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Polartec Commits to 100% Recycled Materials and Biodegradability

Polartec Eco-Engineering™ to set new standard for sustainable textiles including the creation of the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleece, other knits, insulation fills and breathable waterproof fabrics

(Andover, Mass.) – Polartec, the premium producer of innovative and sustainable textile solutions, introduces its Eco-Engineering™ initiative to use recycled and biodegradable materials across its entire product line.

The effort joins other industry leaders and pioneers in sustainable textiles: Unifi and Intrinsic Advanced Materials. The collaboration combines a revolutionary CiCLO® technology with Unifi’s innovative yarn products to promote biodegradation of polyester and nylon, as well as applications in polyurethane, in sea water and landfill conditions. The goal is to create the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleeces and breathable waterproof membranes, as well as other knits and insulation fills.

“By collaborating with the best in the business, Polartec is committing to the pursuit of a future where everything is eco-engineered to use recycled inputs and to be biodegradable,” says Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “This is the culmination of over 25 years of Polartec investment and innovation.”

Polartec created the very first performance fabrics made from post-consumer recycled plastics in 1993, and began collaborating with Unifi in 2006.

“We are proud to be a part of progressive collaborations that seek to find solutions, through textile innovation, for some of the world’s most significant challenges,” says Kevin Hall, Unifi CEO. “By working with leaders from our industry, we strive to create innovative products that are synergistic with key technologies like recycling. We look forward to this journey towards developing biodegradable materials and for more industry partners to join the sustainable pathway.”

“After years of R&D to create a solution for biodegradability, we’re thrilled to partner with the inventor of technical fleece and leader in performance knits to bring CiCLO to market as part of Polartec Eco-Engineering,” says Andrea Ferris, Intrinsic Advanced Materials CEO.

The collaboration is an extension of Polartec Eco-Engineering™, a process that deploys recycled inputs, advanced production techniques, logistical efficiency, and rigorous testing and certifications to create an unrivaled innovation pipeline devoted to producing sustainable fabrics with elite performance characteristics. This includes OEKO-TEX® and bluesign® certifications across all Polartec facilities worldwide. The Polartec Eco-Engineering™ effort seeks to set a new, higher ‘triple bottom line’ standard for the textile industry: fully recycled inputs, fully recyclable fabrics, and complete biodegradability.

8 Responses to “Polartec Commits to 100% Recycled Materials and Biodegradability”

  1. EODMadBomb says:

    Sounds like a great idea. As long as I don’t find an old needle in my fleece, I’m good with it.
    (Yes, I’m aware they weren’t asking my permission)

  2. Daggertx says:

    I Biodegrade all my clothes.

  3. corsair says:

    This is principally a result of all the waste disposal companies who’ve segmented their collections via recycling programs. Being able to reuse plastic waste and convert into a textile was never a problem, the crux was getting a consistent source of that raw material that allowed textile mills to develop the range of product needed to make that business viable.

  4. Jack Boothe says:

    This is interesting because there is growing sentiment among more radical environmentalists hat polar fleece should be outlawed. This group believes that polar fleece is damaging the oceans. They contend when washed, polar fleeces discharges tens of thousands of small plastic fibers from each garment washed. These fibers make their way into the washing machine discharge and eventually into rivers and streams and into the ocean. This group of environmentalists now claim the dangers to the world oceans are becoming just as great from these plastic fibers from polar fleece as are the consequences of using plastic shopping bags or plastic straws.

    I first became aware of this issue when booking a cruise on a sailing ship in the Southern Atlantic to the Falklands, and the cruise line specifically requested we not bring polar fleece for this very reason. They proffered merino wool was a better option.

    While I am not convinced of the merits of the environmental arguments against Polar Fleece, I can unfortunately see this becoming the environmental issue de jure–just as I know have to carry a canvas bag to the grocery store or pay five cents for a bag, or I am forced to carry my own stainless steel straw if I don’t want to drink from a glass mishandled around the rim by untrained wait staff.

    • Seamus says:

      I agree, this is likely trying to placate the EnviroNazis. That said, as long as the product is still amazing and price doesn’t change I am for it.