Navigating your way through the plethora of sustainability icons, logos, badges and certifications can be a minefield. To help you find your way, we have created a simple guide to explain the meaning behind, and best practice usage, for some of the most widely used logos in the garment apparel and packaging industries.
Most logos fall into 3 categories:
- Legally required, general consumer advice or information
- Material specific
- Accreditations for the garment or product
- Let’s start with those legally required or general consumer advice ones; some of these are global, some more country specific but most importantly some are legally required.
The Triman is a legally required logo for recyclable textiles and shoes sold to consumers in France It is there to help consumers understand how to sort out their rubbish. In broad terms, if products have the Triman logo they are meant to be collected in separate waste streams, such as paper or recyclable plastics. If the Triman is not shown, the product is meant to go in general waste.
This symbol is widely used on UK packaging. It has no sustainability or recycling meaning; it simply reminds the consumer to be a good citizen and dispose of the item appropriately.
The Mobius Loop
This is probably one of the most widely recognisable logos worldwide, but most people’s understanding can be a bit hazy. So, to be clear, it does mean that the object is capable of being recycled. It does not mean that the object has been recycled or that is will be accepted in all recycling collection systems. If you see a percentage in the middle, this denotes that the packaging contains x% of recycled material.
The Green Dot
The Green Dot refers to the packaging, but it does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable, will be recycled or has been recycled. It signifies that the brand owner has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe. There is no requirement for the product to be recycled or recyclable in anyway. This is only used in some European countries.
- Moving on to logos that refer to specific materials…
Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)
FSC refers to the whole gamut of wood-based products from furniture to paper tags. It’s widely recognised globally and considered a must have by many retailers and brands. It gives assurance that the wood comes from FSC accredited forests or from post-consumer waste.
There are 3 types of FSC labelling, 100% FSC, FSC Mix, and FSC Recycled. If you want to label your packaging as FSC you need to ensure that your supplier carries up to date FSC chain of custody certification and that they know how to work with FSC to ensure the correct logos are used.
Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
GRS is a globally recognised holistic certification for products with recycled content.
Companies that are GRS accredited are annually independently audited. By using suppliers who have invested in GRS certification retailers and brand owners have the confidence of full chain of custody for recycled yarns or materials used in their garments or labels .
- The following logos and standards are applied to the entire garment, and most require strict accreditations throughout all stages of the garment’s construction.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Label
A garment that carries this label or tag gives assurance that every component of the garment, (every thread, button, accessory and label) has been tested for harmful substances and is harmless in human ecological terms.
To label a garment as OEKO-TEX standard 100, you need to ensure that both your garment manufacturer and your label manufacturer are OEKO-TEX certified.
This is a system used by some well know retailers and brands that provides solutions in sustainable processing and manufacturing. Bluesign’s aim is to give assurance that only companies that act responsibly were involved in the manufacture of a product that is designated with the Bluesign® PRODUCT label.
Brands or retailers can only label their garments as a Bluesign product if they have committed to the Bluesign® SYSTEM.
Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. To use this certification on a garment, a brand or manufacturer must submit their product for assessment for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product is assigned an achievement level (Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) for each category. A product’s lowest category achievement also represents its overall certification level, which is then shown on the labelling.
“At Checkpoint, we are a fully accredited supplier, with a deep understanding of sustainable labelling requirements, holding many of the above accreditations for more than a decade. We are committed to helping our customers meet their sustainability targets and collaborate to develop products that are more sustainable.”
We hope this information is useful, please contact us if we can help you with any part of your sustainability programme.