Puma, the well-known sports brand recently announced that they have made the decision that from 2024, all their official football replica jerseys will no longer be manufactured from PET bottles. Choosing to make this change in order to make the brand more environmentally friendly and reduce plastic waste, the company will now be manufacturing their jerseys out of chemically recycled polyester.
This decision has been made after the company looked more closely at how good the original process for recycling PET bottles was for the environment and for reducing the amount of plastic waste. After the clothing brand saw that the process involving turning recycled PET bottles into new textiles was not ‘working well for recycling polyester textile waste’, they chose to change their manufacturing process.
Not only will this switch be an excellent improvement for the environment and reduce the amount of plastic waste, through improving this system, but it will also align with the company’s Re:Fibre programme. The company has said that they set up this programme in order to address the issues within the polyester recycling system and fix the challenges presented within the textile waste problem which are present throughout the manufacturing system. The company has said that addressing and fixing this challenge will involve a ‘long-term solution’ for recycling polyester.
The Re:Fibre solution, focusses predominantly on textile waste as the primary source of material. This material is shredded, dissolved and then filtered through a chemical recycling process, which is most likely solvolysis. This re-boost of their Re:Fibre programme will result in the company’s garments being made from a minimum of 95% recycled textile waste and the rest will be made of other used materials, made from polyester. Puma have stated that this system will work well as the recycled material is ‘just as good as new and can be used for recycling again and again without losing quality.’ This change in the manufacturing process will be better for the environment and the brand overall, as it will significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that is produced by the company and will increase the amount of recycled plastic and reused polyester that the company uses and applies to their garments.
Along with the new system, Puma has taken their attention to reducing plastic waste to the next level, involving their customers as well. They have now introduced a new system in their stores in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK, which involves ‘take back points’. This means that customers who return their unwanted and old garments, made from 100% polyester, can exchange them for a voucher which they can make future purchases with. This system is directly linked to the company’s aim to reduce plastic waste, as this new scheme is only applicable to garments made of 100% polyester.
Chief Sourcing Officer at Puma, Anne-Laure Descours, commented, “Our wish is to have 100% of product polyester coming from textile waste. Textile waste build-up in landfills is an environmental risk. Rethinking the way we produce and moving towards a more circular business model is one of the main priorities of our sustainability strategy.”