To our competitors in the sustainable hosiery sector,
We proudly stand together in our efforts to make the tights industry less wasteful, but in the interests of total transparency for our clients, we need to set the record straight on a few things.
Billi London tights are certified 100% biodegradable. And, as far as we know, we were the first brand to do this in May 2020 when we launched our crowdfunding campaign (sorry Hedoine).
We use a blend of Amni Soul Eco® Nylon and ROICA™ V550 Elastane, both of which are enhanced biodegradable fibres. They enable our tights to biodegrade in a record time of around 5 years*, versus 40 to 100 years for traditional tights made with standard or even recycled materials.
Not just the nylon. Not just the elastane. 100% of our fibres break down in a record time, leaving zero microplastics in landfills. How do we know this? Because we’ve spent over two years in Research & Development with our partners gaining the certifications to prove it.
What our biodegradable tights cannot do is be composted, and as far as we know, no tights can (sorry again, Hedoine). Admittedly, compostability is a form of biodegradation, but its scientific decomposition process is very different and requires different conditions.
As pioneers of biodegradable hosiery, we know it’s impossible to recycle an old pair of tights into a new one. This is because the technology to separate both materials – nylon and elastane – does not yet exist. So when tights reach the end of their life and are disposed of in a bin, they pollute. Even tights made from other recycled materials such as fishing nets (sorry Swedish Stockings).
Let us be clear, we’re not promoting landfills. Instead, we are offering a solution where recycling options for tights are limited, while also understanding that 57%** of textile waste is redirected to landfills.
We’re working towards a future where we can recover the waste generated by tights in landfills and transform them into renewable energies – our innovative materials break down into biomass and biogas, which in turn creates renewable energies.
So yes Swedish Stockings, biodegradable tights are real – a revolutionary way for the industry to reduce the waste generated by hosiery in landfills. And while sustainability and ethics remain at the heart of our brand, we simply cannot stand back and be indirectly accused of greenwashing, not after all our efforts to ensure our tights are the most sustainable they can be.
Neither are we interested in mudslinging as marketing, instead, let’s combine our efforts in trying to make the fashion industry more accountable and less wasteful as a whole.
We hope this letter clarifies a few matters and we would be happy to discuss further and directly with you. After all, we’re hopefully all driven by the same goal – to make a genuine difference by creating better, wonderfully stylish, less polluting tights for the women and men who want to wear them.
Sophie & Marie
*In landfills. Reference system: ASTM D5511 - Std test Method for the Determination of Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastics Under High-solids Anaerobic Digestion Condition
**Pulse Report 2017