Why is Koup Sustainable and different?

SUSTAINABILITY (or Eco-friendliness as we prefer to call it) is at the very core of KOUP, it is a NON-NEGOTIABLE of our brand value. We have checkpoints at every stage of our product development cycle, from sourcing of our material to the packaging. In order to reduce the environmental impact of our product, we insist on using recycled material wherever we can. 

For our first product, the cinnamon t-shirt, we chose recycled plastic bottles as our core material so we can reduce the impact of single-use plastic. It is estimated that over 35 billion plastic bottles are thrown away in the US alone [1], but only as much as 25% of this is recycled. By using 100% recycled plastic over virgin plastic, we potentially save the plastic wastes from landfills and becoming ocean plastic. More over, recycled polyester can save up to 58% in energy and 45% in greenhouse gas emission [2].

Product performance is another key element for KOUP and we believe in creating performance clothing without sacrificing sustainability. Instead of using harmful and short-lasting chemicals to achieve the desired performance [3], we opted for non-chemical and natural ingredients. To create the sweat-wicking performance of our t-shirt, we customised the cross-section of our fibre to achieve permanent and natural wicking performance based on the natural phenomenon of the capillary effect; and for the anti-odour performance, we incorporate cinnamon extracts for its natural anti-microbial property (inhibit odour producing bacteria) and the performance is permanently embedded in our fabric. By avoiding harmful and short-lasting chemicals, we help to reduce water pollution and the environment. 

In terms of production, we work directly with manufacturing partners who comply with internationally recognised standards as below : 

  • For recycled polyester material, we work with partners who comply with the GRS standard (global recycled standard)[4]
  • For yarn production, we work with manufacturers who are Oeko-tex [5] approved 
  • Our novel cinnamon yarn material has been tested against the REACH standard [6]
  • For fabric production, we work with manufacturers who are Bluesign(r) approved [7]
  • For garment production, we work with factories who are WRAP(r) compliant [8]

We don’t just stop there. At Koup, circularity is the holy grail of our sustainability mission. The idea of circularity means the product can be recycled and broken back down to its original material to be remade again, hence reduce or remove the use of new material and closing the loop. Our signature t-shirt was designed solely with a single material, which is 100% recycled polyester so our t-shirt is 100% recyclable. Our goal is to create products with the end-life in mind so we can recycle as much as possible into new materials for our future product. We are working with partners who can recycle used clothing back into yarns so we can remake new clothing with the used ones. 


Our ultimate goal as we grow as a brand is to have our own worldwide collection and assortment centre. However, given our current resource and capability, we need the help of other recycling centre and brands for their scale and network.In order to make this goal come true, we hope you could help do the following when your KOUP clothing reach the end of their use life : 

1. You can send back to us the KOUP clothing and we will work with our partner to turn them into new yarns for our clothes again. In return, we will send you a 10% discount code as a gratitude. Please email us for more info

2. Recycle your used KOUP clothing at your nearest 2nd hand shop

3. Recycle your used KOUP clothing at your nearest textile recycling centre. Some useful info below:  

US : go to https://search.earth911.com/?utm_source=earth911-header and type in clothing and zip code  for your closest textile recycling centre

UK : go to https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/clothing-textiles-0 and type in your post code for your closest recycling points

EU : Lots of clothing retailers such as H&M and Zara are starting initiatives in circular economy and taking in used clothing for repurposing or recycling. Please check your nearest stores where they are accepting used clothing and textile wastes https://www.zara.com/ww/en/sustainability-collection-program-l1452.html

Japan: please check https://bring.org/pages/recycle for recycling locations. The company Bring is doing some great stuff for circular economy. Please check them out!

Rest of the world : please email us and we will help you find out!

Last but not least, what good does it do if our well-designed product are wrapped and packed in excess packaging? We believe products should not be over-packaged, this is why we limit our packaging as much as possible. For our signature cinnamon t-shirt, we use the excess fabric to make pouch bags to pack our t-shirt, and for shipping where it is unavoidable to use waterproof materials, we use recycled plastic. 

We understand that as much as we believe we have tried our best to be more sustainable, there is always more we can do, so please get in touch if you have any suggestions and we would love to learn more!=