Our Industry Has Carbon Issues
Most clothes are made using energy from coal-fueled power plants, which adds warming gases into the air we breathe and accelerates the climate crisis. In just one year, the clothing industry will contribute 1.2 billion tons of CO₂ emissions—that’s as much as international flights and maritime shipping combined.
We’re letting go of virgin materials.
Extracting and processing virgin materials takes a toll on land, water and air. To do our part, Patagonia is moving toward 100% renewable and recycled raw materials. By using both synthetic and natural fibers made from pre-consumer and postconsumer waste, we are limiting our dependence on raw materials and reducing carbon emissions.
Our Postconsumer Recycling
Postconsumer refers to any finished product that has been used and then diverted from landfills at the end of its life. This term includes anything you throw in the recycling bin at home or at designated textile-collection bins, as well as used fishing nets, carpet and other consumer goods that can be recycled into textiles.
Our Pre-Consumer Recycling
Sometimes referred to as “postindustrial,” pre-consumer waste is created during the manufacturing process, like fabric scraps or yarn waste from weaving mills and spinning factories. Sometimes, as when recycling postindustrial cotton, the recycled yarn is mixed with other materials, like polyester, to ensure there is no loss in performance.
We Need Industry-Wide Change
Less than 1% of used clothing is recycled into new clothing every year. To truly make an impact, we need industry-wide change. If the clothing industry used recycled materials to make their clothing at the same rate as Patagonia, we could reduce CO₂e emissions by the equivalent of what’s emitted from powering every household in California for one year.*
*In one year, Patagonia has avoided the emissions of approximately 20,000 tons of CO2e by using recycled content. If we in the clothing industry all did this together, we could remove 114,000,000 tons of CO₂e. According to the EPA emissions calculator, this amount is equal to the amount of CO₂e that results from the energy used in around 13,651,060 homes. According to census data, the total number of households in California is 13 million.