What is Repreve?

What is Repreve?
The swimwear from Loop Swim, which we offer on www.sustainia.asia, are made from recycled plastic from Repreve. Loop swim | Made With REPREVE®

But what is Repreve?

Repreve - plastic bottles that are made into textiles, are changing the fashion industry by the editorial team LIFECHANGE. How about a bikini made from recycled plastic bottles? As a swimwear designer, Mara Hoffman was particularly concerned about the environmental impact of nylon and polyester. These two synthetic materials are both resource-intensive and difficult to recycle.

Repreve for swimwear

A few years ago, the materials company Unifi developed Repreve, a fiber made from upcycled plastic bottles, namely Repreve. Hoffman began incorporating Repreve into their swimwear, emulating brands like Patagonia and Quicksilver. They had already started using the high-performance and sustainable material in their sportswear. When Hoffman started making swimwear from Repreve in 2017, the material was still quite innovative and obscure. Now clothing made from recycled plastic bottles is on trend, if not on the way to mainstream.

Repreve is trendy

Hoffman and Helen Sahi, Vice President for Global Corporate Sustainability at Unifi, hope that recycled plastic textiles will grow in popularity. Above all, this should ensure transparency with regard to what is needed to manufacture this material and how it can be transformed.

Repreve at Fashion Week

During New York Fashion Week, Hoffman and Unifi set up a demonstration room together with brands such as Nike and Rothy’s - brands that are already using the Repreve material. Here the visitors could see how plastic bottles are processed into textiles and what can be made of these textiles. The audience could see the bottles at every stage.

The Repreve Process

First, the bottles are broken into small flakes at the Repreve Bottle Processing Center in North Carolina. Around 2.2 billion bottles can be processed in this way every year. These flakes are then melted into tiny pellets in a separate facility. There the chips are melted again and filtered and spun into threads using a process that is reminiscent of the grinding of wheat. Visitors could see swimwear, shoes, and clothing made from recycled materials. At the end of their life, these goods could even be broken down and recycled through Repreve's “Textile Takeback” program. Repreve sources its bottles from recycling companies in the United States. To date, more than 14 billion bottles have been recycled in Repreve threads. 

Energy savings through Repreve

The main benefit of the Repreve process, however, is that it saves a large amount of energy by recycling the materials rather than making them from scratch. It is estimated that this method saves enough energy to power 95,000 homes for a year.