Patagonia Expands Common Threads Recycling Program


Patagonia have recently extended the scope of their Common Threads recycling program. When we first mentioned it they were just accepting their Capilene underwear back for recycling. Now they'll take in fleece garments, whether their own Synchilla or other companies Polartec fleece. Get these to a Patagonia outlet and they'll send 'em on to their buddies at Teijin in Japan, who'll melt the stuff down to make new polyester fibre, which Patagonia will buy for inclusion in a growing line of recycled content performance wear. We know what you are thinking — send used clothes to Japan for recycling, that can't be very environmentally sound — and they wondered the same thing. But Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) showed that the international sea freight was only 30% of the transport impact. One of the larger contributors was customers driving to shops just to drop off their old undies and jackets. Post 'em in Patagonia suggest. And using the recycled feedstock, compared to virgin polyester, reduced energy by 84% and CO2 emissions by 77%. The LCA is available as a downloadable 11 page PDF. If feeling so inclined you could watch the wacky video as Agent Jimmy attempts to solve the discarded underwear crisis. We preferred to notice that they are also accepting back organic cotton t-shirts for recycling. These head off to Calamai in Italy, who have been recycling wool for over 100 years. The company does however point out, "It's critical that we recognize that recycling clothing is not a cure-all for our environmental challenges. Room for improvement abounds." ::Patagonia Common Threads.

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