Recycled polyester

Choosing recycled materials where we can is part of our DNA at Kathmandu. In 2020 alone, we recycled 8 million plastic bottles into our gear.

Recycled Polyester Range Grows.

Our range of recycled polyester continues to grow. We have recycled 30,423,221 plastic bottles since we started counting in 2015.

The bottle count number comes from the growing number of products that use REPREVE recycled polyester. Manu Rastogi, Head of Product Innovation and Product Sustainability says there are many other recycled polyester products in the range, but the bottle count is limited to REPREVE products.

“Only REPREVE is able to accurately tell us how many plastic bottles go into each of our products, so this is the only product we are comfortable reporting on. If we could get an accurate count on other recycled polyesters, we estimate it could double our recycled bottle count.”

In 2020 we expanded our Heli recycled insulation range to include 10 styles. The Heli range uses a synthetic ecodown made from recycled postconsumer PET bottles, which are broken down into resin and reinvented as polyester fibres that mimic down by trapping warmth in air pockets. This year, we also introduced the Moana day pack range, which is a blend of BCI cotton and recycled polyester made from marine and ocean plastic. The recycled yarn makers, Bionic Yarn, work with Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Waterkeeper Alliance to collect and recycle plastics on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. The programme is a pilot for launching into other regions where there is currently no recycling infrastructure.

In the early 2000s, global demand for polyester outstripped cotton to become the most in-demand fibre in the world. Today, there is twice as much demand for polyester compared with cotton.

With limited fossil fuels available to feed this demand — and an ever-growing mountain of post-consumer plastic waste — recycling is the obvious answer.

Global fibre demand for cotton and polyester 1980 - 2030Global fibre demand for cotton and polyester 1980 - 2030
Global fibre demand for cotton and polyester 1980 - 2030

Balancing the demand

Polyester is our number one fibre in terms of use. Shifting from virgin to recycled polyester is an important part of our pursuit of sustainable materials.

REPREVE® is a recycled polyester that not only meets demand, it also works towards a solution.

Polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET) is the same material as polyester. Unifi, the makers of Repreve, use a process which turn plastic bottle flakes into workable fibres:

We know there’s more to do when it comes to recycled polyester. But it’s another step in the right direction to make our products as sustainable as possible.

Want to know more? Help keep our waterways, oceans and our food systems free from the unseen plastic pollution problem: microfibres. 

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