We consider our environmental footprint at every point of our design process. Even after our products have been sold. Clevercare reminds us all to consider the environment when washing, drying and taking care of our clothes.
We design collections that are built to last. And, during the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2014, we introduced Clevercare. A garment labelling system created in collaboration between our brand, H&M and Ginetex – the Swiss company behind clothing-care symbols and labelling – to remind us all to consider the environment when washing and caring for our clothes.
Clevercare covers five simple areas of clothing care to extend the life of your clothing, reduce the amount of clothes that end in landfill, and reduce your footprint – washing, temperature, drying, ironing and dry cleaning.
“The less you wash your clothes, the better. I was told that by the tailors on Savile Row when I worked there and it’s true, clothes last longer if you wash them less and care for them more. And less washing saves water and energy.” – Stella McCartney
Five easy tips for clever care
An estimated 350,000 tonnes of used clothing go to landfill in the UK every year. And, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average America throws out seventy pounds of clothing every year, which 85% ending in landfill.
On top of this, laundry accounts for approximately one quarter of the carbon footprint of clothing.
Think twice about washing
Washing clothes regularly uses an incredible amount of water. When often, methods such as airing and brushing your clothes are enough to keep them clean. Consider spot cleaning for any small stains.
Keep it cool
Wash care labels indicate the highest temperature allowed for cleaning that specific item, without compromising its quality. A simple way to extend the life of your clothes is to wash them at a lower temperature, and hang dry instead of tumble dry. Studies recommend washing at 30°C rather than 40°C, as this small change in temperature reduces electricity consumption by approximately 40% and provides better care for your clothing.
Take it outside
Tumble-drying accounts for 60% of the energy use during laundering. So we recommend hang drying whenever possible. It’s better for the environment and for your clothes. Polyester garments that are washed on cold and hang dried instead of tumble dried reduces the total lifecycle energy consumption by four times. And two times for cotton garments.
Crease free, the easy way
Think of ironing only when really necessary. Often, you can avoid creases and folds by taking hang dried laundry into the bathroom while showering. The steam will naturally remove creases, saving effort and energy from ironing.
Go green when you dry clean
When it comes to dry cleaning, the best option is to look for an eco or green dry cleaners. The chemicals used by most dry cleaners can harm air quality, the health of employees, and your own well-being. To avoid dry cleaning altogether, remember that cashmere, cotton and most wools are easily hand-washed in the sink, or on a delicate cycle. And polyester and nylon can be put in a washing machine.
Because we never want clothing to end in landfill, we do everything we can to make sure they live a long life. If you are finished with your clothing or accessories, we recommend recycling them, so that someone else can love them, or a professional textile recycler can use the material to benefit other industries.