Have you ever wondered where a green 3 tee shirt comes from?
How does it come to be a tee shirt?
It’s time for you to find out!
It all begins with an idea, sometimes that idea is just a sketch or description that is turned into a screen printable design by our in house artist, here in Oshkosh, WI
Then comes the production of a tee shirt – we start with 100% organic cotton that is grown in the USA or overseas. Yes, I said overseas, and here’s the scoop on that. The land in which organic crops grow cannot be treated with herbicides or synthetic chemicals for at least 3 years before it is eligible for organic certification. Once approved, the organic crops cannot be treated with fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or any other synthetic chemicals. This being said the demand cannot be met in the USA alone and therefore crops are also grown overseas.
Once the cotton is harvested it is sent to a 100+ year old family owned knitting mill in Minnesota to be knit and rolled into 60+ yard rolls of cloth. From there the cloth is then sent to North Carolina to be dyed into a select variety of colors that we’ve chosen for the current season. Now, it’s time to get to the tee shirt manufacturing! Once the cloth has been dyed and re-rolled it is sent to Hurley, Wisconsin where the various pieces of a tee shirt are cut out and sewn. For a tee shirt there are five pieces and seven for our double-up tees. One more trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where the original design is screen printed on with water based inks. Once ink is dried and set the tees are then washed – they’re pre-shrunk for you – folded and bagged. The final voyage in production – to our warehouse, less than 5 miles away, stocked and ready to be shipped all around the U.S. and Canada!
You may have noticed some green 3 products in Epcot in Florida as we recently partnered with Disney. You will find some American & Canadian themed merchandise made by green 3 (sweaters, scarves and handwarmers). These knit goods are made with 75% pre-consumer recycled cotton and 25% acrylic, designed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and knit in Binghamton, New York, by a family run business. Made in the USA!
Disney has a growing commitment to merchandise American made products. Although not all their manufacturing is done in the USA, they are committed to safe and respectful workplaces. Disney has even made a public list of all the facilities that manufacture Disney-branded products. They want to help spread the word about improving working conditions all over the world.
At green 3 we are very honored to be working with Disney and spreading the word about our environmentally friendly and made in the USA products!
The process starts with pre-consumer textile waste; this ranges from errors during the weaving process to damaged/leftover finished goods – this would all normally be sent to the landfill or incinerated. The material is then ground up and re-spun into yarn. With this process there is no need to re-dye the yarn and it comes in many colors. The yarn can be used create a multitude of new products!
3 environmental benefits to recycled cotton:
– Recycled cotton doesn’t require land use (no watering, no new pesticides/fertilizers)
– Saves water & pollutants by not re-dying yarn
– Incinerator & landfill reduction
Green 3 offers many items in their product line that are made of recycled cotton, including hand warmers, scarves, mittens, hats, throw blankets and sweaters. All of these items are made with 75% pre-consumer recycled cotton and 25% acrylic. They are machine washable/dryable and super soft!
As Green 3 enters its eighth year we not only continue to grow our business, but our vision and perspective continues to grow as well. When we launched Green 3 we focused on environmental responsibility, and for that reason our products featured organic and recycled fibers. At that same time we knew we wanted our products to be made in the USA. After 2009, that initiative was intensified as we began to better understand the economic responsibility of keeping and creating jobs here at home. In 2010 we met the fine folks at ASPIRO in Green Bay, WI. In less than thirty minutes of our first tour of the facility, we knew that not only was ASPIRO absolutely the proper partner from a business perspective, but that companies like ours had a responsibility to support this organization’s efforts. They opened our eyes to social responsibility, and from that point forward we began developing products that could benefit those less fortunate than ourselves.
Since that time ASPIRO has become our “go to” partner for any and all types of projects. We consciously develop products that suit their client’s needs, as well as challenge them with projects that any other manufacturer would think twice about. Not once have we been disappointed. We look forward to not only continuing our relationship with ASPIRO, but growing it.
This fall we introduced our Snowflake Tee. Each and every snowflake was hand cut by an ASPIRO artisan. New in our spring/summer collection is our “Love You” tee. This organic cotton tee is adorned with an appliquéd heart that is as unique as each individual you hold in your own heart. Every heart appliqué is cut by hand, is unique, and reflects the creativity of an artisan with a disability who is learning job and life skills at ASPIRO. The garments come with hangtags that feature the artisan’s image and signature (shown below), and a QR code that links you to a video about this amazing program. You can view that video here:
We have had many interesting stops along the way to this particular point, and we look forward to the journey ahead.
To learn about ASPIRO and their amazing mission, you can visit their website at www.aspiroinc.org.