MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Concerns over global warming have many people doing their part to help the environment.
Now the environmentally conscious can go green in the clothes they wear.
Repreve, a company based in North Carolina, has found a way to convert plastic bottles into fabric. And one Minnesota company is incorporating the material into one of its clothing lines.
Shopping for her kids’ clothing typically comes down to two factors for Stacy Gianino.
“I’m looking for something that catches my eye because it’s cute, but also that’s durable because my kids play hard [laughs]!” Gianino said.
Most of her purchases come from Target’s Cat and Jack line.
“Cat and Jack has the knee guarantee, so we’re big fans,” she said.
Known for durability, some of the clothing has another unique characteristic. Their swimsuits and denim are made of recycled material.
“Our guest told us that sustainability and protecting the environment was really important,” said Julie Guggemos, Target’s senior vice president of product design and development.
Target partnered two years ago with Repreve after hearing that guests wanted products that didn’t negatively impact the environment.
“It’s our responsibility to create and manufacture products that have a positive impact on the environment,” Guggemos said.
Repreve stood out because of its innovation in the recycling of plastic bottles. The company converts the plastic into yarn for clothing.
According to Repreve, certain types of plastic bottles have the same chemistry make up as polyester. Repreve turns those bottles into flakes, which is then melted into a fiber.
That fiber is then converted to yarn, which is reproduced into various types of fabrics.
“When I first learned about the conversion of recyclable bottles to yarn, I was a little bit in disbelief,” Guggemos said.
She says the collaboration between the two companies has had an impact in reducing plastic bottle waste.
“Since July of 2016, we have recycled nearly 250 million bottles,” Guggemos said. “And so to put that in context, if you were to line those bottles up, you could wrap the Mall of America three times.”
Style and function may be important factors in buying clothing, but sustainability can be just as appealing for some customers.
“Definitely peaks my interest and I’d be more likely to buy it,” Gianino said.
Repreve fabric is also found in dozens recognizable labels like Patagonia, Adidas and Quick Silver.
Guggemos says Target plans to incorporate more of the fabric into its products in the future.