Life cycle of a t-shirt

BTI we understand how important it is to assess your products total environmental impact. That you must start by examining its life cycle. (See below: "The Life Cycle of a T-Shirt) This represents a mindset shift beginning at a design level. Interacting with your supply chain network will give you ideas for new innovations, cost savings in your supply chain, and information that can help your negotiations with clients.

Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a methodology to assess the environmental impacts of a product, process or service. The International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) defines Life Cycle Assessment as: 'A systematic set of procedures for compiling and examining the inputs and outputs of materials and energy and the associated environmental impacts directly attributable to the functioning of a product or service throughout its life cycle'.

According to the ISO 14040 series, Life Cycle Assessment is conducted by:

Businesses manufacture products, or provide services, by taking a life cycle approach to their daily activities. They take into consideration not only the finished product or service (looking at inputs and outputs at each state of the process, production or service delivery), but also how it will impact the environment and community.

The life cycle of making a t-shirt:

1. Raw Materials - fertilizer, energy, water 2. Processing - energy, cleaners, dyes 3. Manufacturing - energy, waste 4. Packaging - paper, plastics, waste 5. Transport - energy 6. Use - bleach, detergents, water, energy 7. Either one of - Disposal (landfill), or Reuse (go back to 6), or recycle (go back to 1)

A lifecycle approach helps us to engage in whole systems thinking - both understanding the complex interactions between energy and material throughout the life of a product, and thinking in the long term about the impacts these interactions will have on the environment and society.