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Unifi Launches Fiber Made From Ocean Waste for Greater Sustainability

Unifi Inc., makers of Repreve recycled fiber, is introducing a sustainable product that enables customers and consumers to play a role in solving the growing problem of ocean plastic.

To tackle the root cause of plastic waste turning up in the world’s oceans, the new Repreve Our Ocean fiber will be made from bottles collected within 50 kilometers of coastlines in countries or areas that lack formal waste or recycling systems.

“Repreve Our Ocean is a premium collection of fiber and resin sourced from bottles at high risk of entering in the ocean,” said Jay Hertwig, group vice president of global branded sales for Unifi. “We have long cared for our air, land and natural resources by transforming billions of plastic bottles into Repreve recycled fiber. With Repreve Our Ocean, we offer a unique opportunity for brands to tell an ocean-focused story.”

Each year, at least 8.8 million tons of plastics make their way into the ocean–the equivalent of dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute, according to Unifi. In addition, at least 80 percent of plastic flows into the oceans from land, and at current rates, there will be more plastic by weight than fish by 2050.

“Forward-thinking brands that want to take a stronger stand in addressing ocean pollution and want to make an even more specific statement about protecting the environment now have a brand new option,” Hertwig added. “Repreve Our Ocean is made for the good of tomorrow and this premium product will appeal to consumers that want to do all that they can to help protect the environment for the next generation.”

With Repreve, Unifi has transformed more than 16 billion plastic bottles into recycled fiber for new apparel, footwear, home goods and other consumer products. Unifi said net sales for the fiscal third quarter ended March 31 increased 8.5 percent to $180 million. Revenues from premium value-added (PVA) products, including its Repreve recycled polyester brand, were up 13.5 percent and represented approximately 47 percent of consolidated net sales.