REDUCING THE IMPACT THAT WE, AND OUR PRODUCTS HAVE ON THE PLANET IS A PRIORITY FOR OUR BUSINESS.
Our commitment to being a more sustainable business means not only being at the forefront of the technological design and manufacture, but also making sure our products and business practices have a positive impact on both people and the planet.
We’ve made great leaps in the past couple of years, but we know we still have a way to go but we are dedicated to getting there in the most sustainable manner. It’s not an easy road to take, but by making tough decisions along the way, we can be a driver of change both in our business and our industry for the better.
In the last two years we have focused on the smartest improvements that have the biggest impact on our carbon footprint and we have solid plans to go even further.
Due to the complex processes involved when manufacturing protective clothing, the production and recycling process is far more complex than for typical clothing products. We’re tackling this challenge head on, working as industry leaders to create products with longer lives and to get as close as possible to circular products as possible. We’re making improvements at every step from cradle to grave and throughout our supply chains.
One of the most significant challenges we face as an industry is to use recycled fibres in our fabric development processes, whilst maintaining the protection levels required, and durability required in the types of highly demanding work our products are being used for.
If we get this wrong, garment lifespan reduces, and any sustainability advantages are lost or potentially even made worse by needing to create proportionately more garments. At ProGARM, we take a holistic approach to use of raw materials, combined with longevity of garments to ensure that our garments have as minimal effect on the planet as possible, while saving lives.
In 2022 we were proud to be the first manufacturer globally, to introduce arc flash PPE that contains recycled material, you can see the range here.
This range was years in the making. We needed to create something which would meet the high testing standards arc flash PPE is subjected to, because if you’re caught in an arc flash incident, the result could be life-ending, or life-changing when you’re exposed to intense temperatures hotter than the sun.
Using off-cuts from our own factory and putting them back into the production process removes the question marks over the quality and protection levels of other recycled content which may have been worn and suffered degradation to the protection it offers.
As the protection in the ProGARM range is inherent within the fabrics, protection isn’t compromised by re-using these offcuts as part of the raw fibres to make the material for the new range of coveralls, jackets, and trousers.
With the range we introduced, there is no compromise on performance.
While we have already developed a sustainable range, we are firmly committed to continuing to push the boundaries, searching ways to increase the recycled content in our range, and finding suitable sustainable or recycled fabrics that will never compromise on the protection for the end user.
Longer lasting garments mean that there is less waste, less volume of production/ replacements, and less transport mileage needed, and as a result less natural resources being utilised to re-produce in future.
We carefully develop our ranges for maximum durability and are proud that items in our range have been proven to last up to 70% longer that the nearest competitor equivalents.
In a 12 month period (Sept 2020 – Sept 2021), less than 0.01% of garments sold had any kind of fault reported from those people wearing them that either needed repair or replacement of clothing products.
As a business that creates materials, we manage all levels of the waste hierarchy to reduce our environmental impact.
We are working to increase our fabric usage and ensure none of our waste fabric goes to landfill. Where this cannot be recycled into new fabrics, we investigating how these fabrics can be used in filtration systems.
We are working to increase our fabric use and ensure none of our waste fabric goes to landfill and where this cannot be recycled into new fabrics. We are also looking at options for the fabric to be used in filtration systems.
The safety of the wearer is always our priority, and the robust design and carefully selected fabrics are made to endure. However sometimes zips, buttons and other closure systems can become worn and require replacement before the main body of the garment is worn out. The closure systems of our garments have been rigorously tested to ensure they remain operable following an arc flash incident and must not be repaired with conventional closure systems. Along with our seam guarantee we now offer a repair service for closure systems to stop otherwise usable garments being disposed of, this includes main garment closure systems, cuffs and hem closure and pocket closure systems.
In our drive to ensure our garments can be used for the fully certified period, we have recently launched ProGARM Repair.
Moving forward with new product development, our aim is to ensure that for the lifespan of our products, we will be able to repair all closure systems (zips, buttons, velcro).
ProGARM Recycle is our initiative to ensure that ProGARM garments aren’t among the 350,00 tonnes of textiles that go to landfill in the UK every year. We’ve partnered with an industry-leading textiles recycling company who are committed to sending zero textiles waste to landfill. We are now offering any of our customers the ability to send their garments back to us in bulk and these will then be recycled and re-used for other purposes. 100% of the ProGARM range is able to be recycled through this scheme, via three different routes depending on content type.
Our delivery cartons are already 100% recyclable and we are exploring options to ensure that any future virgin material is FSC certified product in the near future.
As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of arc flash PPE we are acutely conscious of the impact of single use plastic and are constantly taking steps to develop products made from cleaner plastic polymers with smaller carbon footprints. We have recently switched our garment bags to a carbon neutral alternative made from 75% bio-based polymer that is made from a sugar cane by-product that would otherwise go to waste.
Using these garment bags, we will reduce the overall packaging required for garments by over 16%, with a corresponding CO2 reduction of 93.6kg of CO2 per year based on current usage.
The Carbon Trust’s independent certification arm has certified our bio polyethylene bags to PAS2060, the internationally-recognised standard for certifying carbon negativity.
We are trialing recyclable eco-friendly paper tapes to ensure all our cartons are 100% plastic free and conducting a second trial on FSC certificated paper garment bags.
Finished garments are combined on lorries to maximise the efficient use of transport and 99% of our deliveries are by road and sea, and travel up to 60% less miles from production sites to our warehouse that major competitors.
For the past three years we have increased the average number of garments per delivery and in 2020 reduced the overall number of deliveries by 10%.
Arc flash PPE is the last line of defense when it comes to offering protection, yet a lot of brands still don’t give their female garments the level of care and attention needed to get it right. We believe every person should have access to PPE garments that give the best protection for the job they are doing, and this means good fitting products.
It’s no secret that female workers have long been the poor relation when it comes to choice in workwear garments across the industry, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Despite forming a small proportion of technicians in the industries we help to keep safe, we strongly believe that everyone should benefit from the same level of consideration in every garment we design.
By offering a comprehensive range of arc flash garments for people of all genders, we aim to keep more people safe, and enable them to do the job to the best of their abilities, without being impeded from poor PPE.
Always moving forwards
Of course, we are aware that there is much more to being a sustainable business and providing sustainable products than shown on this page. We have numerous projects underway to keep ProGARM and the industry keep moving towards maximum sustainability.
In early 2023 we will be releasing our full sustainability report highlighting our commitments, footpath and accomplishments to ensure transparency of our actions.