Unifi announced that it is expanding its commitment to sustainable practices and initiatives with new investments toward the backwards integration into the supply chain for recycled products and in a new joint venture focused on renewable energy, according to a company press release.
In the mid 2000’s, Unifi developed REPREVE recycled polyester to provide customers and consumers with an eco-friendly, 100 percent recycled product that performs like virgin fibers and conserves natural resources. To improve the availability of recycled raw materials and significantly increase the company’s product capabilities, Unifi will invest in the backward integration of the REPREVE supply chain. In addition to providing greater control over the production of the recycled chip that is used to make REPREVE polyester fibers, the new recycling technology will provide opportunities to recycle post-consumer and post industrial fabric waste back into REPREVE. According to the company, scheduled startup for these new capabilities is February 2011.
Last year, Unifi added a fiber to its REPREVE lineup made entirely from recycled PET bottles.
Unifi also announced that the company has purchased a 40 percent interest in a biomass feedstock company. The new joint venture, which will be called REPREVE Renewables, will focus on the direct sales of Freedom Giant Miscanthus to farmers, who in turn will supply the product to bioenergy and biofuel operations in the U.S. and E.U. Freedom Giant Miscanthus is non-invasive and is the highest-yielding crop available on a commercial scale. Giant Miscanthus is a perennial C4 grass that is extremely efficient in converting sunlight to biomass energy.