Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

December 15, 2005


Patagonia, Teijin Launch Complete Recycling of Polyester Garments

Keywords: Manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

On September 1, 2005 Patagonia, Inc. (an American outdoor gear and apparel company) and Teijin Fibers Ltd. (a core company of the Teijin textile group) jointly launched a complete recycling program for polyester-fiber garments on a commercial basis, in the United States and Japan.

Under the system, dubbed the "Common Threads Recycling Program," Patagonia's customers return or send their worn-out "Capilene ® baselayers" underwear to Patagonia shops. In Japan, garments collected are sent to the headquarters of Patagonia Japan and then to the Teijin recycling facility. Patagonia transports the collected garments to Teijin Fibers' recycling facility in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, where the fabrics are chemically treated and broken down into virgin-quality polyester, called dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), using the company's ECO CIRCLE™ fiber-to-fiber recycling system. Teijin Fibers transforms the DMT into new polyester fibers and then returns the material to Patagonia.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) study compared this system and conventional production, which uses DMT made from petroleum. It found out that, as fiber recycling prevents used clothes from ending up in landfills and can be sustained perpetually, it will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and energy consumption, even after the impacts of transportation for recycling are taken into consideration.

Teijin Fibers has been promoting fiber-to-fiber recycling through ECO CIRCLE™, mainly targeting work uniforms and curtains, using the group's chemical recycling technologies for polyester, in cooperation with 70 other firms that participate in the system. This is their first business effort to target consumers for fully sustainable garment recycling.

Posted: 2005/12/15 10:34:24 AM
Japanese version