The textile industry is hugely wasteful – in 2003 in the USA alone, over 10 million tonnes of textile waste was produced, with only around 3% being recycled and the rest being dumped in landfills or incinerated. Obviously, this is a huge problem but fortunately, more and more people and businesses are becoming aware of this. New Zealand eco-business, Pouch Products, are leading by example and are on a mission to be as low-waste as possible within the textile industry.
Founded back in 2011, Pouch Products offer a range of New Zealand made bags to help people reduce single-use plastics from daily life. They started with one product – the Produce Pouch, a reusable produce bag – and have gone on to make the Grocery Pouch, the Carry Pouch and Calico Food Pouches, as well as products for day to day use such as the Peg Pouch and Swim Pouch.
Pouch Products owner, Sharyn Foster, and her team are passionate about being as low-waste as possible with their business. Each of the unique patterns for the pouches are designed to be cut using as much of the fabric as possible without compromising the functionality of the end product. The few scraps that are left over are then repurposed or composted, leaving as little waste as possible. They also source as much of their material as they can locally, keeping their manufacturing carbon footprint to a minimum – the cords used in the bags are manufactured less than 10kms from their head office.
“Growing up semi-rural and loving nature I’ve always been environmentally conscious to some degree. As I got older and had children it made me even more aware of our impact on the environment.”, says Sharyn.
Being somewhat of an ‘eco-warrior’ herself, Sharyn was determined that her business would not produce the same waste and environmental damage that is common-place within the textile industry. One of the most important factors for her is creating high quality products that will last years and years. So, all of their products are made in New Zealand, where it’s easy to monitor and maintain this high standard. Quality is obviously an extremely important aspect of any product design, but it is unfortunately being overlooked by many companies who ‘greenwash’ by selling cheap, low quality “eco-friendly” products that tend to end up in landfills within a few weeks.
“Some of the first ever produce pouches that are in use most weeks are now seven years old and still going strong. The original test Grocery Pouches still look as new after five years of being used nearly every week” says Sharyn.
Sharyn and her family not only run an eco-friendly business, but try their best to live and eco-friendly lifestyle. The business is operated from their rural property in Horowhenua, meaning planet-friendly practices are essential, such as composting, collecting rain water, and growing all of their own fruit and vegetables using permaculture principles.
Pouch Products are constantly planning what they can bring out next, so you never know when something new might appear. You can keep an eye out over on their website and check out all of their products.