Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. We founded this business on the principle of having no negative impact at any stage of the process, hence the name! Here are just some of the ways we try to make ZN as environmentally friendly as possible:
All of our products are certified as being made from organic cotton, recycled plastic, or a blend of the two. These have a drastically lower carbon footprint than conventional cotton or virgin polyester.
We use only water-based, solvent-free, plastic-free inks and heat transfers for garment decoration - even the transfer backings are made of PET, which is all recycled!
Our embroidery is manufactured in the UK or in the "green city" of Freiburg, Germany. It is made with recycled water, uses 60% less water than standard embroidery, and contains no hazardous substances which are often used in the dye process. Using this kind of embroidery maintains the organic certification of our products.
Any tags attached to garments are made of recycled card, attached by recycled string, and the invoice in every box is made of recycled paper.
Our suppliers all have some form of environmental and labour accreditations, and when you enquire about particular products we can list the certifications that apply to it. You can read more about the different types of accreditation by clicking here.
The vast majority of our stock is held in the UK and delivered to us by DPD's carbon neutral service.
Everything sent out by ZNC is sent in plastic-free, recyclable packaging. For public customers ordering from the site, this takes the form of easily recycled letterbox-size cardboard envelopes or craft paper bags. The majority of our B2C packaging now comes from Lil Packaging, and is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. It can even be composted right in your garden due to an additive in the material, and comes with instructions on the bag! It's printed with vegetable ink and made right here in the UK. Boxes are sealed with recyclable paper tape and paper stickers.
For bulk orders ZN never purchases virgin cardboard boxes. We simply reuse boxes we've been sent ourselves from our various suppliers, and appreciate when our suppliers do this too - we once had an order delivered in an old Corn Flakes box! We use recyclable paper tape to seal them, and our postage labels are thermal printed, so no nasty inks there either!
PostageWe use Royal Mail for all our deliveries to consumers across the globe, and sometimes other couriers for bulk orders. We use average delivery emissions data to work out the carbon footprint of our deliveries and then offset these using tree-planting schemes.
Wherever possible we ask suppliers to deliver to us in plastic free packaging. If this isn't possible, we separate all our waste in to different recycling groups using specific bins in our workshop and office, and recycle it through our local council. Because of this policy we divert the vast majority of our waste from landfill. Any returned/damaged garments that can't be sold are either worn by us for work, used as print samples for potential customers, or donated to charity.
One of the most regularly used items in our workshop was parchment paper which is used to prevent ink transfer when printing designs on to garments. Traditionally this is coated in a waxy chemical to make it non-stick, which makes it very difficult to recycle, and this made up the vast majority of our landfill-bound waste. We scoured the internet to find an eco-friendly alternative and found one, made from FSC certified trees, chemical free and best of all - compostable! We now use this or reusable teflon sheets for all prints, reducing our waste even further.
Not only do we offer free educational talks on the environmental impact of the clothing industry and regularly post about the same on our social media pages, but we also are constantly learning within the company.
We aim to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible and actively take steps to reduce emissions and waste wherever possible. Where we can't avoid it, we add it into our annual footprint, calculated using the Carbon Footprint Calculator for small businesses, and then offset this using their tree planting programmes in the UK and around the world.
The Right Partners
We can be quite picky when it comes to who we work with. We're happy to provide clothing to companies and organisations who are genuinely trying to reduce their environmental impact and we have turned down orders from organisations who did not match our vision. If you're wanting a t-shirt that costs less than a cup of coffee, you've come to the wrong people!
We will always do our best to provide the most competitive quotes for our clients, but this will not be at the expense of our environmental principles. You'll be surprised how affordable sustainable clothing can be and as we say - clothing needn't cost the earth, financially or environmentally.