Our Process and Sustainability
In-House Graphic Design and Screen Printing
Each Earthie garment is individually screen printed by hand (in-house) with unique, Earth-inspired designs. We use eco friendly, water based inks, and you will find out why below. When we’re printing you can usually find us listening to a podcast or grooving along to tunes, ranging from Fleetwood Mac to hard trance and a bit of everything in between.
“I love that I'm creating, and I don't think I'd be able to find satisfaction if I wasn't. The feeling I get when I create is somewhat intangible, but it's a way for me to find myself in a state of flow. It's a way for me to embrace my inner child. I'm happy to be on a path that is constantly pushing me to learn and grow.” – Rhiannon, founder and designer
Why water based inks?
We print with Permaset Aqua's water based screen printing inks, which unlike traditional plastisol inks do not contain toxic chemicals. They are free from PVC and phthalates which means they're safer to work with and better for the environment. They also can be cleaned from the screens with just water, rather than having to use chemical solvents.
Permaset's website states that "Permaset Aqua inks do not contain ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFC’s and HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons or any volatile solvents. They don’t contain lead or any heavy metals. In fact, Permaset Aqua inks do not contain any toxic chemicals at all! Not even white spirits like other water based inks on the market. It passed the Oekotex Class 1 standard (with 60% to spare!) and is safe to use on underwear, swimwear and even baby clothes."
Furthermore, Permaset dedicate a page on their website dedicated to sustainability, which outlines their commitment to continually improving upon their environmental impact.
Sourcing ethically made garments
All the garments we source are certified by the Fair Wear Foundation to be ethically made. The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is a non-profit organisation that works with brands, manufacturers and governments to improve conditions for those working in the garment production industry, empowering safe and fair employment.
All of our garments come from manufacturers who are recognised members of the Fair Wear Foundation. To become a member, independent audits conducted by FWF must find all the business practices and supply chains of a manufacturing company to be compliant with the Code of Labour Practices.
You can find an overview of the Code in our blog post here.
We value the fair treatment of people, and so it is imperative to us that any garment we source is ethically made. We will not compromise this value for the sake of sourcing cheaper items to increase our profit margin.
Why organic cotton?
All Earthie garments are 100% organic cotton, with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification. The GOTS Standard is recognised world-wide and ensures both environmentally and socially responsible practices govern the whole process of producing organic textiles, including growing, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution.
You can find out more about the impact of this certification, along with other certifications of the garments we source and what it all means, but the main reasons why choosing organic cotton is important to us are:
LOWER ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Organic cotton crops have a lower environmental impact as they are free from the use of toxic pesticides, fertilisers and Genetically Modified Organisms – we don't want these nasties being introduced to natural eco-systems for the sake of making our clothes!
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Workers involved in growing and manufacturing organic textiles are protected from having to use or be exposed to poisonous chemicals that can seriously harm their health.
It feels NICE :) People are constantly commenting on how soft and comfortable our shirts are!
We are hoping in the future to be able to expand our product line to include other sustainable materials such as hemp.
Where cotton is grown matters!
Our garments ARE NOT made with cotton grown in Australia. The Australian environment is completely unsuitable for growing cotton crops, and the industry is currently having devastating effects on the natural environment and regional communities in Australia.
We recommend watching Blood Water: the war for Australia's water, a well researched and evidence based short documentary to understand more about the highly concerning practices going on in our country.
Sustainable supply chain
One of our suppliers manufacture garments in carbon neutral facilities in India powered by renewable energy sources, and work in a monsoonal region, reducing the need for damaging large scale irrigation (as required by conventional cotton farming) which often impacts upon local communities when much needed water is diverted from lakes and rivers.
Our other supplier has committed to being carbon neutral by 2030, and has been ranked among the top 16 leading brands in sourcing sustainable materials by the Textile Exchange.
Attention to the finer details
Our environmental focus doesn't stop at the products themselves – what is the impact of how they're presented, and how they're delivered? We use postage bags that are made from 100% biodegradable and compostable materials, so at the end of their life (preferably after being reused) these bags can be put in your home compost and will break down in a totally non-toxic process! So much better than traditional plastic alternatives.
We also pay attention to small presentation details like the swing tags of our shirts, which we create using 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard and hemp twine. Post-consumer recycled cardboard is made from paper and cardboard products that have reached the end of their life. The materials are diverted from landfill and instead repurposed for another use. As well as decreasing waste going to landfill, choosing to use this material reduces the need for new, raw materials to be used.