Textile Recycling / Repurposing
Together with Second Life Textile we collect used clothes or textiles and employees at our Flagship Store. This collected textiles will be used for recycling purposes and repurposing, by giving them a second life or by creating for example cleaning rags, as mattress stuffing or as yarn from which new clothes are made. For this reason we have a textile container in the back of our store, where our customers, employees and store visitors can dispose of their used textiles and clothes. As professionals in textile collection, Second Life Textile knows all about this part of the circle. Day in and day out, they collect clothing with their textile containers; which are sorted by their certified partners according to usability, quality, type and material.
Stichting UPV Textiel (a Dutch foundation) makes agreements with municipalities, collectors, sorters, recycling shops, recyclers and with companies that develop new initiatives for the collection and processing of textiles. As a member we make sure to comply with all our legal obligations to increase the percentage of waste for reuse and recycling. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) holds producers and importers, such as Filling Pieces, accountable for the entire cycle of a product, up to and including the waste phase. By doing so, the government wants to encourage companies to raise an increasing percentage of waste for reuse and recycling and make it available as a new raw material. Other industries such as car tires, cars, mattresses, packaging and electrical appliances also work with EPR. Similar EPR regulations are already in place in other EU countries and EPR legislation will be mandatory in the EU from 2025.
The EPR for Textiles Decree is a legal obligation and came into force on July 1st, 2023. With the Decree, producers and importers of clothing and household textiles become responsible for the waste phase of products they release on the Dutch market.
The EPR for Textiles Decree holds producers and importers individually accountable for:
• Organizing an appropriate separate collection system and financing it.
• The obligation to ensure recycling and reuse of collected textiles.
The Dutch government has defined targets to this; 50% of the release on the Dutch market must be recycled/reused in 2025, gradually increasing to 75% in 2030. Currently, approximately 35% is reused and recycled.
Our cotton is 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton. A textile product with the label grade 'organic' must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres. Organic fibres are natural fibres grown without the use of synthetic pesticides (such as insecticides), or herbicides and GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms) according to the principles of organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is a production process that sustains the health of ecosystems, soils and people. It imposes requirements on factories regarding the use of harmful chemicals and the consumption of water and energy. It also includes criteria for working conditions in production that are based on international labour organisation standards, such as the right to freedom of trade unions, fair wages, working hours, and the right to safe and healthy working conditions. The compliance with GOTS requirements is monitored by independent, accredited organisations.
All steps in the processing, manufacturing and trading of organic textiles are covered by GOTS. All must be certified to strict ecological and social criteria in order for the product to carry the GOTS label. In this way, the GOTS puts an end to greenwashing.
A few differences between Organic cotton and regular cotton:
• Regular cotton comes from genetically modified seeds, where synthetic pesticides (such as insecticides), or herbicides and GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms) and other harmful chemicals are needed. Natural seeds are used to produce organic cotton, and pesticides and other harmful chemicals are not used.
• Regular cotton contaminates the soil, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and harms wildlife. Which in turn can lead to local villagers and farmers drinking from polluted local water and unavoidably consuming these chemicals.
• The production of regular cotton also releases massive amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, making it a genuine threat to our planet. As organic cotton is grown without harmful chemicals, it leaves the soil, air, and water free from contamination. It also produces around 46% less CO2 emissions than regular cotton.
• Organic cotton is made on organic farms. These farms use natural methods to grow cotton, such as compost, instead of fossil fuel-based fertilizers.
• When comparing regular cotton vs. organic cotton for water use, organic cotton uses 91% less water than regular cotton. Because organic cotton comes from an organic farm, the soil used acts like a sponge, soaking up water during floods and saving water.
• At Filling Pieces 100% of our shoe boxes are FSC Labeled. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world's forests. Since its foundation in 1994, FSC has grown to become the world's most respected and widespread forest certification system. This label means that the shoe box is made with a mixture of
• 60% of our Leather is sourced from a Leather Working Group Gold Certified supplier and 40% from a Leather Working Group Silver Certified supplier. In addition 60% of our leather is: bovine leather, a by-product to the meat industry.
• Made out of 90% biobased renewable materials, our tannery is the world’s 1st tannery with a USDA Biobased Certification.
