With only 0,5% of the world’s population, Canada is responsible for 2% of global generated wastes1. A worrying situation that sounds the alarm on how we must consume and make things differently so waste production can be reduced. Next is born from the two founder’s desire to contribute to a better world, a more sustainable and eco-friendly world. The company meets the principles of sustainable development and will launch, this fall, its very first product line: an eco-friendly gift wrap. Find out about our story and how you too can be part of the change.
Authors: Maude Girard and Gabrielle Huppé, co-founders of Next.
Next is a vision of a better, more sustainable world, which has become a real entrepreneurial project carried by two passionate women. The first product – a reusable gift wrap made from recuperated fabric – was born when none of them had any sewing experience. On the first operation day of Next, 2 000 pounds of fabric were recovered. Fabrics that have been diverted from landfills – the equivalent of 50 years of buying clothes for one person2. Fabrics that would have taken years to decompose and release chemicals into the soil if they hadn’t been collected by Next. Fabrics that would have required tons of water if they had been made specifically for Next and that would have emitted tons of CO2 and chemicals during manufacturing. We already had a big feeling of satisfaction when receiving our first bundles of fabrics, even if they appeared overpacked to us 😉
Please let us tell you more about our very beginnings and share with you the implementation of our mission on a daily basis. We truly wish this first range will give you the opportunity to be part of the change this Christmas.
Christmas 2020, a turning point
Christmas is undoubtedly a time of year that we cherish since we were little children. We take pleasure in giving a gift and just as much, if not more, in wrapping it. But in the last years, we became disillusioned by the piles of metallic, laminated and ink-smelling wrapping. These ephemeral papers ended up in the trash, as in many families. Perhaps in your home they ended up in the fireplace of the cottage, releasing toxic gases in the burning process. These Christmases, we were overcome with feelings of guilt. The pleasure of a moment made our ecological footprint too heavy. It was a sense of urgency that took over us when we extrapolated our environmental impact to the entire population. We had to find an alternative solution that was part of a more responsible use. In our search for solutions, who had one big observation: where are the pretty gift wraps, both traditional-looking and eco-friendly? We still had a craving to satisfy, that of the art of gift wrapping.
Maude, one of the co-founders, decided to try wrapping gifts from scraps of fabric she collected from friends. With positive feedback, we made it a business project. Next was born. We were going to offer eco-friendly gift wraps as an alternative to limited market offers to perpetuate the tradition of wrapping and giving.
Eco-friendly fabrics please
To offer reusable gift-wrapping products was certainly a good start. But it wasn’t enough for us. To truly be inhabited by the feeling of accomplishment, we had to think of a manufacturing method that would allow us to fulfill our promise of reducing our footprint on the planet for future generations. Especially since our raw material – fabric- doesn’t have a good reputation.
The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It’s globally responsible for 20% of wastewater discharges and 10% of CO2 emissions3. The pesticides used in cotton manufacturing and the chemicals used in the fabric dyeing process have damaging impacts on the environment. We invite you to watch the Canadian movie RiverBlue.
Each year, we consume more than what the planet can renew as resources. According to the Global Footprint Network, we hit that limit on August 22 of this year (read their article).
It was unthinkable for us to close our eyes on this reality by using new fabrics to manufacture our gift wrapping products.
There had to be an alternative. It was then that the circular economy seemed to be a solution for us. The circular economy, in a nutshell, limits the use of new raw materials by using existing, already transformed materials. This model is used, among others, by the Oshlag brewery, which collects unsold bread from La Bête à pain to produce its Miettes beer.
What if the “waste” of sewing workshops became our raw material, our treasures? Their outputs would be our inputs. We would give a second life, a next chance, to these ends of rolls. And this is how we went on a hunt for ‘’waste’’ and established partnerships with workshops in Quebec to obtain raw materials.
At Next, we like to do things completely! It seemed important for us to share social and environmental values – sustainable development values – with our partners. We have therefore chosen to collaborate with a non-profit organization whose goal is social reintegration and is located close to us in order to limit CO2 emissions.
And there we had it! We had a product that allowed us to fulfill our mission: to reduce waste, both by the use of our products and by the way they are produced.
Our efforts in sustainable development
Sustainability is a serious commitment that we embrace. In each decision we make, we assess the available possibilities according to the three pillars of sustainable development which are the economy, the social aspect and the environment.
That’s how, for example, we have chosen an eco-friendly hosting for our website and we finalize the packaging of our products by avoiding overpacking.
In short, we always make sure that our solutions respect our mission of reducing waste production and minimizing the use of raw materials. Made smarter, for smarter use. It takes more efforts to identify alternatives, but we believe it is necessary to be consistent with our values. Doing things differently and opting for responsible use is unfortunately not easily synonymous. We are convinced this is the path to be a good corporate citizen.
Now that we are launching our first product line by year end, it doesn’t end here for us. We plan to recover 5000 pounds of fabric this year and double or even triple the amount for the year to come.
One of our next challenges: tackling the manufacturing packaging industry!
Be part of the change
What about you? Are you interested in reducing waste or even having a zero waste Christmas this year? You could give gifts wrapped in some pretty and reusable local Next gift wraps!
To know everything about sustainable development:
- Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) website
- Youmatter website
To know everything about circular economy:
- L’économie circulaire, une priorité, Recyc-Québec website.
- L’économie circulaire est une stratégie d’affaires, article in Les Affaires newspaper.
1 La Commission de l’écofiscalité du Canada (CEFC), rapport de 2018
2 Basé sur une moyenne de 44 lb de vêtements achetés par année par un individu, selon l’article paru par la fondation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): WWF rapport sur l’industrie de l’habillement et des textiles
3 La mode veut agir pour l’environnement , article paru en mai 2019 dans LaPresse.