What is REPREVE®?
REPREVE® was an initiative brought by UNIFI to redefine recycling in a way that you could enter a closed loop system of sustainability. By recycling old products, we can keep many of the same materials in circulation for years. Pre-consumer fiber waste and post-consumer plastics are collected and this collected waste enters a process where they are chopped, ground, melted and reformulated. Then recycled plastic chips are formed called REPREVE®. These chips are melted and extruded through a spinneret to form continuous filaments called REPREVE® recycled Fiber. This recycled fiber is used by various brands to make durable and comfortable clothing and products. For e.g. Patagonia, The North Face, Blue Avocado, Ford, etc.
Patagonia uses REPREVE® to make their garments. It was a positive step toward a more sustainable system. Patagonia says that recycled polyester can be used like virgin polyester and the end result would be perfectly fine. It adds that the starting part of color may be slightly different but after dyeing and finishing it the result is similar as virgin polyester that is “First Quality Product”.
How Does UNIFI get their WASTE?
UNIFI collects all the waste that is produced in various polyester yarn plants like the waste produced during yarn breaks. Being a continuous process of making polyester filaments, during a yarn break all the machines are stopped and thus a lot of waste is generated, so this waste is collected in huge containers which are sent down to UNIFI to be recycled to form REPREVE®. Nowadays it has come out to collect plastic bottles and other plastic waste which are separated in the UNIFI plant to create different types of recycled fibers all under one hat. UNIFI also collects their own machine house waste like tubes used for yarn packaging, packaging from shipping, packaging after consumer purchase, etc.
Patagonia tells us about the effects of using REPREVE® to make their garments. They let us know that by using recycled polyester there are a number of processes which gets eliminated vs using virgin polyester. Patagonia has done a few energy calculations from which they have understood that using 1 pound of REPREVE® yarn saves up to 61000 BTU of energy and 61000 BTU is equivalent to ½ a gallon of Gasoline. Thus REPREVE® does not only reduce the plastic waste in the environment but also reduces the Petroleum consumption significantly. Thus using recycled polyester lessens our dependence on petroleum as a source of raw materials.
Just like Patagonia REPREVE® is helping several other brands to used recycled materials and thus helping them and the environment in a wonderful manner. REPREVE® curbs discards, thereby prolonging landfill life and reducing toxic emissions from incinerators. It helps to promote new recycling streams for polyester clothing that is no longer wearable. And it causes less air, water and soil contamination compared to using non-recycled polyester. REPREVE® is the one that uses fewer resources, discards less and better protects people’s health.