Buffy Cloud Comforter

overall Rating:

1.75

planets

Malavika Padmanabhan
7/4/2021
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I first came across Buffy in an Instagram post. A quick visit to their page (which includes a mix of trendy/colorful advertising tactics and fun memes) confirmed that Buffy mainly wants to appeal to millennial tendencies and those interested in conscious consumption. The Buffy Cloud is Buffy’s original comforter made from eucalyptus and 100% recycled fiber. The price tag comes at $129 for a twin size, which is relatively comparable to other bedding-focused brands like Pottery Barn or Coyuchi. Overall, I am impressed by how sustainably focused Buffy is as a home-goods brand. I think that Buffy is a new start-up initiative that acts as a wake-up call for the home goods industry by providing consumers with another alternative to unsustainable textiles. However, Buffy still has some issues regarding the transparency behind their supply chain and use of environmental claims without evidence, which makes it difficult for me to give it a higher rating.   

what it's made of:

1.75

The Buffy Cloud is made from eucalyptus fabric, which is filled with 100% recycled fiber. It is classified as vegan and cruelty-free. The eucalyptus fiber shell of the comforter is OEKO-TEX certified, which is a certification issued to a textile-focused brand if they can confirm the safety of textile products in all stages of production - this rules out the presence of harmful/toxic substances. Eucalyptus is an increasingly popular alternative to cotton as it is less resource-intensive and lasts longer. It is a great and unique material that Buffy has successfully experimented with. The comforters are filled with 100% recycled polyester made from BPA-free, PET water bottles. This means that these bottles were made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) which is recyclable and does not contain any harmful or toxic chemicals such as BPA (Bisphenol-A).  Each comforter is made from approximately 50 recycled water bottles and uses up to ten times less water compared to an average comforter.  However, recycled PET does have its separate issues as a systemic solution to solving the plastic problem; microplastics are still introduced and it’s not as circular a process as it seems. Unless Buffy introduces a recycling initiative, the Cloud comforter will end up in a local landfill just like traditional comforters.

how it's made:

0.75

The eucalyptus fiber is produced using several steps. Firstly, the wood is harvested from the eucalyptus tree and the thick pulp produced is extracted. This pulp is pushed into spinnerets to create fibers. Once it’s washed and dried, the fiber is spun to form lyocell fabric. On the face of it, this process does seem pretty sustainable considering how resource-intensive conventional cotton is (which requires 50% more water) – but it depends! The main problem is that some countries, where eucalyptus is being sourced from, rely on destroying existing forests to introduce eucalyptus plantations. In terms of people, however, the production process is not that toxic and not as labor-intensive as cotton, as it relies on lab-based manufacturing processes. Buffy vaguely mentions that the eucalyptus is sourced from renewable forests in Austria and the Czech Republic but does not mention if these forests are sustainably managed or the working conditions behind producing the eucalyptus. Instead, they tend to rely on some green-washing phrases such as “earth-friendly” and mainly focus on highlighting the benefits of eucalyptus. More is needed on how this eucalyptus is being sourced!

The recycled PET filling comes from a global recycling standard certified facility that specializes in the conversion of food-grade plastic containers into new materials. No information is available on where/how this facility does this. Buffy quotes that in 2020, the Cloud Comforter helped divert “4 million plastic bottles” from landfills and the ocean, but does not provide enough evidence to help support this statistic. Also, there is some detail on the packaging of the Cloud Comforter; it comes in an FSC-certified recycled box, which means that all packaging materials are from forests specifically intended for supply-chain use - thus confirming that these trees were not destroyed through illegal deforestation practices.  Buffy also mentions that they offset any transportation-related emissions but does not mention how. Overall, Buffy’s website does seem like a lot of green-washing blanket statements (plus the excessive use of millennial jargon) without addressing exactly what goes on. It would help to know more about the supply-chain conditions behind each Buffy Comforter, especially as they seem so passionate about sustainability.

who makes it:

2.25

Buffy is a start-up founded in 2017 by Leo Wang, which focuses on using earth-friendly fabrics and manufacturing methods to create sustainable home goods. Mainly digitally native though based in New York, Buffy’s products can be purchased from their website and Amazon. Their range of bedding products includes sheets, comforters, and pillows. While Buffy is not as transparent as I hoped on the production of Cloud Comforters, their sustainability reports are pretty impressive for a start-up. It addresses the methodology/statistics behind their carbon footprint, freshwater usage, and global warming potential. The report also provides realistic climate targets: including taking accountability for the fact that some of their products are not made from entirely recycled or recyclable materials and creating a return recycling program. I also like how they have done a clear Life-Cycle Assessment using Eco-Chain to determine their impact on the environment. I notice that they seem to focus on a specific target, highlighted both on their report and the front page of their website, which is initiating a closed-loop supply chain by 2030. I acknowledge the difficulties of implementing initiatives especially as a start-up, however, some indie brands (ettitude, Pact, YALA - just to name a few) have managed to do this. Buffy is on the right track with its sustainability-focused mindset and departure from typical textile materials. I look forward to seeing their start-up grow (with more transparency on their supply chain and a little less green-washing of some of their claims).