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MEC to introduce garment recycling program for clothing line

11
May '07
In a first among Canadian retailers, Mountain Equipment Co-op(TM) (MEC) has introduced a garment recycling program for polyester-based clothing into its stores. The program is another step in the outdoor retailer's commitment to sustainability.

Under the program, consumers will be able to deposit such things as fleece jackets and pants that contain at least 90 per cent polyester content at one of MEC's eleven stores across Canada.

"This program is a simple but profound example of how seriously we take the need to develop sustainable business practices," said Gary Faryon, MEC's senior manager of operations. "It's truly a closed-loop approach."

Clothing items collected through the program will be assessed for reuse or recycling.

Useable items will be donated to community groups. Unuseable items will be collected in MEC's Richmond, BC Distribution Centre and then shipped 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.

"Diverting polyester waste from landfills is only one of the environmental benefits of our garment recycling program," said MEC materials development manager Greg Scott. "The other 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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