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Downlite Introduces New Innovations in Down Fill Using Recycled Materials

Downlite has developed new down-fill innovations involving natural and recycled materials that offer the dual benefit of enhancing the performance of the material, while being grounded in its core value of environmental stewardship.

The new performance fills in Downlite’s “Sustainovation” initiative include Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certified “Re/charged” down that uses only recycled materials. The name refers to its ability to “boost” the down to a higher cluster and resulting fill power, the company said. Re/charged down can be combined with Downlite’s performance-enhancing technologies, like its proprietary PFC-free durable water repellent treatments and Pur-Down anti-microbial solution. Downlite said it has increased capacity to meet increased customer demand for the product.

Also in the mix is a Repreve-down blend that uses Repreve’s post-consumer recycled polyester fiber made from plastic bottles and virgin down or Downlite’s GRS certified recycled down blends. Repreve-down blend offers a sustainable solution with enhanced performance benefits.

[Read more about Repreve: Unifi to Recycle 20 Billion Plastic Bottles by 2020, Launches Repreve Sustainability Awards]

In addition, Wool-Down HALO is a proprietary blend of traceable wool sourced in the U.S. and has achieved new laundry durability standards. This fiber brings the temperature and humidity control benefits of wool together with the loft, softness and compressibility of down.

Augmenting the fresh products are new sustainability initiatives such as a Waste Water Recycling System, installed a little more than one year ago, it allows Downlite to dramatically reduce the amount of water needed to cleanse down and feathers to hypo-allergenic levels.

The company’s 1% For the Planet initiative donates 1 percent of the sales of Downlite’s GRS certified Re/charged down and 1 percent of sales of the company’s eco-friendly Evolution of Comfort bedding collection from its Home Division featuring organic and recycled materials, earth-friendly components and chemistries, to 1% For the Planet.

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Rounding out the sustainability initiatives Downlite engages with an outside organic recycling company to utilize the large waste feathers that traditionally end up in landfill and, instead, treat them for soil compost. The dry feathers help make the compost more manageable when mixed with other matter. Due to feathers added pore space, they also degrade the organic matter of the compost more efficiently. Since feathers are rich in keratin, a protein that slowly releases nitrogen when added to compost, the slow release of nitrogen allows for long-term plant growth stimulation.

“Years ago, buyers’ primary concerns when purchasing down and feather for bedding and outdoor gear were that it was clean and delivered to factories on time,” said Chad Altbaier, vice president of Downlite Outdoor. “Today there are many additional factors involved in the buying decision, such as where and how the down is sourced, a supplier’s stand on environmental and sustainability matters, product innovation and cost. We continually need to be pro-active and rigorously evolve on each of these fronts.”

Downlite supplies its performance down fills to brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia Sportswear, Mountain Hardwear, Ralph Lauren, Lululemon, REI, Cascade Designs, Jack Wolfskin, Berghaus and Helly Hanson.

Based in Mason, Ohio, Downlite’s products include comforters, pillows, mattress pads, and feather and fiber beds sold under private label and national brand names in leading department stores, specialty stores and catalogs. Downlite also supplies quality bulk fills to furniture, outerwear and sleeping bag manufacturers.