Raising the bar
The textiles industry is on track to receive a new benchmark.
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), which runs Australia's only independent, multi-sector ecolabelling program, is developing a new environmental standard for textiles and leather.
Products that could be certified under the standard include textile products such as clothing and textiles for use in clothing, bedding, decorative applications and fittings sold in the Australian market.
This includes clothing, clothing textiles and accessories consisting of at least 90 per cent by weight of textile fibres, interior textiles consisting of at least 90 per cent by weight of textile fibres, fibre, yarn and fabric (including durable non-woven fabric) intended for use in textile clothing.
Also included would be: accessories or interior textiles, cleaning products: woven or non-woven fabric products intended for the wet or dry cleaning of surfaces and the drying of kitchenware, and hide and leather products consisting of at least 90 per cent by weight of leather/hide.
Products are to pass a list of stringent requirements to become accredited, for example: “For man-made cellulose fibres (including Viscose & Cupro):
Pulp used to manufacture fibres shall be bleached without the use of elemental chlorine. The resulting total amount of chlorine and organically bound chlorine in the finished fibres (OX) shall not exceed 150 ppm or in the wastewater from pulp manufacturing (AOX) shall not exceed 0.170 kg/ADt pulp.
For viscose fibres, the sulphur content of the emissions of sulphur compounds to air from the processing during fibre production, expressed as an annual average, shall not exceed 120 g/kg filament fibre produced and 30 g/kg staple fibre produced. Where both types of fibre are produced on a given site, the overall emissions must not exceed the corresponding weighted average.
For viscose fibres the emissions to water of zinc from the production site, expressed as an annual average, must not exceed 0.3 g/kg.
For cupro fibres, the copper content of the effluent water leaving the site, expressed as an annual average, must not exceed 0.1 ppm.
Raw materials from wood and fibre shall be sourced from any combination of FSC or AFS (or equivalent PEFC) certified fibre, plantation wood fibre, return fibre (i.e. postconsumer and preconsumer fibre) or other waste fibre.”
The move follows the release of GECA 's revised draft textiles standard (2012), which was developed in conjunction with Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ).
According to the organisation, it received comments on “many criteria”.
GECA said it has since “addressed these comments and has also aligned its standard with the EU Ecolabel criteria for textiles, where possible”.
GECA added that it is keen to receive feedback from industry professionals and members of the public interested in sustainable textiles until February, 14, 2014. To see a copy of the draft, click here.
Please direct all correspondence regarding making a submission on this standard to:
Ph: +61 (0)2 9699 2850