• Der Blaue Engel Certified. Blue Angel certified products better protect the environment and people's health. Sourced from a supplier that is carbon neutral, by their investments, energy efficiency and carbon offsetting projects.
•Oeko-Tex certified, every component of the product, from the fabric to the thread, has been rigorously tested against a list of up to 350 toxic chemicals.
Our Shoe Components
• 90% of our shoe soles are sourced from suppliers holding ISO 14001 and 9100 approval. ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed standard for environmental management. ISO 9001 is an internationally agreed standard for quality management.
• Our shoe linings are 95% Oeko-Tex certified and PETA Approved Vegan friendly. PETA Approved signifies that it is cruelty-free and doesn’t involve animal-derived materials.
The Leather Working Group (LWG)
This certification ensures that leather manufacturers adhere to strict environmental protocols. This includes for example responsible water usage, reduced energy consumption, and proper waste management. The Leather Working Group (LWG) is an international, non-profit organisation that develops and maintains protocols that assess the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of leather manufacturers and to promote appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry. The group offers the LWG Environmental Audit Protocol as a means of assessing and rating the environmental performance and related business practices of leather manufacturers. Leather manufacturing facilities are then given a rating from 0 to 100 as follows:
1. Gold: The manufacturer has been audited and received at least the minimum scoring (85) for a Gold medal classification – the highest LWG rating.
2. Silver: The manufacturer has been audited and received at least the minimum scoring (75) for a Silver medal classification.
3. Bronze: The manufacturer has been audited and received at least the minimum scoring (65) for a Bronze medal classification.
4. Audited: The manufacturer has been audited but did not reach the minimum percentage score required for a medal classification.
Biobased Renewable Materials
Our leather tannery is the world’s 1st tannery that has received the USDA Certified Biobased Product certification. This label assures that the product contains a USDA-verified amount of renewable biological ingredients derived from renewable sources such as a plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. Biobased products provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products, which can result in safer and healthier workplaces. Since biobased products are derived from renewable raw materials such as plants, they can help reduce CO2 and offer other advantages such as lower toxicity. It increases the use of renewable agricultural / renewable resources, and contributes to reducing adverse environmental and health impacts. For example, biobased products displace around 300 million gallons of petroleum per year in the U.S., which is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
Der Blaue Engel certification
Der Blaue Engel certified products better protect the environment and people's health, through concrete benefits such as:
• limited water consumption in the production process; • raw hides and skins must be sourced in a sustainable way;
• prudent use of resources during use or disposal;
• the absence of harmful consequences on health and the environment because of their low-emission content; and
This label certifies that every component of the product, from the fabric to the thread and accessories, has been rigorously tested against a list of up to 350 toxic chemicals. Since 1992, STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® has been the world's best-known and worldwide trusted label for textile safety.
Our Shoe Components:
95% of the lining of our shoes is Oeko-Tex certified and PETA Approved Vegan friendly. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Approved signifies that a product has met certain standards set by PETA, ensuring it’s cruelty-free and doesn’t involve animal-derived materials. By choosing PETA Approved products, you’re making the conscious decision to support brands that prioritize animal welfare.
Laces and Nylon Pull Straps:
All our laces and nylon pull straps are Oeko-Tex Certified.
90% of our shoe soles are sourced from sole suppliers that are ISO 14001 and 9100 approved.
ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed standard for environmental management. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste. An environmental management system helps organizations identify, manage, monitor and control their environmental issues in a “holistic” manner. It requires that an organization considers all environmental issues relevant to its operations, such as air pollution, water and sewage issues, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resource use and efficiency. Like all ISO management system standards, ISO 14001 includes the need for continual improvement of an organization’s systems and approach to environmental concerns.
ISO 9001 is an internationally agreed standard for quality management. It helps organizations of all sizes and sectors to improve their performance, meet customer expectations and demonstrate their commitment to quality. Its requirements define how to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve a quality management system (QMS). Implementing ISO 9001 means that the organization has put in place effective processes and trained staff to deliver flawless products or services.
