Last month our Production Manager Jessica and me, Sustainability Manager, visited our producers in India. For Jessica it was the first time in two years seeing them, and for me it was the first time visiting India. It is very important to us to have face to face meetings and time to bond with our producers, because it helps us maintain the close personal relationships we have with all of them. One of those producers is Dibella India, an innovative and sustainable organization, where we have sourced all our cotton fabric since 2021. They are increasingly producing recycled cotton fabric, something that we have been using more frequently in production because of the lower environmental footprint.
Dibella India buys all their raw cotton directly from the Fairtrade & organic certified cooperative Chetna Organic. Dibella’s founder Sreeranga Rajan, who grew up in a family of small-scale cotton farmers himself, is determined to change the cotton textiles industry for the better. He and his team are passionate about guaranteeing sustainable livelihoods for Indian cotton farmers while protecting the soil and our climate. For example, they have recently decided to go beyond organic farming by introducing regenerative cotton farming. This means that the farmers are taught to differentiate their crops in order not to erode the soil. As O My Bag's Sustainability Manager, I greatly value Dibella as a partner, because they always go one step beyond. Not only with regenerative cotton farming - they were also the first Indian company able to supply us with recycled cotton fabric.
Recycled cotton spinning
Increasing the use of recycled fibers is a priority for us because avoiding or minimizing the use of virgin fibers will significantly lower the fabric's environmental impact. In particular, using recycled cotton saves a lot of water usage in the cultivation phase of cotton. Dibella's has been mixing organic cotton with their recycled cotton, but during the visit we learned that they are now able to produce 100% recycled cotton lining. Of course, I wanted to see this whole process with my own eyes!
During our trip, we visited the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified mill in Erode. This is where so-called pre-consumer fabric waste (e.g. cut offs from the manufacturing process) is turned into recycled yarn. We got an extensive tour around the facility, during which we saw the incoming waste, the sorting process, the milling, and the spinning of the yarn. We even climbed on the roof to see all the newly installed solar panels!