Back in 2007 outdoor pack manufacturer, Mountainsmith started down the track of moving its product out of virgin nylon and into recycled polyester fabrics. That transition is continuing apace. No doubt encouraged by winning a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Green Award for their efforts, the company, has for 2010, been able to move 35% of their line into recycled polyester and sustainable materials, which they reckon is a feat not matched by their competitors.
For this year there is a new line of 11 backpacking packs, from day packs through to 75 litre of multi-day numbers all sporting Mountainsmith's own ReDura 100% recycled PET polyester fabric. But they've also updated their signature lumbar packs, as well as a new collection of camera/video bags from ReDura too.Mountainsmith indicate that the raw material for their recycling efforts comes from plastic bottles that are shredding into plastic flakes in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. The flake is shipped to Taiwan where they are extruded into yarn, then spun and woven into the company's proprietary ReDura. The fabric is then tripled coated with polyurethane, which is said to further increase overall strength and durability. (It used to be that coatings reduced a fabrics tear strength, so advances in technology are obviously being employed here.)
According to Mountainsmith, waste from plastic bottles is of significant concern. For instance, they suggest that it accounts for roughly 20% of the US solid waste stream. So it is not just their pack's body fabric that is made of recycled polyester from plastic bottles but also other trim components such as zippers, webbing and many types of mesh.
Additional to usual product specifications of weight, volume capacity, number of pockets and so on, Mountainsmith can now also detail each products uptake of recycled PET bottles, ranging from about 2.5 bottles for a camera bag to 24 bottles in a large multi-day backpack.
As we've pointed out on these pixels many times before, recycling is no panacea to environmental ills. Reducing consumption and Reusing existing product should be considered before Recycling. Nevertheless Mountainsmith's adoption of recycled materials for products subjected to the sort of wear and tear packs get, indicates a). that materials can be rescued from a tip to the landfill to make reliable, durable product, and b). that end users are prepared to also embrace greener products where performance is not compromised.
More on Mountainsmith and Recycling
• Mountainsmith Set to Expand Their Recycled Series
• Enough, Already. 'Recyclable' is Not Recycling
More Recycled Packs and Camera Bags
• Millet's New Pack Will a Load of Old Rubbish
• Osprey Packs Adds More Recycled Bags
• Terrapax Bags: Ahead of Their Time
• Nau For Something Completely Different: Nau Bags it
• Klättermusen Will Pay Customers To Recycle Already Recycled Packs
• Wrap Your Camera in Soda Bottles: LowePro Primus