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Recycled fleeces


A company called Wellman Inc actually makes the PCR fleece that Patagonia uses.

Used plastic bottles are collected from the public through bottle banks or kerbside collection schemes. They are taken to sorting centres and separated into different types of plastic (PET is used to make fibres). The sorted bottles are compressed into bales and sent to a reprocessing plant.

At the reprocessing plant, the bottles are chopped up into flakes in water. This cleans the plastic and any non-PET parts are removed. The flakes are dried and transported into storage containers using an air-blower system that removes any dust or remnants of labels. The flakes are then melted and squeezed through spinnerets (devices for forming filaments of synthetic fibre). As the material cools it solidifies, producing long strands of individual fibres. These are then drawn (stretched to several times their original length), crimpled to introduce a wave, and cut to length.

The final fibres are spun into yarn and the yarn is woven to produce the PCR fleece material.

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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