Paddy Pallin and the Pallin family have had a long appreciation and love for the environment with the Paddy Pallin Foundation set up to protect and enhance the Australian environment. As one of Australia’s most trusted providers of outdoor clothing and equipment Paddy Pallin takes great interest in the impact of manufacturing has on the environment that the materials are used to make the clothing and equipment we use. With this in mind Paddy Pallin looks to stock brands that share the same ideals as we and our customers do. In this post we will be looking at how the outdoor brand Patagonia is helping to lead the industry in using recycled fabrics in their clothing and equipment.

Recycled Polyester

Patagonia began making recycled polyester from plastic plastic bottles in 1993 being the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to transform rubbish into fleece. It was a positive step toward a more sustainable system–one that uses fewer resources, discards less and better protects people’s health.

Today, Patagonia recycle used plastic bottles, unusable manufacturing waste and worn-out garments (including their own) into polyester fibers to produce clothing. Paddy Pallin ranges a number of the Patagonia recycled polyester styles with the Down SweaterBlack Hole Duffel’s, Ironwood and Arbor Daypacks, Micro D PulloverNine Trail Shorts all being made of recycled polyester.

Using recycled polyester lessens the dependence on petroleum as a source of raw materials. It curbs discards, thereby prolonging landfill life and reducing toxic emissions from incinerators. It helps to promote new recycling streams for polyester clothing that is no longer wearable. And it causes less air, water and soil contamination compared to using non-recycled polyester.

Recycled Nylon

Like polyester, nylon fiber is made from petroleum. Although Patagonia has been substituting non-recycled polyester for recycled versions for 20 years, only in the last five have they have begun swapping out non-recycled nylon for its recycled replacement. For some reason locked deep in polymer chemistry, nylon is more difficult to recycle than polyester. After years of research, development, and testing, Patagonia finally finding some recycled nylon fibers that are suitable for apparel and can pass their rigorous tests of manufacturability and product quality.

Some of the recycled nylon Patagonia use comes from post-industrial waste fiber, yarn collected from a spinning factory, and waste from the weaving mills that can be processed into reusable nylon fiber. Another recycled nylon fiber Patagonia is experimenting with is re-created from discarded industrial fishing nets.

In 1993 Patagonia were the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to adopt fleece made from post consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles into their line. Twenty years later however, they’re still searching for a similar success story with recycled nylon. The challenge lies ahead of Patagonia, and they’re committed to discovering the best methods to recycle nylon fiber, but it appears this evolution will take many years.

In any case, incorporating as much recycled nylon as we can lessens our dependence on petroleum as a raw material source. It curbs discards, thereby prolonging landfill life and reducing toxic emissions from incinerators. It helps promote new recycling streams for nylon products that are no longer usable. And it causes less air, water, and soil contamination compared to using non-recycled nylon.

Paddy Pallin also ranges a number of the Patagonia recycled nylon styles with the Torrentshell Jackets and Pants, GI Zip Off Pants and the Quandary Shorts and Pants all being made of recycled nylon.

Fair Trade

Patagonia also supports the people behind the product. Many of Patagonia’s styles including all of the Better Sweater range are now Fair Trade certified sewn. Every purchase sends more money back to the workers who made them. That’s the Fair Trade Difference.

Together with the above recycling initiatives, all of Patagonia’s down products, as of 2014, contain Traceable Down, all of which can be traced back to birds that were never force-fed and never live-plucked. For more information on the traceable down program read our blog article here.

About The Author

Dave Casey

Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe. In his spare time Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber while also dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking. He is currently working at Paddys as the National Account Manager, to fund all of the above.

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