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Textile Roundup: DownTek ZeroPFC Gets More Enlightened, Applied DNA Says Tag, Gore Tex Expands Sustainable Range

DownTek ZeroPFC expands with Enlightened Equipment, Applied DNA gets a major order and Gore-Tex grows its sustainable portfolio.

Down with no PFCs 

Sustainable Down Source, creator of DownTek—an innovative hydrophobic and quick-drying down technology–has inked a deal with Minnesota-based Enlightened Equipment, a specialist in the ultralight market, as the first U.S. company to integrate DownTek ZeroPFC throughout its entire down product line.

DownTek ZeroPFC was born from a commitment to providing customers with the best in performance down while keeping in mind its environmental impact, noted Caroline Zapf, chief sustainability officer at Sustainable Down Source.

It’s a fluorocarbon-free water repellent down that uses a nature-inspired approach to achieving water repellency. Instead of perfluorocarbons, DownTek ZeroPFC uses lipids–the fatty, oily substance that gives goose feathers their natural water-repellency and insulating qualities–to coat the down and render it highly water-repellent.

The industry had been slowly taking PFCs out of the supply chain due to potential health and environmental risks.

Zapf explained that outdoor industry is driven by the end consumer and the brand’s consumers are “environmentally conscious and knowledgeable,” which is what led the company to develop DownTek ZeroPFC.

She said DownTek ZeroPFC lasts through five hours of constant hard rain, compared to 30 minutes for untreated down. Downtek ZeroPFC was launched in 2014 and has as brand base of high tech and causal performance brands.

“Enlightened Equipment is an amazing brand partner,” Zapf said in a phone interview. “We struggle to keep up with their orders.”

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Tim Marshall, founder of Enlightened Equipment, said the line encompasses a range of premium, ultra-lightweight sleep systems, including quilts and sleeping bags. A key product is a quilt that fits on the outside of a hammock, avoiding compacting the down and making it lose its insulating qualities.

“Sourcing our down responsibly and using technology that is the benchmark for environmental sustainability is imperative to our brand,” Marshall said. “We care deeply about the sensitivity of the environment and the wild places we love to explore.”

Zapf noted that Sustainable Down Source, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is certified to the Responsible Down Standard, is a member of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals program and is a Bluesign system partner.

Applied DNA Sciences to make more cotton traceable

Applied DNA Sciences Inc. said it has received an order to tag 27.5 million pounds of cotton to kick off the 2017-2018 ginning season.

The order is composed of three U.S. cotton varietals: pima, delta and acala, which fall under the Pimacott, HomeGrow LoneStar and HomeGrown Acala programs.

“Now in our third season, Applied DNA’s SigNature T DNA has been meeting the need for supply chain traceability, transparency and trust within the cotton industry ecosystem with national retailers, their supply chain partners and consumers,” said James A. Hayward, president and chief executive officer of Applied DNA. “This order demonstrates our success in further entrenching SigNature T DNA in an established revenue-generating vertical and in extending the adoption of our proven technology platform. Although we cannot predict the timing of follow-on orders, conversations with our customers lead us to believe that additional opportunities to tag cotton during the 2017-2018 ginning season are likely.”

[Read more about Applied DNA: Applied DNA Extends Authentication Technology to New Raw Materials]

SigNature DNA is at the heart of a family of uncopyable, security and authentication solutions, such as SigNature T and fiberTyping, targeted toward textiles and apparel; DNAnet for anti-theft and loss prevention, and digitalDNA for track and trace. All provide a forensic chain of evidence and can be used to prosecute perpetrators.

The new order is incremental to DNA concentrate to tag 30 million pounds of cotton that was shipped during fiscal 2016 to establish an on-site reserve of SigNature T DNA before the harvest begins.

Applied DNA Sciences provides biotechnology-driven solutions to help protect products, brands, supply chains and intellectual property of companies, governments and consumers from theft, counterfeiting, fraud and diversion. Patented botanical DNA solutions can be used to identify, tag, track, and trace products, to help assure authenticity, traceability and quality of products.

Gore-Tex brings more recycled textiles

Stemming from its ongoing commitment to deliver the optimal combination of high technical performance and low environmental footprint, W. L. Gore & Associates’ Fabrics Division will expand its use of textile solution dyeing and increase its offering of recycled Gore-Tex face-fabric textiles for the upcoming fall-winter season.

Gore said these initiatives will help improve the environmental footprint of its products throughout their full life cycle. Together, the projects will substantially reduce water use and CO2 emissions, and decrease the amount of material that otherwise might end up in landfills.

Solution dyeing is a yarn-dyeing technology that saves up to 60 percent in water usage and offers a significant reduction in CO2 emissions compared to conventional dyeing processes. During the solution-dyeing process, pigment is mixed with the nylon or polyester pellets prior to spinning into yarn. The resulting yarn is permanently, deeply colored and ready to be woven into fabrics.

Thomas Kiebler, who oversees textile development for consumer garments in Gore’s Fabrics Division, said: “This technology not only helps us to reduce our environmental footprint, it also offers a performance benefit of superior color-fastness to light. With this improved color-fastness, consumers will enjoy brilliant colors longer. And, as we know from our LCA studies, using a durable outerwear product for a long time is the best thing you can do if you wish to reduce its impact on the environment.”

Gore is also increasing its offering of recycled face-fabric textiles. Though the use of mechanically or chemically recycled fabric has a relatively small positive impact on CO2 emissions, using recycled materials enables the Gore Fabrics Division to have a larger impact by reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or in incineration.

Gore’s recycled nylon is sourced from pre-consumer waste, while its recycled polyester source is post-consumer PET bottles. This shift also ties to Gore Fabrics’ overall goal of keeping the use of natural resources to a minimum to deliver its high performing and durable products.

For fall, Gore will launch a range of laminates paired with recycled nylons and polyesters in different Gore-Tex product classes, working with brand partners that include Haglöfs, Norrøna and Patagonia.

Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, Gore employs about 10,000 people and generates annual revenues that exceed $3 billion.