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Unifi has transformed more than 10 billion plastic bottles

Unifi plans to recycle 20 billion bottles by 2020 and 30 billion bottles by 2022. The company, through Repreve, one of its proprietary technologies, has transformed more than 10 billion plastic bottles into recycled fiber for new apparel, footwear, home goods and other consumer products. Repreve is a brand of recycled fiber and pelletised resin, made with up to 100 per cent recycled materials including pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. Unifi works with brands such as Ford, Patagonia, Dockers, Haggar, New Balance and Quiksilver, from surfwear to outdoor gear to car interiors.

The bottles are sent to Unifi’s Repreve Bottle Processing Center in Reidsville, N.C. The center processes more than 2.2 billion PET bottles each year that eventually become recycled performance fiber. The front-end separation equipment comes from Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), Eugene, Ore; and nine optical units with in-flight sorting technology are from National Recovery Technologies, Nashville, Tenn., a wholly owned subsidiary of BHS. Optical separation units remove non-PET plastics from the raw-material stream and can process 22,000 lb/hr.

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