Cycling is itself an environmentally sustainable activity and we look to ensure everything we do as a club aligns with that approach.
As Kit Manager, I work with our suppliers and regularly review opportunities to increase our use of sustainable products and evolve our processes to reduce our environmental footprint.
A lot of the cycling kit you wear today is Polyester based, with Elastane, Nylon and Polyamide, amongst others materials. It may be under fabric brand names but essentially that's what you're wearing and very little is produced from recycled material.
Polyester itself is a by-product of the Petroleum industry and it's used in sports clothing due to its abrasion resistance, light weight and quick drying properties. It is recycle-able, and can be turned back into fibres and yarn for the textile industry to use.
Milltag is our primary partner and supplies our kit. Based in London, with their factory in Slovakia we've been working with them for years. Since mid 2020, they've been working with their factory to introduce more recycled fabrics into their products, testing and refining. Recently, I had a conversation with Pete Kelsey, Director, to get the latest (November 2021) information and our options.
1.Where are the fabrics for our products produced?
All the fabrics, including the Eco Fabrics come from Italy, mainly from the supplier Miti. The exceptions are the bib short Lycra fabric, blue and black, which comes from Spain (Sportwear Argentina) and the fabric CoolPlus which we use only on the club jersey body which is sourced in Poland.
2. Which of our products could leverage recycled fabrics?
Ok, the products we could conceivably transition to a fully recycled product are:
⁃ Club Jersey
⁃ Pro jersey (reduce to 2 fabrics from 4)
⁃ Black bib shorts
⁃ Black bib tights
⁃ Pro Gilet (albeit using materials with a different look and feel)
There is no navy eco fabric currently available, and the technical properties of the aqua jacket make this difficult to find a replacement.
3. Of those products, is it just the polyester which is recycled or are there other components?
No, there are 3 main material components in your cycling kit; Polyester, Elastane & Lycra (Nylon). All 3 are available as recycled options. Also, we have zips from recycled plastic but elements such as gummi, reflectives, transfers etc are not from recycled materials. Both our pad suppliers use recycled organic cotton for the pad covers, I’m not sure of the provenance of the pad foam as this varies from product to product but there is more info here for men’s, and here for women’s.
4. Of the recycled fabrics, what is the percentage of recycled material in them?
5. Do you know the source of the recycled material going into the fabrics - where it's being collected from?
The manufacturer doesn’t often pass on this info, sorry.
6.The cost increase of all products we carry to move to recycled?
In general the eco materials add around £1 per unit but in some cases reducing the material count will more than offset this increase.
7. Any changes in design/fit moving to recycled?
No changes to the fit
8. Are there any developments in the industry to move to organic materials but still retain the current technical qualities? Merino wool etc
Merino is an organic, sustainable product for sure but it’s expensive and not really printable or customisable. The issue we have in terms of new fabrics is that the min orders are usually 500-700m, enough for around 1000 pieces. It’s quite a commitment so we need to know there is enough demand. Material costs are typically only 20% max of the finished garment price so buying in bespoke expensive materials can push up the price considerably. We tend to let the factory take the lead on buying materials so they bear the cost not us but can instruct them to buy on our behalf if you have a specific requirement.
9.Is there any change in production time when ordering with recycled material?
Not usually but there are supply chain issues across Europe so there can be delays, but not specifically for Recycled materials.
- Club jersey
- Youth Jersey
- Pro jersey
- Pro Bibshorts - Black
- Bibtights - Black
Each product page on the shop for these items contains detailed information on the fabrics used. Pro Gilet is pending.
For questions on this topic drop me a mail - firstname.lastname@example.org