Timberland Launches a Line Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles

(3BL Media/JustMeans) The clothing industry has a big environmental impact, so using more sustainable materials is one way to lessen its impact. Plastic bottles that aren’t recycled are a big environmental problem. But if they are recycled, they can be turned into a variety of products, including fabric. One outdoor clothing manufacturer is creating a product line made from fabric that contains recycled plastic.

Timberland is partnering with Thread, the sustainable fabric manufacturer. Thread’s Ground to Good fabric is made from plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras. Timberland will release a collection of footwear and bags made from Thread fabric.

The Thread fabric that will be used in the Timberland products is made in the U.S. with up to 50 percent PET from plastic bottles. Thread traces and tracks the fabric from collecting bottles to making the fabric. Through Thread, almost 3,600 people in Haiti and Honduras have jobs. Thread employees are given job training and have access to micro-loan programs.

The Thread partnership is not Timberland’s first initiative in Haiti. Recently, the clothing manufacturer finished a five-year commitment to plant five million trees in Haiti. That commitment resulted in an agro-forestry cooperative being created which will help 3,200 smallholder farmers increase productivity and their incomes.

The Thread line will not be Timberland’s first to contain recycled materials. In 2015, 18.4 percent of the materials used in the company’s products were renewable, organic or recycled (ROR). Timberland wants to increase its use of ROR by 2020, and to use only 100 percent responsibly grown cotton by 2020. Its footwear contains the most ROR materials, with 89.3 percent of all footwear shipped containing ROR materials. In 2014, 71.8 percent of its footwear contained ROR materials. The goal is for every one of its footwear products to contain ROR materials by 2020. In 2015 alone Timberland’s footwear contained one million pounds of recycled PET, which equals 47 million plastic water bottles. Since 2009. It has used the equivalent of 233 million water bottles and has incorporated 1,407 metric tons of recycled rubber into its products.Timberland is not the only clothing manufacturer to incorporate ROR materials into its products. Patagonia has used organic cotton in all of its products since 1994. H&M has a line called Conscious which organic materials, including cotton, and recycled materials. It even uses recycled glass to make bead embellishments for some of its garments. Its goal is for all of its cotton to come from responsibly grown sources.

Photo: Timberland