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TEXAS – A group of leading international apparel brands have publicly pledged to increase their use of recycled polyester (rPET) by at least 25 per cent by 2020. Adidas, Eileen Fisher, Gap Inc., H&M, IKEA, Lindex, Target and Timberland are among 45 brands to make the commitment, announced at Textile Exchange’s annual sustainability conference which took place just outside Washington.

The commitment will be tracked via participation in the Polyester Module of Textile Exchange’s annual Preferred Fibre and Materials Benchmark Survey, with the baseline for measuring progress to be the usage published in the 2017 Textile Exchange Preferred Fibre and Materials Market Report.

The use of recycled polyester increased significantly up until 2014, around which time usage among some brands flatlined as price differentials between recycled and virgin polyester disappeared due, among other things, to falling raw materials prices. However, the recycled polyester ‘story’ appears to be gaining traction once again, not least due to the efforts of businesses such as Invista and its Coolmax Ecomade fibre which is made from recycled bottles.  

Sweden-based global furnishings company IKEA is one of the companies to accept the challenge to use more recycled polyester in its products. “We are committed to use resources with the utmost efficiency and turn waste into resources,” said IKEA country area manager, textiles Lena Julle, who is globally responsible for all supply chain activities related to textiles and who sets the company’s textile material direction and agenda. “The IKEA ambition is to not use any virgin oil based polyester in textiles by 2030. To commit to use 25 per cent more rPET by 2020 is a natural step towards our ambition.”

New Hampshire-based outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland has also signed up. “We’re excited to increase not only the amount of recycled polyester we source, but also the depth of our engagement within the rPET supply chain,” said Zachary Angelini, Timberland’s environmental stewardship manager. “We believe rPET can go beyond environmental impact to have social benefits for vulnerable populations. We’re especially excited to scale the effort through our partnership with Thread, a B Corporation that transforms trash from the developing world into recycled polyester, strategically creating transparent and dignified supply chains in Haiti, Honduras and Taiwan.”

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