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When you look at the numbers, fashion is a high-octane business. Around one million tons of clothing are thrown away in Germany every year. In the USA, the rubbish mountain grows by about 13 million metric tons a year and in China by just under 21 million. Worldwide, a mere 20% of clothing is recycled. Most of it ends up in second-hand shops or collection centers for charities. What is actually recycled – i.e. collected, shredded, spun, dyed, woven, sewn and sold – is only a tiny fraction. This is precisely the situation that Timo Perschke is currently changing, at least when it comes to ski wear.
Perschke is CEO of PYUA, a brand that is a recycling pioneer in the textile industry. Based in Kiel in north Germany, the company has been producing sustainable, highly functional, pollution-free winter sportswear since 2008. Timo Perschke and his team have a clear goal: to turn used PYUA jackets into new PYUA jackets. All products can be returned for recycling at participating retailers throughout Europe. In addition, customers in the north of Germany have the opportunity to put their old jackets in the textile containers of recycling company Wenkhaus, which collects them for PYUA.
Initially, PYUA was met with amusement for their clear commitment to #ecorrect and #closedlooprecycling. Since then, however, the press and media have been increasingly singing the company’s praises. And more and more international bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers among the environmentally conscious outdoor scene are identifying with PYUA.
So what fabric are they using for their winter clothing? Old jackets are chopped up, decolorized and melted into polyester chips, from which new polyester yarn is drawn. New fabrics are created, which are then further processed into modern ski clothing. But the chain would not be perfect if all components were not produced in an environmentally friendly manner. And that, according to Perschke, is the decisive factor that makes Freudenberg Performance Materials the perfect partner for PYUA. FPM supplies the comfortemp® fiberball eco padding used in the company’s garments. Consisting of continuous fiberballs, the padding is also made from used PET bottles and is the sustainable version of the successful comfortemp® fiberball padding.
“Together with Freudenberg, we are launching a technologically high-quality and ecologically clean product onto the market.”Timo Perschke, founder of PYUA
The idea for the sustainable version of the padding came to life during ISPO 2017 in Munich. The response to the premiere of comfortemp® fiberball padding was outstanding: What a great material! Is there also a bio version of that? “So immediately after ISPO, we started the research work and developed the eco version at our headquarters in Weinheim in less than eight months”, explained Benoit Cugnet, Head of Global Strategic Marketing Apparel at FPM.
“PYUA is the perfect partner for the launch of comfortemp® fiberball eco at ISPO in Munich.”Benoit Cugnet, Freudenberg Performance Materials
The label has an excellent reputation because it optimally combines sustainability and functionality. In 2017, PYUA won the Federal Ecodesign Award, the Greentec Award and the ISPO Award. This year, with the Freudenberg padding, PYUA was even won Gold in the ISPO Award.
“PYUA is a pioneer in the industry.”Kim Scholze, sustainability expert at ISPO Munich.
The path that PYUA has already successfully trodden still lies ahead of other labels. Scholze has worked extensively with the industry in recent years. Her conclusion: “Many labels have worked intensively in the past in the areas of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Sustainability is no longer a trend but is part of the DNA of many companies.” This is a development that was clearly demonstrated at ISPO this year. “For the first time, we had created a homogenous area across more than 800 m2 of exhibition space in Hall A4, which illustrated our own work in terms of a ‘green’ ISPO. At the same time, it provided our exhibitors with a forum to glean comprehensive information and to exchange views with experts and international associations.”
There is currently a lot of movement in terms of recycling. It is good to see more and more manufacturers like PYUA and Freudenberg actively implementing sustainability.
Find out more about comfortemp® fiberball padding and comfortemp® fiberball eco here