Los Angeles-based activewear brand Vuori is taking its first step toward kicking plastics to the curb.
This week, the label—known for its home workout-ready joggers and athleisure staples—announced a new partnership with plastic recovery and recycling body Cleanhub. The group helps brands track their plastic usage and environmental output, while helping to mitigate impact by collecting plastic waste and funneling it into the appropriate pathways for recycling or reuse.
“We at Vuori are constantly researching paths that can enable us to run the company in a more sustainable way,” founding CEO Joe Kudla told Sourcing Journal Wednesday. The news comes just months after the company announced its Climate Neutral Certified status. Vuori earned the distinction in September by measuring its 2019 greenhouse gas emissions footprint and purchasing carbon credits to offset it, while also implementing plans to reduce future emissions in its supply chain.
“Last year, cutting down our plastic footprint was high on our list of priorities, and when we started looking into the ways we could make that happen.” Packaging for e-commerce orders makes up a “massive portion” of the brand’s plastic footprint, he said.
The newly announced partnership represents Vuori’s commitment to three major initiatives surrounding plastic, including “calculating and monitoring the plastic usage across all areas of our business, implementing programs to reduce our plastic usage, and financially supporting boots on the ground initiatives to remove a net negative amount of plastic from the environment and put it to good use,” Kudla said. The company will ultimately strive to remove more plastic from the environment than it is responsible for using in its operations, he added.
Cleanhub works with cleanup teams to gather, sort and treat plastic waste, relying on an app to record the quantity, quality and location of each recovered item. The group’s partner, Geocycle, processes the plastics, “turning waste into new, useful products instead of polluting our planet,” Kudla said. According its website, Geocycle amasses waste from municipalities and industries, then processes it in cement plants that also treat other kinds of waste including used tires, animal meal, polluted water and contaminated woods for the creation of industrial materials.
In addition to offsetting its plastic impact through participation in the Cleanhub program, over the course of this year, Vuori plans to remove three million plastic poly-bags from its supply chain. The company will employ a “roll, pack and tie method” for products that shields them from dirt and damage while eliminating the need for plastic garment bags, Kudla said. There will be styles that still require protective packaging, like lighter color garments that attract dust and contaminants while being shipped and stored. “For those instances we are actively researching new technologies that can reduce reliance on plastic while not negatively affecting the plastic recycling infrastructure,” he added.
“We’ve set a big goal to eliminate 80 percent of plastics from our shipping and supply chain by 2022,” Kudla said. “That is our North Star and we are going to do all we can to achieve it.”