Eco-friendly knitting

While we enjoy making great socks every day, it's important to us to do it responsibly. Whether it's the fibers we source or what we do with production seconds, we strive to make eco-friendly decisions every step of the way. 

 
 Yarn cone cores

Yarn cone cores

scraps

There's always some material created in the knitting process that isn't wearable.  Most mills toss it in the dumpster, but at Sunnyside we partner with amazing textile artists and crafty folks who make beautiful creations out of the scraps. We just can't see those colors go to waste! From weavers to sock-monkey makers, we love seeing the incredible ways these folks use and reuse the materials.   

 

 

 

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Zero waste

Sometimes manufacturing can create a lot of waste that clogs up landfills. At Sunnyside we go out of our way to find ways to repurpose or recycle the packaging that comes through our knitting room floor.

For instance, we go through tens of thousands of cones of yarn every year.  The cardboard cone cores are usually thrown in the trash, but we collect and return them to the yarn supplier to be reused. It's a small thing, but it adds up over time. 

 

 Detail of a rug woven from our scraps

Detail of a rug woven from our scraps

 

sock seconds and donations

What do we do with the socks we can't sell?  In most mills, the production seconds are destroyed, even if they have a small blemish or are made with the wrong color yarn.  At Sunnyside, our seconds are donated to charities all over the United States. For homeless folks, refugees, and foster children, having a clean and dry pair of socks can make all the difference in the world. 

In 2015, we acquired thousands of pounds of perfectly good yarn that was not being used in production. Combining our zero-waste philosophy with our desire to make a difference, we ran otherwise idle machines for the sole purpose of making brand new socks to donate. Our yarn suppliers heard what we were doing and contributed everything from raw materials to finishing services in order to compassionately create warm socks for those in need. During that effort, we donated over a 250,000 pairs of socks to people in need.

 

Sourcing recycled yarns

For over a decade one of our favorite fibers to work with is a yarn made from remnants from t-shirt factories that would normally go into a landfill. These are ground down to basic material and re-spun into beautiful yarn in a rainbow of colors. These recycled yarns are certified by the Global Recycling Standard and Oeko-Tex. Certification requires that our materials are free from harmful substances, made with respect for the environment and respect for human rights. Using these recycled yarns decreases the amount of cotton waste sent to landfills. Our yarns also reduce the amount of water, land, pesticides and herbicides used to grow new cotton fibers as well as eliminates the need for harmful chemicals to dye virgin cotton yarn. 

 Clippings from t-shirt manufacturing.

Clippings from t-shirt manufacturing.

 The clippings are ground down to fluff.

The clippings are ground down to fluff.

 And the colors live on in the yarns we knit with.

And the colors live on in the yarns we knit with.