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Johnstons of Elgin Sustainability

FEWER CHEMICALS

October 2019

"Vertical" textile manufacturing is where each component of a product is supplied to the next stage in the process within a single location. As Scotland's only vertical mill, we dye, spin, weave and finish all our products on site. As a result, we have absolute control over what goes into our products and what goes out during our processes.

Our fibres have been selected by us to our own extremely rigorous standards. In addition to sourcing the finest, highest quality cashmere and wool from around the world, we use traditional manufacturing processes, which are as gentle with the environment as they are with our delicate fibres. We know exactly how each process is carried out because it is done here on our own sites.

Johnstons of Elgin Dyehouse

For example, many manufacturers will buy cheaper, dark fibres and heavily bleach them to produce a lighter base for dyeing to their desired colours. Our complete control of the manufacturing process allows us to select fibres close to the desired end colour, minimizing both bleaching and dyeing. In addition to the immediate environmental impact of bleaching, it can be extremely damaging to fibres. Avoiding this is one of the many ways we are able to produce softer finished products with a longer life expectancy.

Scotland's soft water allows us to use minimal chemicals in the treatment of our wool and cashmere. As some chemicals are naturally occurring, we measure our effluent to ensure these levels remain at a minimum.

Johnstons of Elgin Dyehouse

As members of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) programme, all our dyes and chemicals are on their approved list. Founded in 2011, in response to the Greenpeace DeTox campaign, ZDHC aims to eliminate the use of priority hazardous chemicals in the global textile, leather and footwear value chain.

One example of the value of the ZDHC programme is the elimination of APEO's (Alkylphenol ethoxylates) from our supply chain. Until just a few years ago APEO's were widely used in cleaning (scouring) wools and cashmere. By adopting the strict standards of the ZDHC programme we have been able to eliminate the use of APEO's in the scouring of our wools and cashmere. Also, by influencing the development and selection of detergents for our suppliers we believe we have influenced the removal of this from an extremely wide section of the textile industry.

Johnstons of Elgin Dyehouse

Using fewer chemicals is not just a response to environmental concerns. It is the long-standing secret of Scottish cashmere. Soft Scottish water, generations of skills and the very best technology all combine to make cashmere and woollen products which are intrinsically soft. This means that the beautiful softness which tempts you to invest in our products will not only endure but will improve through your garment's lifetime.

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