This waterproof/breathable membrane is critical for making all-weather gear, yet it uses a lot of energy and chemicals.
ePTFE stands for “expanded polytetrafluoroethylene.” This material is derived from fluorspar, a mineral that is processed into thin, flexible sheets with millions of pores. These sheets are glued to other fabrics to make the end products more comfortable and durable. ePTFE is extremely hydrophobic and highly heat resistant against most chemicals, making it extremely durable. While the material makes our products perform better, it also requires a lot of energy and chemical inputs to manufacture. We are always looking for ways we can reduce our impact. For example, we only use fabrics made with recycled content to bind with ePTFE membranes in our waterproof products.
Our ePTFE partners use industry-leading safety measures and work with top manufacturers in order to reduce the environmental harm of the material. We use ePTFE in applications where technical performance is paramount. Our mission is to support these products with robust repair programs like Worn Wear so our customers can keep them in use instead of having to buy a replacement and creating waste.
We are working with our partners to reduce the energy required to produce ePTFE and on finding suitable alternatives to the material for our high-performance products. ePTFE products are likely to remain in service for many years and the materials will be used in other industries for the foreseeable future. We take a collaborative approach with our ePTFE manufacturers to ensure that we are leading the industry in better practices. We plan to use this material only where necessary and seek more conscious alternatives where possible.