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How are Waxhead eco shirts made?

Our eco-friendly sun apparel journey

In 2010, years before starting Waxhead, we wished we had long sleeve sun shirts for our boys. Such shirts were hard to find, and we kicked around the idea of starting Grasshopper Shirts. We emailed Chinese factories about bamboo shirts, bought a URL, developed a logo, and got pretty close to going forward, but ultimately decided we weren’t sure we wanted to be in the “importing” business.

After moving back to Florida in 2013, we kept coming back to the idea of a company that made great products for people in the sun. We’d already learned about sustainable clothing, and we decided our apparel should fit wholly into that movement.

We continued researching ways to make sun shirts in an eco-friendly way. We looked into bamboo (again) and researched organic cotton. We emailed manufacturers and talked with American textile companies. So many we lost count.

It took a lot of time to find the right partners with the right processes, and now almost seven years since we first thought about doing it, we’re thrilled to launch Waxhead Apparel, sun defense clothing made with fibers that are 100% from post-consumer, recycled plastic bottles.

They’re sewn in the USA using fabric made in Guatemala with a sustainable, low-carbon-footprint process operated by a fair-trade, co-op for burgeoning economies.

About 17 million tons of plastic bottles are produced each year. Only 22% are recycled currently, meaning 13 million tons are being thrown into the ground or wind up in our rivers and oceans. Each of our sun shirts keeps 8 bottles out of those landfills and waters.

We realize a single sun shirt doesn’t begin to solve our world’s pollution challenges, but sustainability is important to us and our customers, and it’s in our ethos at Waxhead to do what we can to reduce our environmental impact.

And besides using sustainable materials, our apparel is made with an eco-friendly process that reduces water consumption by over 55%, reduces energy consumption by over 66% and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 35%.

It makes us feel pretty good that instead of making the world a little bit more polluted, we’re making it a bit better.

Our Eco-friendly Plastic-bottles-into-apparel Manufacturing Process

1. Collect + Sort — Used plastic bottles are collected and sorted from recycling programs. The bottles are stripped of all labels and caps.

2. Clean + Chop — The plastic bottles are sanitized, then chopped into small flakes. The flakes are pelletized into chips, then melted and extruded into fibers. (Plastic bottles have the same chemistry make-up as polyester.)

3. Spin, Knit + Sew — Fibers are melted and spun into thread, then knitted into fabric, which is cut and sewn into garments.

4. Assemble + Finish — Our top-quality sun shirts + face shields look, feel and perform great while keeping our world and our oceans just a bit cleaner.

All of our clothing is made from a 100% recycled, eco-friendly fabric that is ethically manufactured under fair labor practices. Through our unique manufacturing process and diversion of landfill waste, our products are more sustainable and environmentally-friendly than even organic cotton or bamboo.