Textile maker Unifi based in the US produces 300 million pounds of polyester and nylon yarn annually.Unifi does recycling through its flagship fiber brand Repreve, launched in 2009.
Repreve has a 50,000 sq ft recycling facility, where plastic bottles, fiber waste and fabric scraps get deposited.
The company collects clear plastic bottles from processors around the country who first shred them into plastic flakes. These plastic flakes are converted into small pellets. The pellets are then melted, extruded and spun into polyester yarn.
Repreve makes three types of recycled yarn: 100 per cent from used plastic bottles, a hybrid of plastic bottles and fiber waste, and a hybrid of plastic bottles and used fabric.
College students across the US accept their diplomas wearing gowns made entirely of plastic bottles. Through such gowns schools can spread the message of waste management, energy conservation and environmental protection.
Repreve yarn is used to make everything from jackets and T-shirts to dress pants and even car upholstery. It’s used in brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Levi’s, Adidas, Nike and Ford.
Unifi has turned four billion used plastic bottles into yarn in the last seven years. It wants to educate consumers that high quality products can be made from recycled waste.