by Team Sage Sustainability
“Fashion gets a dose of Sustainability and beats the myth of ‘sustainable is expensive’ with Indian entrepreneurs solving the problem of post-consumer PET bottles through their ‘Ecoline’ apparel range.
What is unique about Ecoline clothing:
If there are problems in this world, there are also those who are finding solutions. ‘Ecoline’ clothing converts post-consumer PET bottles into fashionable clothing that can be bought from anywhere in India directly from the brand website or through other e-commerce platforms. The clothing is sold direct to consumers and has a range of options for both men and women. This company is spinning the problems of the world into solutions that create more awareness and inspire others to do the same.
A technology-driven family, where mother and father both engineers from IIT come together with the son, an experienced hand in IT to start their dream enterprise is still a rare occurrence in India. Mr. Sankar, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Sankar, and Mr. Senthil are proving to the world that what matters is the mission behind an enterprise and the right skills and vision to move beyond the challenges. The coming together of the family with practical experience, understanding of the world, and advantage of networks from their own professional fields along with a passion for solving one of the world’s major problems, ocean plastics is indeed an inspiration for many who may think that they are old for starting up something new.
Can Sustainable Fashion be affordable?
One of the unique propositions of the brand is that they would like to create affordable clothing that is stylish and fashionable. You do not have to think twice before purchasing stylish casual wear which can be ordered from anywhere in India. The company has an attractive range of men’s and women’s wear, which ranges from top and bottom wear, t-shirts and jackets. The recent addition to this range is Modi Jackets which is catering to the contemporary demand.
‘Ecoline’ tackles PET bottle waste problem:
The world is using a million PET bottles per minute as per some estimates. PET wastes do not get decomposed easily and pose a real threat to ocean wildlife. With a resolve to recycle PET bottles within a 300 km range, this company recycles 12 Lakh plastic bottles in a day creating 20 tons of fibers. Senthil is enthusiastic and upbeat about this brand becoming a global brand as its vision for the future.
Economy is Circular, not linear anymore
‘Ecoline’ takes the zero waste mission to the next level and takes its process as seriously as its product. When asked, what happens to the waste that is generated within the organization, Mr. Sankar responds with great pride that “not only our product is based from waste but the waste from our process becomes the raw material for making bricks”. Even caps from the PET bottles are utilized to convert those to plastic trays. Food waste becomes organic fertilizer for the organic cotton blend that they use for the clothing range.
Protecting Soil and Water
When asked why organic cotton blend, Senthil asserts that it is the use of excess water in conventional cotton that is really the issue. Organic cotton is the only cotton they use to make the fabric truly sustainable. Organic agriculture helps soil rejuvenate. The company has further created Miyawaki forests at its’ campus to assure the green landscape. Miyawaki method is an afforestation technique that used native trees for creating a multilayered forest that comes up quickly. This helps in sequestration of carbon, soil rejuvenation, apart from reducing the heat island effect in cities.
Can dyeing be eco-friendly?
Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Sankar is passionate about the clothing range that is based on dope dye technology. Valuing her education and training and a deep understanding of the processes, she explains how because of the conventional dyeing processes that trillions of gallons of water need treatment. However, in this technology which is called dope dye technology, there is not a single drop of water that is used.
Sustainability all the way
Leaving nothing out of the scope of zero waste and resource conservation philosophy, the water used for cleaning the bottles is reused. The manufacturing unit consumes energy from renewable sources for at least 10 months in a year and two months from the grid. Bottle caps are used to make vegetable trays, battery cases and wrappers are used in the cement industry as boiler feed.
Ecoline Manufacturing started in Karur as Shree Renga Polymers in 2008 pegging on the experience of Mr. Sankar K in Polymer technology. Shree Renga Polymers started recycling PET bottles into flakes and then ventured into manufacturing of recycled Polyester fiber in 2015. Shree Renga Polymers believed in clean and green technology and supported Mother Nature to have its natural beauty away from landfills and leaching of any chemicals. Kirthi Apparels’ was started later to launch the brand ‘Ecoline’. As a closed-loop supply chain, armed with a patent for the process of rPET fiber, the business is determined to prove that carbon positive is the way to march towards the future. Received ‘Excellence and Innovation Award’ from YES for Green business, the company is ISO 9001:2015 and GRS certified and is poised to go global for solving not only the plastic crisis but also inspiring other entrepreneurs that sustainability is a future opportunity.