Patagonia Launches Nylon 6 Recycling Program

Toray Industries will jointly implement a chemical recycling process for nylon 6 in garments made by Patagonia. The companies, becoming the first ever to initiate these endeavors, intend to start recycling with the 2008 spring-summer collection of surf pants and extend those efforts to cover the fall-winter collection of hard-shell jackets for alpine climbing.

These products will be sold through 2,000 retail stores in 12 countries around the world. Under Patagonia’s Common Threads Garment Recycling Program, customers can return products they no longer need to a Patagonia store in exchange for a sticker. The products thus collected will be restored to its raw material form, caprolactam, at Toray’s facilities and then reused in the manufacturing process of nylon6, which would then be utilized in various applications. Reuse of nylon6 using chemical recycling enables a 70% reduction in energy consumed for production as well as in CO2 emission compared with the regular petroleum-based nylon6. This endeavor is expected to yield significant returns in terms of energy-savings.

Under its vision to “make a global contribution in conserving resources and protecting the environment to develop a sustainable, recycling-based society” and with its concept of “Clean” and “Less Energy,” Toray Group has been pursuing the development of environmental products as well as recycled products and technologies with a reduced environmental load. The Group positions “Ecodream” as a comprehensive brand for its environmental conservation activities and environmentally friendly products including recycled products. It has been promoting its “Ecodream” Project, which aims at doubling the group sales of environmentally friendly products to about 340 billion by fiscal year 2010, compared with 170 billion yen in fiscal year 2006.

Under a basic policy of “less energy” and “total recycle,” Toray has been actively expanding its fabric recycling activities targeting nylon, polyester and acrylic products, primarily in collaboration with its customers, from various angles such as chemical, material and thermal recycling.

Over the past 22 years, Toray and Patagonia have built an important partnership through development of Toray’s advanced materials, ever since Patagonia adopted Toray’s signature waterproof, moisture permeable material “Entrant” for its outdoor garments in 1984. With respect to joint recycling efforts, the two companies in December 2006 announced Patagonia’s launch of Men’s Workender Pants based on materially recycled nylon 6 in its autumn-winter collection.

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