overall rating:



Olivia Bowen
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Xstream Ltd is a company that is primarily involved in the production of personalised garments. They offer services across numerous sectors, such as uniforms for school or other occupations, sport, or safety attire. Its services also include helping clients create their own customised online shop. This company provides both printing and embroidery options in the creation of their products. Significantly, there is no mention of an environmental report or any consideration of the potential environmental impact of XStream Ltd. Although I reached out to question the company on this via email, I did not receive any response. This indicates a lack of transparency regarding the environment and promoting ethical consumption. Moreover, further research has yielded that Xstream Ltd sources garments from environmentally unsustainable companies, some of which have been involved in child labour scandals. Their focus is only for profit and consumption, not the environment nor their workers. It is for these reasons that I am giving Xstream Ltd a rating of 0 planets.

What it's made of:


Xtream Ltd is extremely inconsistent with their labelling of what their products are made of. This persists even within the same range of sports. They provide a section for hockey teams on their website, and having clicked on Ashford hockey club, I found that their products did not all specify what materials they were made from. For example, the Adidas small backpack is 100% Polyester, but there is no information available for Ashford HC’s base layer or hoodie. For some ranges such as the cricket range, there is no information available at all, and there is no mention of what thread is used in their embroidery processes. This shows variable transparency over what their products are made of, resulting in reduced environmental sustainability and consumer trust.

Despite this, with some digging, I discovered that the core materials Xstream uses are acrylic and polyester, both of which are very unsustainable. Acrylic is synthetic so thus does not biodegrade, in addition to the production of acrylic being very energy-consuming. Micro-fibres which can pollute the environment also wash off with use. Polyester is also synthetic and does not biodegrade. This can result in carcinogenic chemicals being released into the environment or water supplies during production. Polyester uses less energy than nylon in its production, but it is still more energy-demanding compared to alternatives such as cotton. As both are synthetic as opposed to natural, they are produced from non-renewable energy resources which are extremely environmentally destructive and non-recyclable. Xstream’s complete disregard for the environment and transparency on what materials are used are worsened by the fact that their logos can have ‘many colours without adding to the cost.’ As toxic chemicals can be used in the dyeing process to produce coloured threads, it is evident that no environmental considerations are factored into Xstream’s production ethos.

How it's made:


Like many logo companies, Xstream uses two principal methods of transferring the logos of customers onto garments. These are printing and embroidering. Looking at their printing options, numerous processes that they use are environmentally unsustainable, including vinyl, laser, screen, embroidery, and transfer print methods. For example, using rolled vinyl as a printing method is problematic because vinyl is not biodegradable. While it can be recycled, vinyl is more difficult to recycle than other plastics as it cannot be broken down by the typical method of heat application to the product. This is because this process will produce toxic chlorine gas if vinyl is involved. Therefore, less recycling centres will accept vinyl, and even if some centres do choose to accept vinyl as a product to recycle, they could use a form of mechanical recycling which does not remove all its toxic materials. Furthermore, laser printing is another method with its own environmental issues. There are some benefits to laser cutting, which includes the fact that wastage is reduced as it can operate directly on many materials without using additional resources. However, there are also drawbacks to using lasers. For example, as numerous lasers operate at extremely high temperatures, water is needed to cool the laser down. Therefore, large amounts of water can be wasted in this process.

The method used depends on the type and size of the customer’s order, not on the environmental impact on the process. For example, they do not mention the fact that lasers may produce less waste than vinyl printing. In this sense, Xstream does not factor in which method is more environmentally friendly or any alternatives they could use. It is clear that Xstream needs to think about if their products are recyclable as well as what happens to any waste produced in the process. Transparency is vital in paving the way for more sustainable products, and the fact that there is nothing on their website nor any response when questioned on these categories is an unsatisfactory environmental mindset to have.

Who makes it:


On their website, Xstream Ltd claims that they ‘have a diverse portfolio of manufacturers and suppliers, with contacts to over 1000 manufacturers’, translating to a huge reach to many brands. However, many of these brands quoted are extremely unethical regarding manufacturing rights. For example, brands such as Adidas are proudly quoted as being trusted manufacturers and are indeed used in many of their products. Scandals of child labour have been found in Adidas manufacturing, as well as forced overtime and sexual harassment. Two Indonesian factories (the Nikomax Gemilang and Tuntex factories) were found to have children as young as 15 made to work 15-hour days and overtime while being paid less than $60 a month. This is a rate below the International Labour Organisation's demand for a living wage. The fact that Xstream does not comment on this and continues to partner with such brands points to just how unethical this company is.

Moreover, only a selected amount of products have Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certified production e.g. the explorer hooded sweatshirt, but this is not the case for all products. This suggests that Xstream Ltd does not require all manufacturers to follow these standards, and perhaps it is the manufacturers that happen to have this accreditation as opposed to Xstream Ltd specifically requiring it.