We use recycled nylon made from post-industrial waste fiber and discards from weaving mills.
Nylon is one of the strongest plastics we use in our products. When we need a superlightweight fabric, it’s critical that we use nylon for its strength. With our goal of moving completely from using virgin content to recycled content, we need recycled nylon in order to continue making some of our favorite technical jackets and garments and maintain our performance standards.
Incorporating as much recycled nylon as we can lessens our dependence on petroleum as a raw material source. By using this material, we can get rid of discards and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing. It also helps promote new recycling streams for nylon products that are no longer usable.
This Spring 2020 season, 81% of the nylon fabric in our gear is recycled nylon. Using mechanically recycled nylon fiber this season resulted in 18% reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to virgin nylon fiber. This amounts to over 7 million lbs of CO2 emission avoided.
We’re making progress
Where We Are
We’re making strides towards more impactful waste diversion by using chemically recycled nylon. This yarn is made from 50% pre-consumer and 50% post-consumer waste. The post-consumer portion comes from items that are no longer usable, like fishing nets and discarded carpets.
Postconsumer materials come from products that have been bought, used in the world and then trashed, and are destined for the landfill, like plastic bottles or an old piece of clothing. Pre-consumer waste material comes from industrial processes—scraps of material in a factory that would have otherwise been downcycled, downgraded or landfilled. Most of the nylon we use now comes from a mechanically recycled pre-consumer source. Those materials would have gone into lesser quality goods if we didn’t utilize them.
Most mechanically recycled materials are melted at high temperatures and then made into a reusable form. Nylon melts at a much lower temperature, which means contaminants remain alive or otherwise unscathed. For this reason, nylon must be thoroughly cleaned before being recycled. Good sources of clean, pure postconsumer nylon are difficult to find.
We are actively adding and seeking more postconsumer recycled nylon for the garments we make. Additionally, we are exploring other options, such as materials made from plant-based alternatives, which will help curb CO2 associated with material creation.