The North Face has undertaken an effort to help national parks reduce waste and increase recycling rates as part of its new “Bottle Source” initiative.
The project aims to advance the brand’s use of sustainable materials and create a more circular economy by extending the life cycle of single-use plastic bottles.
Apparel in the Bottle Source collection are made from a blend of Better Cotton Initiative cotton and Repreve recycled polyester. The men’s and women’s T-shirts are printed with icons of the great outdoors and available at thenorthface.com, stores in the U.S. and park gift shops.
“What’s unique about it is that we are diverting plastic bottles from the waste stream of national parks, putting that into our supply chain and putting it into this program,” James Rogers, director of sustainability for The North Face, said. “For each product we make, we’re giving $1 to the National Park Foundation, and that money is going toward sustainability projects in the parks.”
The Bottle Source program has already collected more than 160,000 pounds of plastic bottles sourced from waste from Yosemite, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The funds donated by The North Face will be made available to these national parks by the National Park Foundation to support sustainability projects, such as bear-proof recycling bins and reusable water bottle filling stations.
Rogers noted that with Unifi, which produces Repreve, The North Face is sourcing the bottles directly from park material recycling facilities to manufacture the tees and totes. The ongoing program will expand in the fall to include sweatshirts and long-sleeve T-shirts.
“Our hope is that the program will continue to expand in scale over time,” Rogers said. “We’ve committed to donating at least $100,000 to the parks, but our hope is that we far exceed that.”
The Bottle Source program is part of The North Face’s ongoing commitment to improving the environmental performance of its products. The recycled polyester is used in many core products like the Reaxion line and Denali Jacket. In 2017, the company launched the Cali Wool Beanie made with Climate Beneficial Wool that uses regenerative farming practices to produce wool to pull carbon into the soil.
Since 2010, The North Face has distributed millions in grants through the Explore Fund to nonprofit organizations working to encourage participants to experience outdoor activities and develop an enduring appreciation of the outdoors.