About five years ago, the founders of Costo, a Finnish company that produces accessories from unused materials in the textile industry, decided to explore opportunities to go further and produce entire fabrics from unused materials, to be able to create collections that they would last longer than half a year.
The team already had years of experience in the textile market in Finland and abroad and a lot of connections that helped them bring the idea forward.
Focus On 100% Sustainable Fabrics
The company was founded in 2013, and soon after Pure Waste established a production facility in India and began producing fabrics using leftover materials from the local textile and clothing industry. The company has now been running its own store successfully for over a year.
The first step in sourcing the raw materials has been a challenge for Pure Waste, but they have managed to keep a strong environmental focus and created a sustainable business. In the beginning, the team was planning to only produce branded 100% recycled fabrics, but they soon realized that without having a consumer product to reach out to a bigger market, they wouldn’t get enough visibility for their brand.
That’s why they chose to begin with just a t-shirt. The company later expanded this into a basic collection of three types of clothing (adding sweaters and hoodies) and three basic colors — white, grey ,and black.
Maintaining a startup mentality
After 2 years of successful operations, Pure Waste is still working under a mentality.
"We are still a small company that has to be alert and know how to make fast decisions, complete U-turns if needed, to drive our business forward," says Hannes Bengs, one of the founders.
Through its early operations, the company has realized that their biggest opportunity lies within B2B markets, especially merchandise and production for big events.
As fabrics still remain their biggest business, Pure Waste do not aim to extend their basic collection by designing new types of clothing or patterns. They collaborate with designers on creating capsule collections and produce fashion shows to promote their sustainable fabrics and create buzz in the industry.
Saving water through innovative production
One brilliant thing about Pure Waste is the impact they and their customers have on the environment. One kilogram of cotton takes from 11000 to 20000 liters of water to be grown.
As they rely on pre-made, leftover fabric, Pure Waste does not use water at all in their production; neither do they use it for dyeing — white Pure Waste fabric is woven from white waste, and so on. "If we just say ‘This is recycled, we save water’ — that message is not strong enough. But if we tell people how much they would save, it makes another story", says Beng, and clarifies that one T-shirt from their store saves 2700 liters of water.
As a comparison, an average person in Nordic Europe uses 300 liters per day.
Pure Waste has been challenging Finnish companies and organizations to save water and is keeping count on their website. There are still a lot of opportunities for the company to explore.
Pure Waste plans to grow and make their fabric available for manufacturers, as well as collaborate with designer brands to create sustainable clothing.