For many American “fashionistas,” wearing plastic water bottles, yogurt cups, and butter tubs does not necessarily scream “cutting edge fashion.” But for some apparel companies committed to saving the environment, these items represent the future in eco-friendly fashion.
Eco-fi, Patagonia and REKIXX are only a few out of the increasing number of green clothing companies setting out to make a difference by incorporating recycled and recyclable materials into their merchandise.
The Green Business Bureau describes water bottles and other plastic products such as yogurt cups and butter tubs as “Post Consumer Resin”, or PCR. PCR can be spun into thin fibers that are then used to make a form of polyester. This polyester can be transformed into countless types of clothing—from exercise apparel to winter coats.
Eco-fi is one company committed to making this type of recycled textile. Eco-fi describes their material as “A high-quality polyester fiber made from 100% certified recycled plastic PET bottles. Eco-fi can also be blended with other fibers, such as cotton or wool, for enhanced qualities”
About ten plastic bottles can be manufactured into one pound of warm, comfortable and durable Eco-fi fibers. They describe just how helpful their business is to the earth,
“We have the capacity to keep billions of plastic PET bottles out of the world’s landfills each year by using post-consumer plastic bottles instead of virgin materials in the fiber manufacturing process. By doing this, we can lower harmful air emissions and save millions of barrels of oil from being used which, in turn, reduces the harmful effects of acid rain, global warming, and smog.”
The fabrics made with Eco-fi fibers are almost identical in terms of chemical makeup and function to those made from non-recycled fiber, however, Eco-fi fibers are made without depleting the earth of its natural resources. Plastic spun thread can also be combined with other materials to create even more clothing choices made using PCR fibers. Once the clothing becomes worn, it can be melted down and turned into new thread over and over again!
Patagonia was the first company to use recycled bottles to create outdoor apparel. They have full lines of clothing for men, women and children. Patagonia uses mainly PCR fabrics in their products. The company adopted fleece into their product line made from recycled plastic soda bottles in 1993, becoming the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to take that step.
“Today, we’re able to utilize more sources for recycled polyester and offer it on more garments such as Capilene baselayers, shell jackets and board shorts, as well as fleece. We now recycle used soda bottles, unusable second quality fabrics and worn out garments into polyester fibers to produce many of our clothe,” Patagonia states proudly
In the 13 years since they ventured into the field of PCR recycled clothing, Patagonia has saved about 86 million soda bottles from reaching landfills. They estimate that it is enough to fill a 40-gallon gas tank of a Chevy Suburban 20,000 times.
Patagonia established itself as a leader in the eco-friendly apparel market and today, new companies are hoping to make a name for themselves. REKIXX is one budding company with big aspirations to make a difference.
REKIXX sneakers were first introduced to the American market in May 2012 as REMYXX sneakers. Creator Gary Gagnon launched his product on ABC’s reality show Shark Tank, which features business sharks searching to invest financially in America’s latest innovative products.
REKIXX is in on the ground floor of an increasingly expanding market for eco-friendly footwear. REKIXX claims to be the only landfill-free sneaker brand on the market today. The brand ensures that each sneaker is made from 100% lab certified recyclable materials. While the company’s main focus is to keep landfills empty, they are not sacrificing style in the process: “Now with our purpose to “keep it out of the earth” achieved, REKIXX, with cool designs that are trend-right and a marketability that is uncommonly unique, perhaps could be considered the most inventive sneaker of its time.”
The company hopes to achieve its goal of having REKIXX accepted in all curbside recycling buckets, just like any other #1 plastic water bottles and #5 plastic yogurt cups, in the near future. Until then, you can send your stylish yet responsible REKIXX back to the company and they will ensure they are recycled properly. If you don’t want to sacrifice taste but want to do your part for the environment, “Reduce, Reuse, REKIXX”.
Source: livinggreenmag website October 16, 2012