The brand will expand on its Bottle Source collection, which pulls post-consumer plastic waste from protected park lands, with a special project benefiting the mountain range that spans India, Nepal, China and Bhutan. The Himalayan Bottle Source project, which launches Wednesday, will source plastic bottles from one of the world’s most polluted rivers—the Ganges.
After the bottles are collected from the river’s shores at the base of the mountain range, they are taken to a bottle processing facility in Surat, India where they can be thoroughly cleaned and processed into “flake,” or smaller pieces of plastic. Those pieces are then sent to The North Face’s material partner, Polygenta, to be extruded into fibers and spun into usable yarns. Blending the recycled plastics with cotton fibers creates soft and sustainable T-shirts and sweatshirts, the company said in a statement.
The Himalayan project represents the first global iteration of the The North Face’s Bottle Source program, which has recycled 384,000 pounds of plastic waste to date. To support recycling and reuse programs, the company is also donating a dollar to the National Park Foundation for every Bottle Source product it makes.
The new collection will feature a handful of unisex graphic tees adorned with illustrations of the Himalayan landscape for $45, as well as a pullover hoodie sweatshirt priced at $80.
“We launched our first Bottle Source Collection, which used plastic bottles recycled from the waste streams of three of our US National Parks, in 2018, and this Spring we are incredibly proud to see the program evolving and expanding in to Global markets, now helping to give single-use plastics from the Indian Himalayas new life,” The North Face senior manager of sustainability Carol Shu, said.
“Our Bottle Source Collection is a great way for consumers to emotionally connect with products that have been made with recycled plastic waste from some of the wild places they love most.”
Recycling plastics for use in new materials is just one avenue the company is exploring in its move toward a more sustainable future.
Last week, The North Face announced the launch of its Renewed Design Residency training program, which will allow rotating groups of the brand’s designers to attend bi-annual workshops on the principles of circular design and creative garment repair.
The program kicked off with an auction of four outerwear styles made by its senior designers, assembled from materials sourced from the brand’s discarded or unsalable garments. That auction will continue through Feb. 19, The North Face told Sourcing Journal.