Our team / Social Impact
We have made the conscious decision to travel less as a company and team. In case we have to travel we make sure to choose eco-friendly transportation alternatives, such as taking the train. Our policy is that all booked flights must be carbon neutral if possible. Which means that when booking a flight we pay an extra fee which is donated to a carbon offset scheme to offset the flight's CO2-emissions.
Our HQ is located at the heart of Amsterdam, which makes it easily accessible. Therefore, our employees come to work mainly by bicycle or public transportation. We also offer an electric office bike for any errands that need to be run.
We encourage our employees to partly work from home to avoid unnecessary traveling to our headquarter. To match our hybrid working policy we moved into a modern and efficient office space. At our HQ we use green energy. In 2022 our energy provider generated energy by wind turbines (95.8%), hydropower stations (4.1%) and solar power (0.1%). Our energy provider explains green energy as follows; The Dutch electricity grid contains a mix of green and gray energy. Green energy comes from natural sources, such as the sun and wind. Gray energy often comes from coal-fired (fossil) power plants. Obviously you don't get different power out of your socket if you choose green energy instead of gray energy. But this way you contribute to power production from natural sources. Because the more people demand 100% green energy, the less coal-fired power is needed. Imagine the power grid as a big pool full of green and gray energy. From that one pool we all tap our energy. So the more green energy that goes into the pool, the less gray is needed to fill the pool.
At Filling Pieces we have created our own Culture Club, a club that creates a company culture programme that activates our 5 company values. These 5 values weave through all our activities, serving as a guiding thread. In the spirit of “practice what you preach” we want to create a more aware and committed workspace through for example different workshops or speakers that we invite to our HQ to educate and inspire our team.
Our following 5 company values are:
•United by Diversity We believe that our differences unite us.
• Driven by Culture We understand that culture is created by the people, for the people.
• Independent Creativity We recognise the important role that creative expression plays in enriching our lives.
• Pragmatic Ambition We know that, as a community, we can accomplish anything.
• Transparency We know and value the importance of being totally honest.
Products that do not meet our quality standards or products that are illegal copies of our products and are therefore taken out of the market, are purposely used for charity organizations we work with.
In legal matters where certain brands have copied our products and therefore have to stop selling those products, we ask that brand to ship the stock of infringing products to charity organizations we work with, such as Elman Peace located in Somalia, Klabu and Because We Carry.
Products that do not meet our quality standards are sent to Klabu. Klabu is a young organization based in Amsterdam, a social enterprise that uses sports to transcend borders and works with refugees and local communities to build clubhouses that change lives. They work directly with refugee communities around the world, who lead their own projects.
Every year on July 1st, we celebrate Keti Koti, as the founder of Filling Pieces is of Surinamese descent. "Keti Koti" means "broken chains" in Sranantongo and commemorates the abolition of slavery in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles in 1863. On this day our HQ is therefore closed. For this celebration we create limited edition soccer jerseys every year. The proceeds from these jerseys go directly towards an important Surinamese charity, such as the Ilonka Elmont Foundation In 2022. As of 2023 we have joined forces with Klabu’s talented community to build a Filling Pieces x KLABU Clubhouse in Suriname. You can find more information here.
Lastly, our Filling Pieces Culture Club makes sure to add activities for our team that benefit the charities we work with, such as Klabu or Because We Carry. For example we ask our team to join certain social activities the charities organize, such as sports activities with immigrants and refugees at Klabu.
We have created a Low Top line which is made more responsibly. This Low Top line is called the “Low Top 683”, because 6,83 Euro is the total additional cost to produce a more responsible shoe. Here's the breakdown of the additional costs for each component that makes the Low Top 683 a responsible choice.
We've teamed up with True Cost Label for a comprehensive Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). Specializing in the fashion sector, they break down our supply chain at a granular level. The product is broken down at a component level, looking at every single kilogram of material and production process needed to make the shoe, capturing the full environmental and social impact. From leather tanning, rubber synthesis to the cutting, stitching, pressing and molding, and every step in between, our LCA covers it all. We're not just making a more responsible shoe; we're creating transparency. The environmental and social impacts of raw material production and manufacturing are calculated, giving you the true story behind your footwear. For this they make sure to also trace the transportation routes, from the raw materials to our store, revealing the total kilometers our product travels. Below you can see the result of the LCA of our Low Top 683, click here for the full report: