A Circular Approach
The earth operates a closed system when it comes to resources, and an open system when it comes to energy production, which is why we approach everything we produce and consume in the full knowledge that it is here to stay.
Our industry produces a large amount of waste during the product life cycle, from design through to the post-consumer phase. A large amount of this waste is generated during the production phase. Post-consumer waste is also to blame. A total of 156,943 tonnes of post-consumer textile waste was generated in Italy in 2019, that’s almost three times as much as in 2010 (Italia del riciclo 2021).
Our commitment to circular fashion
At OVS, we’re challenging ourselves to embrace a new production and consumption concept, moving from a linear input-output model, it’s simply no longer sustainable seeing as the population is expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030, resulting in an estimated 63% increase in clothing production. to a circular one, in which every element is regenerated and given a new lease of life.
Adopting a circular approach to design
In 2020, OVS launched Eco Valore, a set of three indicators that consumers can use to gauge the impact of their consumer habits. Among these is a product circularity indicator, which expresses how compatible a garment is with current end-of-life recycling processes on a scale of 1 to 10. During 2021, OVS refined its calculation methodology in collaboration with the University of Padua.
According to our circularity indicator, 67% of our garments can be recycled at the end of their useful life. This is because they are made from one material or a blend of materials that can be processed by the main mechanical and/or chemical-textile recycling channels.
On the other hand, 32% of our clothes can be recycled and used for other industries and only 1% has no way of being usefully recycled.
These statistics show that the industrial sector is simply not mature enough to recycle post-consumer waste generated by the fashion industry, and lacks organised waste collection systems. It also comes down to poor consumer awareness around the possibility of re-using garments at the end of their life.
In addition, we have also set ourselves the goal of using more recycled fibres so that we can give real weight to the concept of re-using clothing that has come to the end of its life. We are ready to experiment with innovative technologies that make use of processing scraps.
In the 2021 collections we produced over 1.800.000 items made from recycled materials.
Reusing production scraps
No matter how efficient it may be, the garment production phase always generates waste. We estimate that we produce around 10,000 tonnes of post-production waste when manufacturing our clothes (Higg Analytics).
This presents us with a great opportunity to reuse scrap materials that would otherwise negatively affect the environment.
Having achieved significant results in the Circular Fashion System Commitment 2020, OVS will continue its collaboration with the Global Fashion Agenda in a new strategic initiative.
A new global international partnership with one main aim: to accelerate the transition to a circular system that restores and regenerates materials, offering new opportunities for innovative design, greater customer engagement and the creation of shared economic value.
OVS is a member of the Circular Fashion Partnership (CFP), which is establishing a new brand-manufacturer alliance in Bangladesh in collaboration with BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association). The scheme intends to make production scraps into recycled yarn, which will be used to produce new garments. The idea is essentially to create a circular, traceable production system, with the hope of extending the scheme to other countries.
In this way the production scraps will provide the raw materials for the creation of new collections, thus avoiding the dispersal of thousands of tonnes of unused fabric in the environment and reducing the impact of the production of new materials.
After just one year of operation, by November 2021, 1,328 tonnes of waste had been collected from 45 Bangladeshi factories registered with the scheme to be recycled.
CFP is an opportunity to lay the foundations for the large-scale local recycling of post-industrial textile waste in manufacturing countries.
Making use of unsold goods inventories
In keeping with the objective of not losing the value of items at the end of their life, we have a strategy for minimizing inventory that, once the possibility of using commercial channels to sell the stock has been exhausted, allows OVS to use philanthropic channels such as the donation of garments to people in need or in response to international emergency situations.
OVS has a profound awareness of its impact in terms of sustainability, but this does not mean that environmental protection should be pursued at all costs, when consumer protection is at risk. Therefore, when no other inventory recovery channel can be used because the remaining stock has irreparable defects that make it unmarketable, it is recycled by specialised partners or disposed of through industry specialists.
In the period 2018-2019, a total of just 138,687 items were sent to the shredder, while in 2020 and in 2021 there was no waste at all.
Over the years we have also perfected a scheme for reconditioning and distributing unsold goods, which minimises the quantity of clothes we have to send to the off-price channel or to be scrapped. During 2021, more than 11 million garments were reconditioned and redistributed to points of sale.
Production samples are also recovered through donations to local charities or through internal sales reserved to staff.
Caring for garments
Furthermore, we are aware that one way to minimise the waste of resources is to offer our customers a durable product and with it the means to make it so.
- On the OVS e-commerce website customers can find tips on how take care of their garments and extend their life.
- In 2021 the number of OVS stores that offer a tailoring and repair service are seven.
- garments with parts more susceptible to wear and tear are now sold with replacements to facilitate minor repairs.
Collecting used clothes from consumers
THANKS TO THE "OVS RECYCLES USED CLOTHES" PROJECT, FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PROGRAM WE HAVE COLLECTED MORE THAN 1,278,268 KG OF CLOTHING (THAT’S THE SAME AS 6 MILLION T-SHIRTS).
The garments we collect are selected, analysed and re-used according to strict standards, making use of leading technologies in collaboration with I:CO – a global fabric recycler. 60% is resold as second-hand goods, 34% is recycled to produce cloth or recycled yarn and 6% is used to produce energy.
Environmental labelling for packaging
In compliance with Italian Legislative Decree 116/2020, OVS has started to produce environmental labels that state where end consumers can recycle their packaging. These labels feature a QR code, which consumers can scan to view a webpage containing detailed informations on how to dispose of their packaging.
We are aware of the role that we can have in taking care of a more sustainable future for the environment.
Shops are our window onto a better world, built on respect for the environment and care for the people around us.