- Lawrence, MA-based fleece maker Polartec has reached an enormous milestone, reporting that it has recycled its billionth polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle.
- In 2014, more than 60% of Polartec’s domestic production used recycled yarns. Polartec makes fleece using post-consumer recyclable material through a partnership with Unifi Inc. The companies developed Repreve 100, a yarn using 100% clear plastic bottles.
- The company has been able to produce the equivalent of 27 million fleece jackets from the recycled PET bottles.
Clothing created from recycled plastics is increasingly gaining traction.
Polartec is setting a good example as a high-profile company dedicated to recycling — its fleece is used in brands like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, The North Face, Arc'Teryx, Cabela's, Eastern Mountain Sports, Carhartt and Eddie Bauer.
Polartec also said it has made infrastructure and process changes at its manufacturing plants to limit its environmental impact. Electricity consumption has been reduced by 24% since 2009, the company recycles 85% of production water, and it uses reduced-sized recycled hang tags to limit paper use.
"A billion bottles is a good start, but we feel there is still ample opportunity for innovation, and we look forward to helping our brands create eco-conscious garments for many years to come," Polartec CEO Gary Smith told Recycling Today.