Interview: how we work with sustainability


On sustainability, greenwashing and making conscious choices in your daily life


Author: Molly Lindgren | Category: Barkacrew

Meet Barkalots very own Fanny, textile engineer by profession and dog lover by heart!

Q: What does it mean to be a textile engineer?

A: It means that I have in-depth knowledge and understanding of different textile materials and their constructions. That includes the production processes, the mechanic and chemical properties and the impacts all this can have on the environment. Once you understand the broad field of textiles you also learn a lot about plastics and other materials in general. Knowledge that can come very handy when you’re working with product development.

Q: What should you think about as a consumer if you want to be environmentally concious?

A: It’s hard to not encounter the words sustainability and environmentally friendly now a days – and that’s a good thing! Consumer knowledge is key in order to make a difference. But it is also a jungle out there and a lot of traps in the name of greenwashing. However, one thing is key here – buy less and buy timeless quality pieces. Things that will last a long time and with design you won’t get tired of. Throwing away products/material is one of the least environmentally friendly things we can do.

Speaking of throwing things away I want to mention the importance of buying recycled. Instead of buying a leash made of virgin materials (e.g. polyester (PET) from crude oil), buy one that is made of recycled material. Polyester is a very durable material and the recycling processes are constantly improving. And, how amazing is it that it once was a plastic bottle, and now a leash?

Using already existing materials, that otherwise would have been burned or ended up in landfill, is a way to make most of what we’ve already produced.

— Fanny at Barkalot

Q: What materials should one avoid?

A: There are pros and cons with almost all materials. Sometimes the culprit isn't the materials themselves, but the additives we add in order to get certain properties from the materials. For example you often add Phthalates in order to soften a plastic material and make it more flexible instead of stiff. Here are a few materials/additives I think people should be aware of in order to avoid:

  1. Phthalates
  2. PVC Flame retardants
  3. Bisphenol A (BPA)
  4. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)
Q: Tell us a little about Barkalots materials!

A:

The right material for the right purpose

Something that is important for Barkalot is to choose the right material for the right purpose! By doing that you can avoid a lot of unnecessary quality problems, and also get rid of the need for dangerous additives. For example, if you wish to make a product flame retardant you can make it out of wool, which is flame retardant by itself in its molecular structure. Instead of adding flame retardant additives which are often toxic both for you and the environment.

Safe to use materials for hoomans, children and pets

It’s of course a priority to us that our products and materials are safe for our four-legged friends! However, it’s equally important that it is not harmful for their pawrents and mini pawrents. In a lot of homes you find toddlers and dogs playing, sometimes even with the same toys. That's why it's always on the top of our minds to produce products that meet the requirements necessary to be handled by dogs, adults and kids!

Little impact on environment

Equally important is that our materials have as little impact on our already weighted planet as possible. Using recycled materials is one example of taking that responsibility. Using already existing materials, that otherwise would have been burned or ended up in landfill, is a way to make most of what we’ve already produced. There are a lot of dog products on the market, but very few that meet the requirements I usually have on other products I use in my everyday life. Therefore I’m super thrilled to be working with a brand that wants to be groundbreaking in its industry and take responsibility!

Fanny out walking her very own Bibbi, an adorable Border Terrier.


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