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Article: Earth Day Special – How Y.O.U underwear helps to protect the planet

In Q4 2002, Y.O.U underwear saved enough energy to power a standard 60W lightbulb for 569 days!
Business For Good

Earth Day Special – How Y.O.U underwear helps to protect the planet

This Saturday 22nd April, we’re celebrating Earth Day which is all about protecting the planet’s natural resources for future generations. We're doing our best to ensure that Y.O.U underwear minimises our impact on the planet, so it’s the perfect time to publish our Q4 2022 Impact Report!  

We’re rated one of B Corp’s Best For The World for Environment, and to help demonstrate why, we always publish a quarterly Impact Report for our customers. From saving water, energy and items destined for landfill, selling earrings made from our mailing bags, to planting trees, this blog shares some of our best environmental highlights below...


Saving water and energy

Every piece of Y.O.U underwear is made from Fairtrade and GOTS certified organic cotton and is PETA-approved vegan. Organic cotton is a big win as it uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than traditional cotton. It’s also much safer for farmers and manufacturers to work with organic cotton as pesticides can be deadly. In 2022, we used 319.58 kg of organic cotton which resulted in environmental savings such as.....

Less water consumption

Wondering what acidification is all about? Well it’s is the build-up of chemicals that reduce the pH of the soil. Eutrophication arises from the oversupply of nutrients, most commonly as nitrogen or phosphorus, which leads to overgrowth of plants and algae in the water.

And there’s more green reductions too…..


Net Zero by 2030

We're also mindful of our overall environmental impact, and are committed to being Net Zero by 2030. There'll be lots more coming soon, but so far we've implemented the first phase of our fabric recycling programme and collect our packaging to transform into beautiful earrings. We collect old mailing envelopes from our online orders and work with an artist in London to recycle them into earrings. In 2022 we sent over 896g of plastic to Jay, which was enough for her to create over 224 pairs of earrings! 

 Jewellery Maker Jay at work

(Jewellery Maker Jay at work).


More trees please

Also in 2022 - we’ve been busy planting trees – 429 of them! We’ve done this in collaboration with Ecologi through both our regular newsletter sign ups and also our Black/Green Friday campaign in November. These trees have been planted as part of reforestation projects in Changalane, Mozambique and in the Mau Region of Kenya.

 Ecologi Tree Planting


Saving underwear from landfill

With a dedicated collection box in our Y.O.U Oxford shop and customers also able to send items directly back to us, we've been able to recycle a huge 78.6kg of underwear, socks, tights and swimwear that would otherwise have gone to landfill.  For the first phase we're using TerraCycle® to recycle these items (from us and any other brand), but we're planning to implement a fibre-to-fibre recycling programme in 2023 thanks to the Business Boost grant from Simply Business.


Best For The World

We are always striving to make our underwear, packaging and business more sustainable and ethical - year on year. So we were beyond happy to be recognised as one of the Best For The World™ B Corps of 2022! To be Best For The World, B Corps must have scores in the top 5% of one or more of the five impact areas assessed towards the certification. We achieved Best For The World in two areas - Community and Environment.


Looking ahead

What's next? Our focus areas for 2023 are as follows, we'll be busy!

Going Circular - Having implemented the first phase of our take-back scheme in 2022, recycling old underwear, socks, tights & swimwear with TerraCycle®, we have seen that customers are willing to do this to stop items going to landfill. We'll  develop a fibre-to-fibre recycling programme to improve our impact further, as we want to establish a fully circular business model.

Carbon Neutral - One of our big projects in 2023 will be to calculate our current carbon footprint, not just from the water and energy we use but also through our supply chain, to see where we can make positive changes and reduce our emissions and footprint. We'll be focusing on our digital sustainability, farming and manufacturing processes, and the further steps needed to achieve Net Zero.

Natural Alternatives - Our underwear contains 5% elastane which is crucial for stretch, comfort and quality. However, elastane is made from substances derived from crude oil. We want to find a more sustainable alternative to elastane to make our underwear biodegradable and even more eco-friendly. Currently our dyes are low-impact, and GOTS certified, although we’re also exploring the use of natural dyes.


So last year really was an epic year for our small business! On top of these great environmental savings that we’ve chosen to highlight this Earth Day, there’s so much more to celebrate too. We launched new products as a direct result of customer feedback, implemented the first phase of our underwear recycling programme, smashed our donated pants target to name but a few of our proudest achievements.

For a transparent summary of how we've reduced our environmental impact, increased our social one and the low down on our wins, misses and targets, you can read the full 2022 Impact Report here.


Did you enjoy this Impact Report blog post? Read similar ones here:

Best of Y.O.U in 2022

Positive Pants: Our Impact in 2021


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