Ties might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to dangers to the environment. However, both the materials and the traditional production process used in tie making are heavily reliant on fossil fuels. So, if you or your organisation are thinking about designing and purchasing new company ties – this is an important thing to bear in mind. Particularly for companies who put a strong emphasis on corporate social responsibility – your choice of tie manufacturer really can make a difference.

How can ties be made more ecologically friendly?

Traditional ties are produced from polyester yarn, which will have been made from crude oil. The process of crude oil can be very damaging to the environment in itself. However, in a world where environmentalism is increasingly important – there are new an innovative technologies which can produce ties in a far more ecologically sound manner. Renewable ties, such as the Eco Tie, can be produced from innovative types of yarn that are made from recycled bottles, rather than crude oil. An increasing number of socially responsible company, are looking at this as a great way to source new ties, which doesn’t hurt the planet

What normally happens to plastic bottles?

Plastic has many useful qualities – it is strong, durable and easily mouldable into all kinds of shapes. Unfortunately, along with this strength and durability, comes a resistance to the normal processes that can break down other waste products such as paper, card, wood and natural fibres. This means that, even if it ends up in landfill, it does not break down quickly – it can remain intact for hundreds of years. In some cases, waste plastics are even dumped in the ocean.

Why are plastics so bad for the ocean?

Many of us will have seen the heart-breaking images of birds and fish tangled up in discarded plastics, or plastic bottles littering an otherwise beautiful coastline. Plastic can have some more subtle impacts on the environment too. As microscopic particles fill the ocean, they can interrupt the food chain – they are ingested by many sea creatures, from tiny shrimp to majestic whales.

A study conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation estimated that over half of the world’s endangered sea turtles had plastic in their guts, thanks to waste products like bottles, straws and balloons being dumped in the ocean. The same study examined 1,000 turtles that had died and found that ingesting a single piece of plastic had been enough to kill some of them. Eating just 14 tiny pieces of plastic meant that there was a 50% chance that the turtle would die – either due to a sharp piece of plastic piercing their organs, or clogging their digestive system. Any process that recycles plastics helps keep them out of the ocean, playing a small part in helping the ocean stay clean and unpolluted.

Ending our reliance on fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are one of the biggest threats to our environment. When fossil fuels are burned, they produce greenhouse gases – including carbon dioxide. These gases are responsible for global warming over time, which has huge negative impacts across the world, from ice caps melting to whole species being wiped out. Traditional ties produced in countries such as China are usually heavily reliant on the use of coal, and other fossils fuels, to power the machinery used during the weaving process. And of course, shipping ties half way around the world means using cargo planes, which again contributes to air pollution as the planes burn through jet fuel at an alarming rate. So if you haven’t previously considered the environmental impact that something as simple as a tie can have – this might be something to bear in mind!