“Why exactly are your bags sustainable?”– We hear this question again and again and have realised that there isn’t just one answer. Apart from the materials, which are used to manufacture our bags, many other factors also play an important role. In this article we want to show you why we can call our bags sustainable and why you can look forward to 2020.
A sustainable basis
To ensure that you can hold a sustainably manufactured bag in your hands, we pull out all the stops. As early as in the design phase of our bags, we focus on functionality, efficiency and durability. After all, only when our bags and backpacks are used for a long time and are enjoyed, are they really sustainable in the end. This is the reason for placing so much emphasis on the materials for our products, and so we have the particularly durable and tough synthetic fibres, such as polyester or Nylon, tested for their constituents in accredited institutes like Bureau Veritas. Our “tested materials” labels are given only to products, which fulfil the REACH and LFGB guidelines for component substances.
We also constantly monitor natural fibres, such as cotton and jute. As these fibres are produced through agricultural methods, we offer products, where sustainability starts much earlier in the production chain. The Fairtrade cotton seal stands for fair cultivation and trade of raw cotton, which can be directly retraced along all steps of production and is processed separately from non-Fairtrade cotton. The GOTS label guarantees the strict observance of environmental and technical requirements along the entire production chain. GOTS is currently regarded as the highest standard worldwide for the processing of textiles from organically produced natural fibres. Halfar itself is also GOTS certified.
For the coming year, we have asked ourselves the following questions once again:
- Which materials can we use in the future?
- Which materials allow further steps to even greater sustainability?
This time we found new answers. Here, we can reveal something about the materials for the Newcomers 2020.
From bottle to bag
Recycling materials has always been a topic for us. As long as 15 years ago we produced bags from bicycle tyres, and bags made from airbags, coffee sacks and airplane seats followed.
From 2020, we will be offering entire series in the standard range, for example products from recycled PET bottles, utilising waste for something new. PET bottles are suitable for recycling thanks to the possibility of homogenous sorting. Bottles that have already been used are turned into granulates, which can be processed into new fibres. On average, you need about 24 PET bottles for a strong HALFAR® bag.
By the way, we only process rPET material with the GRS seal. The seal assures that the materials can be retraced. This is the only way of ascertaining – in the case of the same basic raw material – that the rPET fabric was produced with recycled PET bottles and had not been produced totally new.
We let cotton blossom once again
We love cotton – so much, that we want to give this natural material a second life. Therefore, we recycle cotton offcuts and produce the best that we can possibly imagine: “Bags”.
Join us in looking forward right now to an entirely new series of bags in the HALFAR® range 2020, made of pre-recycled cotton.
Pre-recycled cotton largely consists of cotton offcut remnants, which are left over in production. They are collected, sorted according to colour, shredded and newly spun. So that the fibres become durable despite the shredding process, a proportion of new fibres are added. Currently, a fibre mix of up to 70% recycled cotton offcuts is possible, with good load test characteristics.
By using this durable fibre, we ensure that not only the fabric production considers aspects of sustainability, but that the end product is also long lasting and continues to be used. This means:
- Less new cotton needs to be cultivated,
- Less water is needed and
- Fewer valuable raw materials are wasted.
This is further step in matters of sustainable production and sustainably strong bags.
Production under fair conditions
Yet it is not only the material that is important for a bag being sustainable in the end, as in all other steps in the value-added chain, ecological and social criteria play an important role too. For this reason, we obligate all our production sites contractually to comply with the ILO core labour standard. This social standard for humane working conditions and sufficient labour protection in production forms the basis for sustainable working conditions worldwide.
Furthermore, our Top Ten factories are audited according to amfori BSCI. Halfar itself has been part of the amfori BSCI network since 2009. We participate actively in order to observe the social standards in the international supply chains relevant to us and to develop them. For this, external quality inspectors and auditors, who inspect working conditions and production according to international standards, as well as Halfar employees, regularly travel to the factories. On site, they monitor, advise and provide support on all matters regarding bag production by contributing their know-how.
Sustainable finishing – sustainable effect
Ultimately, HALFAR® bags are the stage for many big and small brands. Therefore, we work constantly to make not only our bags, but also our finishing processes ever more sustainable. We have already managed to change the print inks for many of our bags from ones containing solvents to water-soluble inks.
Moreover, with HALFAR FAST LANE® we were recently able to offer an innovative finish that is particularly efficient, quick and sustainable. This means, in fact, that the print is especially energy-efficient thanks to the LED technology used. We also produce our electricity here in Bielefeld with our own photovoltaic system or use eco-power. We compensate for the CO2 emissions from transporting our products with our climate projects – allowing us to work in a completely CO2-neutral way. The highly pigmented print inks harden quickly and are free from heavy metals and solvents. The print uses high dynamic range imaging, and are robust and long lasting. Not least, the bags of the FRAME series, where advertising is applied, are free of UPVC and thus can do without the associated softeners – just like all our innovations, which await you in 2020.
Meet the innovations at the PSI – register now!
Have we made you curious? You have an opportunity to meet us and our NEWCOMERS in person at the PSI 2020 in Düsseldorf. Register now for the leading European trade show of the promotional products industry, which takes place from 7th to 9th January. We look forward to meeting you!