Plastics Recycling Update

Unifi highlights high-volume end users

Pile of plastic bottles for recycling.

Nike, Target, Walmart and clothing manufacturer Polartec have been the biggest users of Unifi’s Repreve recycled polyester fabric.| Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

More than 40 billion plastic bottles have been recycled into Unifi’s Repreve recycled polyester fabric over the past 17 years, the company announced this month, and a number of brands are leading the way in recycled fabric demand.

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based company on May 16 published its annual list of high-volume end users, which Unifi recognizes with “champions of sustainability” awards. Leading the way is Nike, which has used more than 3 billion bottles’ worth of Repreve fabric in its products over the years. Other companies that have used more than 1 billion bottles’ worth of Repreve include Target, Walmart and clothing manufacturer Polartec.

In the awards, Unifi also listed brand owners and retailers that have used the equivalent of between 10 million and 1 billion bottles each: Aeropostale, Boardriders, Buff, Gap, Gildan, Haggar, Hanes, Ikea, JCPenney, Jordache, Klopman International, Kohl’s, Levi Strauss, Lovesac, M&S, Momentum Textiles, Piping Hot, PVH, Tapestry, The North Face, TKO Evolution, Under Armour, VF and Volcom.

The awards also listed an additional 64 textile manufacturers that have used at least 50 million bottles’ worth of Repreve each.

The 40-billion-bottle figure the company reported this month is up from 38 billion bottles recycled as of the end of 2023. Unifi has a goal to recycle 50 billion bottles by 2025.

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