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Korean Company Creates Eco-Friendly Down Alternative

Vegans and animal rights activists, rejoice. A Korean company has come up with a new alternative to goose and duck down feathers that can be used in winter jackets.

Toray Chemical Korea Inc. of South Korea said Wednesday that it had successfully developed micro-scale hollow fibers for the purpose of filling bedding and outerwear, Pulse reported.

Soft, lightweight and thermal, the new fiber was made by combining two types of polyester polymer with a spiral-shaped structure that traps more air to better retain heat and which can easily revert to its original shape.

According to a company official, “high-level textile processing technology” was used to develop the fibers by maximizing the advantages of natural fabrics while fixing the weaknesses. The eco-friendly alternative to traditional duck and goose down fillers is said to be durable, doesn’t clump together in the wash and can be recycled once the bedding or garment reaches the end of its life.

News of Toray’s breakthrough came after PETA called out the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) with a graphic video that showed live-plucked geese in Chinese factories, alleging that the facilities sold the feathers to companies that claimed to source responsible down. Columbia, H&M and Sorel are just three apparel companies with RSD-certified products in their upcoming Fall 2016 collections. Textile Exchange, which created RSD in partnership with The North Face, has confirmed that no down from the PETA-investigated facilities could have been sold as RDS-certified.