June 4, 2007

Outdoor retailer introduces recycling program for polyester-based clothing

VANCOUVER, BC-Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) has set a precedent among Canadian retailers by introducing a garment recycling program for polyester-based clothing into its stores. Through this program, consumers will be able to deposit garments such as fleece jackets and pants containing at least 90% polyester content at one of MEC's eleven stores across Canada. Clothing items collected will be assessed for re-use or recycling, with useable items donated to community groups. Unuseable items will be collected in MEC's Richmond, BC distribution centre and then sent by container ship to Japan, where they will be reprocessed by Teijin Fibers through the textile manufacturer's Eco Circle(TM) recycling system. Teijin's fibre-to-fibre recycling system breaks down polyester garments by crushing them, turning them into granules and then running them through a chemical process to remove dyes and other chemicals. The resulting monomers are then repolymerized into raw polyester. In addition to diverting polyester waste from landfills, MEC materials development manager Greg Scott said the program's benefits "include reducing the energy used in polyester manufacturing and dramatically reducing petroleum inputs, which form the basis of virgin polyester."

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