When we decided to focus our material search on rPET, we knew first and foremost that we wanted to source fabric from a supplier we could trust. It's easy to make claims about recycled content and we wanted to make certain that there was no question when it came to the recycled content of our products. That requirement narrowed down our search and we eventually landed on REPREVE, made by textile behemoth UNIFI. A leader in performance fibers for the last 50 years, UNIFI really started living its mission when it began making REPREVE in 2007.
Made with traceable technology, all REPREVE fabrics are fully traceable, which means that you can trust when we say our bags are made out of recycled plastic, we can back it up with certifications.
Twenty seven billion plastic bottles recycled and counting, REPREVE has established itself as one of the top recycled performance fibers on the planet. Used by top brands like Volcom and Nike, who are taking a stand on climate change and consumption, REPREVE has paved the way for fiber innovation across the industry.
rPET is seen as a minor effort by some, who believe it to just be a band-aid on a big ugly wound, rather than solving a problem. We whole heartedly agree that in order for humanity to stay under our 1.5 degree Celsius target, much bolder action must be taken. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists in one form or another (with the small exception of that which has been incinerated or composted), and that makes it a problem. Not to mention the fact that it's literally made out of fossil fuels and requires loads more fossil fuels to manufacture. We also believe that creating value in trash is a net positive and that demand for recycled materials will only lead to more innovation. It's not perfect, but it's progress. If you're interested in learning more about rPET, you can read more about it here.
The process of making REPREVE yarns looks a little like this:
Source Recycled Waste: Recycled plastic bottles and post-industrial waste (including our own) are collected worldwide.
Make the Chip: Waste material is chopped, ground, washed, melted and reformulated into high-quality REPREVE chip.
Form the Fiber: Chip is melted into liquid polymer and extruded through tiny openings in a spinneret, creating continuous filaments that form REPREVE fiber.
Process the Yarn: Fiber becomes yarn through spinning and air-jet texturing.
Ship to Customers: Finished yarn goes into fabrics, making everyday products more sustainable.
(Taken directly from the REPREVE website)
We have certifications for both our body and lining fabrics, with the documents to back them up - so if you'd like to see them, just ask!
One issue we've found with the REPREVE fibers that were used in our textiles is that they aren't made out of 100% post consumer plastics. REPREVE uses other scrap PET materials in addition to recycled ones. They have recently started making a line called REPREVE Our Oceans, which is made out of 100% ocean bound plastic and is something we will be looking into for the future. When it comes to using recycled plastics, where the plastics are found tells you a lot about the impact you're actually making. If you're interested in learning more, check out what we wrote about it here.