Coming off of a successful first-year partnership, the National Football League’s Detroit Lions have named Unifi Inc.’s Repreve fiber brand as the team’s official sustainability partner for a second year.

Repreve transforms recycled plastic bottles into polyester fibers used to make fabric found in some of America’s favorite brands, including Haggar, Polartec, Quiksilver, Ford and Volcom.

“Last year, Lions fans recycled nearly 60,000 plastic bottles at Ford Field,” said Detroit Lions team president Tom Lewand. “We look forward to the continuation of this aggressive recycling effort and showcasing Repreve-based products created from recycled plastic bottles to our fans.”

During the Oct. 25 game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field, Repreve will host a “Make the Smart Throw” challenge during halftime where one fan will get the chance to win up to $50,000 for completing a series of difficult throws on the field.

“This continued partnership with the Lions provides us a unique platform to educate fans on the importance of recycling and sustainability,” said Roger Berrier, president and chief operating officer of Unifi. “Compared to other countries, the United States recycles significantly fewer plastic materials, with less than 32 percent being recycled. Together with the Lions, we can show fans that through the simple act of recycling, they can play a role in transforming plastic bottles into great consumer products.”

To further educate consumers on the range of products that can be made from recycled bottles, Repreve will launch a national recycling tour later this year. The tour will make stops across the U.S., including Ford Field, giving consumers a chance to recycle their plastic bottles in exchange for Repreve-based products.

Unifi, based in Greensboro, N.C., reported net income of $42.2 million for fiscal year ended June 28, on net sales of $687.1 million.  Unifi broke ground last month on an 85,000-square-foot addition to its Repreve Recycling Center in Yadkinville, N.C. The expansion of the facility will increase capacity to produce Repreve fiber and other premier value-added products by up to 60 million pounds annually. The $10 million investment will create an estimated 18 to 20 new jobs in the Yadkin County area.

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