Recycled polyester lessens our dependence on virgin petroleum-based materials.
An important fiber in our line, polyester allows us to build lightweight materials that dry quickly and can be used in a variety of applications, including trail-running tops and yoga tights. Polyester also blends well with natural fabrics, like cotton. Since recycled polyester has been available since the early 1990s, it is more widely available and is similarly priced to its virgin counterparts.
Using recycled polyester lessens our dependence on petroleum as a source of raw materials, utilizes waste and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing. In addition, by using recycled polyester we are able to promote new recycling streams for polyester clothing that is no longer wearable.
We’re making progress
Where We Are
We began making recycled polyester from plastic soda bottles back in 1993—the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to transform trash into fleece. Almost 30 years later, we incorporate hard shells, boardshorts, fleece and Capilene® baselayers, and overall have very little virgin polyester left in our line. We’re actively working to convert the remaining amount to recycled material.
For the Spring 2021 season, 84% of our polyester fabrics are made with recycled polyester. As a result, we reduced our CO₂e emissions by 14% compared to virgin polyester fabrics; that amounts to more than 3.1 million pounds of CO₂e.
We’re looking beyond plastic bottles from commodity recyclers to the next generation of potential recycled materials. One option could be recycled ocean plastics. Long-term, we’re also looking into chemical-recycling technologies that might allow us to reuse recycled garments and get us closer to a “circular” manufacturing process.