibres that have a significantly reduced negative impact on the environment.
Fibres also play a key role in diverting textiles from disposal back into the system
through recycling, up-cycling and other innovative methods. The choice of fibre you make determines which pathways will be available for your garment at its end of life.
Understanding different fibres impacts and their circular potential is an important part of designing for the circular economy.
Some questions to consider:
- What fibres are used in your textile?
- What pathways are available in your area to circulate these fibres and materials at the end of their life?
- What design decisions do you need to make to be sure that your design can meet its circular potential?
Design for Low Impact Processes
Ensuring low environmental impact requires you to understand the value chain behind each product you create. What processes can you identify that lower the environmental impact from creation to production through to retail? What tools might help you understand and track your impact to make informed decisions about the products you will put on the market?
The processes you use to transform your textile can make a difference to the life cycle of your design.
Some things to consider:
- How can you minimise the environmental impact of the processes you use to transform your textile?
- What local skills and resources are available in your area that you can access?
- What choices do you need to make to ensure your garment is fit for a circular pathway at the end of its life?