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How going ‘green’ when it comes to sportswear and kit is the easy option

A man working on an embroidery machine

How going ‘green’ when it comes to sportswear and kit is the easy option

More manufacturers are realising the importance of providing environmentally conscious clothing and kit.

This ranges from recycled polyester made from old plastic bottles, environmentally-sourced cotton, or creating new material with a lower carbon footprint.

Premier Sports, based in Colgate, West Sussex, has been supplying the sports sector for more than 25 years and has seen a massive shift over the years in the materials used to make clothing.

Paul Cartwright, marketing manager, said: “Most of the brands now have some environmental or recycled component within their clothing.

“I think this is more brand-led and manufacturer-led than consumer-led, but the brands are not going to be doing it without some research before so they must be getting triggers.”

Brands such as Nike have been working hard to try to hit their Move to Zero target, with 100 per cent of the cotton they use across their entire product line certified organic, recycled or Better Cotton sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).

But the smaller brands are making great strides as well.

“We all have a duty to care for the planet we live in,” says Paul. “I do think brands have recognised that.

“Stanno do make a range called First Collection and they have spoken about the environmental qualities of the range, made entirely from recycled material.”

Reusing and recycling kit is another important consideration.

“In the old days you would get a club that would make their kit last two to three seasons, but now it is every season,” says Paul.

“If you do not spend a huge amount of money on your kit it won’t last much more than a season, but if you spend more it is going to last longer.”

Different recycling schemes exist to help reuse unwanted kit.

“Sussex County FA works with [Sussex to Africa and] Kit Aid, where if a club has finished with a kit they can send that to Sussex County FA and it will go to other countries where it can be given a second life,” explains Paul. “I do really think clubs should really think about giving it a second life.”

At Premier Sports, alongside making sure they work with environmentally credited brands, they have dramatically reduced the waste from incorrect ordering and improved their recycling systems at their warehouse and offices in Colgate.

So if there was one key but of advice or learning Premier Sports would share while negotiating their sustainability journey what would it be?

“You have got to have leadership that takes it on board,” says Paul. “If you have got the leadership on board it is a lot easier.”

An industrial looking building where Premier Sports is based.
Premier Sports. Picture by Simon Roe
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