Used woollen garments shredded and sorted into colour piles, ready for recycling
Our impact since 2016:
- We've diverted 5,427kg of textiles waste from landfill
- We’ve donated 284 blankets and $8595 to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne
- We've spoken to over 2000 people about closed loop design and business practices at talks, events and workshops
- In 2017 we crowdfunded $32,000 to help fund the research and development of using other businesses' textile waste to make more blankets – you can check out our project with local Sydney label Citizen Wolf’s offcuts here.
- We were awarded $30,000 in funding from Macquarie Group in 2018/9 to continue development of textiles waste to resource products.
- We were awarded The Design Files' Sustainability Design Award in 2019.
All of our blankets are made with recycled textiles; some pre-consumer and some post-consumer waste. Pre-consumer waste is the textiles waste associated with the manufacturing process – offcuts, overruns and deadstock yarn. Post-consumer waste is old garments that can’t be donated or re-worn (like holey woollen sweaters). You can read about what type of waste your blanket is made from on each product page, and in How It’s Made.
To date we have diverted 5,427kg of textile waste from landfill by making blankets
But what happens to your blanket when you no longer want it? Well, we use the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s circular economy principles to determine the best second life for your blanket. So before we remanufacture old blankets, we find use for them in their current form. This means, we keep resources at their highest value for as long as possible and don’t use unnecessary resources like water and energy to remanufacture a blanket that still has life left in it.
So if you have a Seljak Brand blanket but no longer want it, we collect it free of charge using Sendle, a carbon neutral courier service. If it’s in good condition (no rips, holes or stains), we launder it and donate it to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre for distribution to their members.
If it’s no longer fit for re-use and donating, we recycle it through one of our recycling partners. The blankets made in Lithuania get collected and sent in bulk back to the same mill they’re made. Here, they’re put back into the recycling process and shredded and made into a new yarn along with production offcuts. Our Australian-made blankets are sent to Upparel for onshore textiles recycling into new products, like their Flip Up couch for kids.
If you have a Seljak Brand blanket that you’d like recycled, please email email@example.com and we’ll give it a second life. This is how we close the loop.
Since launching in 2016, we’ve supported the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) with blanket and monetary donations. The ASRC provides job training, access to health services and legal advice, as well as food and household goods for asylum seekers.
Seljak Brand has donated 284 blankets and $8595 to the ASRC.
Until mid-2020, we donated a blanket to the ASRC in Melbourne for every 10 blankets sold. Over the course of the year it became clear that monetary donations could more effectively cover the very immediate needs of refugees and people seeking asylum. Since July 2020, for every blanket sold, we donate $5 to the ASRC to cover the cost of the highest-need material aid, like food and toiletries. Supporting the work of the ASRC is important to us as our grandparents were refugees from Slovenia.
"My English student's little girl always fetches her special blanket to sit on when she has her lunch. She loves her blanket. Thank you Seljak for giving this little girl something special of her own." – Danila, English tutor for asylum seekers, Melbourne
Read more about our work with the ASRC.
Seljak Brand exemplifies closed-loop systems and design through recycled blankets. As well as producing products, we engage individuals and organisations in conversations at talks, workshops and events about how we can better make and use things to reduce our impact on the environment and achieve sustainability outcomes. We align our work to the Sustainable Development Goal #12: Responsible Production and Consumption and #13 Climate Action.
Seljak Brand delivers inspiring, content-rich presentations and participates on panels to discuss closed loop design for products and systems, and textiles and fashion sustainability. We have spoken at conferences, universities, corporate offices and festivals to share the Seljak Brand story and explore ways to solve local and global challenges.
We've spoken at:
- Sydney Design Festival
- Melbourne Design Week
- Sustainable Living Festival
- Purpose Conference
- Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF)
- Woolmark’s Naturally Inspiring
- Interface x Edge Environment’s Circular Threads
- University of New South Wales (UNSW)
- Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
- Malmö University
- Macquarie University
- Brisbane Girls Grammar School
Get in touch for speaking opportunities.
Understanding the circular economy is the first step toward using waste as a resource and a framework that’s used to help achieve sustainability outcomes. Seljak Brand offers half-day circular economy workshops for individuals and organisations on key principals and the circular economy in action, with the opportunity to be guided in applying learnings to a real-world example. Get in touch to book a workshop for your group or organisation.
Seljak Brand hosts community events to enable conversation about global issues on a local level. We discuss things like how you can contribute to reducing global warming and how creativity can be leveraged to create systems change. Check out the events we’ve organised, and explore the themes and outcomes further below:
- It’s a climate emergency: What do we do now?
- Beach artwork to protest the government's 'gas-fired recovery'
- Art as action: Finding the role of creativity in the face of a climate crisis
- Disrupting fashion to save the world: Limiting global warming to 1.5°C
We worked with the Carbon Reduction Institute to quantify and offset our carbon footprint, and create an ongoing strategy for carbon neutrality. We conducted both an operational review (day-to-day running of the business) and a life cycle analysis of our products to get a complete picture of Seljak Brand’s impact, from when we first started Seljak Brand in 2016 until July 31, 2020.
Last financial year we emitted 7.12 tonnes of CO2e (tCO2e) from an operational perspective and 3.44 tCO2e based on blankets manufactured and sold.
Recycled wool compared to new wool
Using recycled materials in the creation of new products does indeed make a big difference to carbon footprint. Because we work with recycled materials, our product footprint was very low. In fact, we got the Carbon Reduction Institute to measure exactly what the difference is when making a blanket from new wool vs recycled wool.
Using recycled wool saves 13 times the carbon emissions of new wool.
A new wool blanket (with a weight of 1kg) has a carbon footprint of 45.5 kilograms of CO2 emissions (kgCO2-e). A recycled wool blanket of the same size (which is the equivalent of a Seljak Brand blanket) has a carbon footprint of 3.4kgCO2-e.^
Offsetting carbon emissions
We offset our carbon emissions through the Rimba Raya project in Indonesia, which conserves 65,000 hectares of peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan in Borneo. Originally slated for a palm oil plantation, Rimba Raya has avoided more than 130 million tonnes of carbon emissions, while creating meaningful job opportunities for the communities living in the area, and protecting the highly endangered orangutan population.
As well as offsetting last financial year’s carbon footprint, we offset for the previous years we’ve been in business. This is equivalent to taking 10 cars off the road for one year.
But is carbon offsetting really helping global warming? Offsetting emissions while continuing business-as-usual is NOT going to respond adequately to the climate crisis. But it’s a step in the transition to a more sustainable and just world and encourages carbon emissions reduction industry-wide.
^Resource use and greenhouse gas emissions from three wool production regions in Australia. Wiedemann, S.G., et al. 112, s.l. : Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016
^Barber, Andrew and Pellow, Glenys. LCA: New Zealand Merino Wool Total Energy Usage. 2006
^Cardoso, Albino Andre Moreira. Life Cycle Assessment of Two textile Products. 2013