A company called Unifi has become a leader in the sustainable textile industry by producing environmentally friendly fibers from recyclable materials. Unifi has a variety of products that range from toilet paper to t-shirts, but all of them begin with the creation of recycled fibers from things like plastic bottles. One particular textile fiber that has been receiving a lot of attention recently is Repreve.
It has taken many years of trials and tribulations for Repreve to reach such a high level of efficiency. A major factor in their success has been the construction of their 50,000 square foot recycling facility in North Carolina. In 2013, over 740 million plastic bottles were recycled into Repreve fibers at their facility.
Plastic Bottles Are Not the Only Thing Repreve Saves
Referencing data collected in 2012, the recycling center conserved the equivalent of 3.8 million gallons of gasoline. Even the recycling plant itself is making an environmental difference. In addition to its 67 sky lights and energy conserving light fixtures, the building itself is made completely from recycled materials.
The process to make Repreve fibers is also environmentally friendly, in addition to being efficient. It begins with properly recycling plastic bottles collected from designated recycling bins. Then, using Unifi’s innovative process, the plastic is cleaned and turned into plastic chips.These chips are then spun into a yarn that can be weaved into jackets, shirts, and other clothing. Other synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon rely heavily on petroleum and other chemicals such as xylene for fabrication. But the need for these chemicals is eliminated by Repreve’s process. Among Repreve’s selection is The North Face jacket shown below. This jacket is made from up to 84% recycled materials.
Repreve has been using partnerships with other international brands to spread awareness of their environmentally responsible and valuable product line. Recently they were able to get all the University of North Carolina basketball fans, that usually bleed baby blue, into their green shirts made from recycled plastic bottles. This was impressive, but Repreve plans to raise the bar again with creating UNC’s graduation gowns.
The most notable of Repreve relationships has been with the Detroit Lions. When the Lions took on Tampa Bay, they supplied the stadium with 65,000 towels that were created from 195,000 plastic bottles. Repreve also hosted a contest with the Lions to find the most creative recycling video called Make The Smart Throw.
The winner of the Make The Smart Throw competition was Kevin Libertowski from Medina, Ohio. Watch Libertowski in the video below perfectly perform a back flip 540 and launch a water bottle 60 feet into a recycling bin. As apart of the contest prize, he was able to travel to Detroit to compete in a water bottle recycling competition against Lion’s quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
Unfortunately in front of 65,000 fans, all waving recycled green towels, Libertowski was unable to throw more water bottles into his recycling bin then the NFL Quarterback. However the ultimate goal was reached; bring more attention proper waste removal and environmentally responsible products currently on the market.
It is very possible you have already experienced some of the products produced by Repreve. Click on the link to learn more about Repreve’s Brands. If you do not want to wear recycled plastic bottles, you can still do your part by ‘making the smart throw’ and properly recycling your unwanted materials.