Multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarn producer and processor Unifi Inc. has partnered with performance fabric developer, manufacturer and marketer Polartec for new performance fabrics made with the eco-friendly Repreve 100, which is made from 100% post-consumer waste from clear plastic water bottles.

The two companies are major developers high-performance recycled content yarns and fabrics, and collaborative efforts among them have grown Polartec’s recycled product line to more than 30% from less than 1% of total production in the past four years.

The introduction of Repreve 100, the companies said, will enable Polartec to shift much more production to recycled content by 2011.

Every pound of Repreve 100 yarn is made from approximately 27 beverage plastic bottles.

“Unifi has been an excellent partner in our quest to deliver high performance, recycled content fabrics while reducing our overall footprint throughout the supply chain,” said Andy Vecchione, president of Polartec. “The goal has always been to use as much post consumer content as possible.”

He expects Repreve 100-based Polartec fabrics will hit the consumer market in the spring of 2011.

“In the past, limited technology presented many challenges in offering a high quality 100% post-consumer product,” said Roger Berrier, evp, Unifi.  “As technology has evolved, we are now able to offer a first quality, 100% post-consumer product in the right colors and styles that Polartec requires for its fabrics.”

The transition to Repreve 100 will be transparent to consumers except for a new hangtag and joint marketing program highlighting the benefits of Polartec performance products with Repreve 100.

“The look, feel and performance of the new fabrics will be the same as virgin polyester fabrics,” the companies noted. “Every year, over 21 billion plastic bottles enter the landfill, and through this partnership Unifi and Polartec hope to raise the visibility of recycling and further educate consumers to adopt more eco-friendly practices.”

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