Second Hand Bottles Make First Rate Clothes
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Partner, Fine Food Network
Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles are being given a new lease on life by a British company. Mark Southcott, who has a chemistry doctorate and a long family tradition of textile innovation, has created the Ecosmart range of jackets and trousers from fabric made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, including Coke’s iconic hourglass shaped variety. “We have to use clear plastic because colors weaken the fibre,” Mr. Southcott said.
In conversation with RetailWire, Mr. Southcott expanded on the procedure, explaining that bottles from recycling points are sorted, rinsed and sent to Asia for re-processing. Once chipped, they can be turned into fabric by specialists who then send the material back to manufacturers who turn it into clothing.
British retailer, Marks & Spencer, recently introduced men’s trousers, for example, from recycled bottles. These, according to Mr. Southcott, are much simpler to produce than blazers which have far more in the way of trimmings and linings. “Producing blazers is not trivial,” he assured RetailWire. “We are the first to make blazers from 100 percent recycled material.”
According to The Guardian,
his company, School Colours has
received orders from schools with more than 1,500 students, where the uniform’s “green” calculations promise a handy cut in energy consumption.
In the U.S., Coke this week introduced a “Drink 2 Wear” t-shirt line to support
Wal-Mart’s Earth Month program. The shirts, made from a blend of recycled plastic
bottles and cotton read, “Make your plastic fantastic” and “Rehash your trash.”
fun T-shirts merge trend with consciousness, reminding shoppers that small
steps like recycling a few bottles can go a long way towards helping preserve
our environment,” Stuart Kronauge, VP of marketing at Coca-Cola North America,
said in a statement. “If the 200 million Wal-Mart shoppers in the U.S. purchase
these shirts, they will help us reuse and divert more than 700 million bottles
from the waste stream.”
The line will also be supported by a television, radio and print advertising
campaign that began airing on March 30.
Coca-Cola first launched its sustainable fashion line of apparel and consumer products in 2007. It’s “rPET” line now includes t-shirts, tote bags, messenger bags, caps, purses and notebooks.
“Our long term vision is for our packaging to no longer be seen as waste but as a value resource for future use,” said Scott Vitters, director, sustainable packaging, The Coca-Cola Company. “We have been taking steps towards this vision for decades starting with the first lifecycle assessment of our packaging in 1969 and introducing the first commercialized PET bottles made from recycled material in 1991. Our new line of sustainable merchandise is another step toward this future.”
Coke’s recycling initiatives come amid environmentalists’ rising complaints about plastic bottles clogging up landfills.
Discussion question: What do you think of Coke’s recycled apparel initiative? Do you foresee other creative recycling products from branded manufacturers?
- Schools offered uniforms made from old bottles – The Guardian
- ‘Drink 2 Wear’ Coca-Cola Launches New Line of Sustainable Apparel – Coca Cola USA/Business Wire