Unifi's Repreve plant.

In spite of the strides the industry has made to reduce plastic consumption, somehow it’s still on the rise, according to recycled and synthetic yarn solutions firm Unifi. So to recognize companies that are achieving those hard-to-reach sustainability milestones, Unifi announced its third annual Repreve Champions of Sustainability awards, inclusive of 79 companies that met their goals through the use of the firm’s Repreve recycled performance fiber.

Walmart and Quiksilver are among those that have reached the quarter-billion bottle milestone, while fast-fashion brands such as H&M have recycled more than a half-billion bottles to align with its stated objectives for prioritizing sustainability. The company said Repreve Champions of Sustainability will be awarded to 26 brand and retail partners that have each transformed 10 million or more recycled plastic bottles and 42 textile partners that have each transformed 50 million or more bottles, in addition to 11 special category award winners that created a wholly unique product with Repreve, with this year’s winners including companies such as Twin Dragon, Palmetto Synthetics and U.S. Denim Mills.

Its Special Category Awards spotlight partners in innovation, commitment to the circular economy, newcomers to the list and companies that are all-in, or have integrated Repreve throughout their product lines.

A look by DL1961. Photo courtesy of DL1961. 

Jay Hertwig, senior vice president, global sales and marketing, Unifi, said, “Working together, Unifi’s brand, retailer and textile partners have helped us recycle more than 19 billion bottles. We are excited that more and more companies are committing to global responsibility and using our eco-friendly fiber options to positively impact our planet, both now and in the future.” He continued, “While plastic consumption is on the rise, we’re doing our part to give bottles a second life. It is our hope that these awards also inspire consumers to make recycling a daily habit and increase recycling rates.”

Meanwhile, denim brands are taking meaningful steps toward improving the material, which is widely known as one of the worst environmental offenders — particularly for its gratuitous use of water. The average pair of jeans uses approximately 1,500 gallons of water to produce, but the average pair of jeans by vertically integrated denim company DL1961 uses less than 10 gallons. And the brand recently published its sustainability report with a slew of impressive sustainability stats.

Zahra Ahmed, ceo of DL1961, told WWD, “Many brands are just now starting to focus on sustainability while DL1961 has been producing sustainable product from the start. In fall 2020, year of the 50th Earth Day anniversary, we are pushing our product to be even more sustainable. DL1961 is launching an ultra-sustainable rinse capsule across men’s, women’s and kids. These styles use even less water for washing, little to no dry process and eco-friendly trims. This sleek and fashion-forward rinse capsule contains jackets, shirts and bottoms in a range of fits with contrast stitching.”

For more Business news from WWD, see:

U.N. ‘Texpertise’ Event Looks at Fashion’s Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability Ushers in a Better, Brighter Industry

Inspectorio Leads Brands, Retailers to Sustainability, Transparency

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