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Polartec and Unifi Tackle Textile Scrap Waste

Textile companies Polartec and Unifi have launched a take-back program for polyester-based fabrics to reduce the millions of pounds of manufacturing scraps that end up in landfills every year.

The Repreve Textile Takeback Program will incorporate supply chain waste as well as post-consumer fabrics that have reached their end of life, the companies say. This waste will be recycled into a new product offering, the Repreve Takeback fiber.

The two companies have worked with military apparel manufacturer Peckham Inc. of Lansing, Mich., to define a process allowing for Polartec polyester cut-waste to be recycled back into Polartec’s Repreve 100 branded yarn. This new yarn will now include a blend of recycled bottles and recycled fabrics and will be used to produce performance Polartec fabrics for the outdoor apparel market.

The program will expand to include other qualified partners in the near future, the companies say. In 2011, over 40 percent of Polartec’s total production will use Repreve 100 recycled yarns, the company says, and it expects that proportion to grow.

“In typical garment manufacturing, 10 to 20 percent of all fabric produced becomes cut-waste left over after panels are cut,” Polartec president and COO Andy Vecchione says. “This fabric has historically been down-cycled into batting or simply sent to the landfill. We can now use this waste stream to create new, first-quality performance Polartec fabrics.”

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