Congrats! Unifi turns water bottles into graduation gowns
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Over the next 10 years, college graduates from the class of 2016 are estimated to use more than 3 billion plastic bottles, and with the U.S. recycling rate at only 31 percent, more than 2 billion of those plastic bottles will likely end up in landfills where they may never biodegrade.
That’s why a textile manufacturer, Unifi, Inc. (NYSE:UFI), is educating college students, along with the general public, about the importance of recycling and buying products that are made with recycled materials.
The Company transforms recycled plastic bottles into fiber called REPREVE®, and works with Oak Hall Cap & Gown to turn it into fabric for graduation gowns worn by more than 400,000 graduates in schools across the country. Among those using REPREVE-based gowns are Brown University, Michigan State, University of Alabama and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as more than 1,250 other schools.
“Graduation is a unifying moment in time and a perfect opportunity to reach millennials, who can be a powerful voice for change in our society,” said Jay Hertwig, vice president of global branding for Unifi, Inc. “There remains shockingly low participation in recycling programs, and we believe this is largely because people don’t understand that high-quality products can be made from recycled plastic bottles.”
To increase understanding of what happens to plastic bottles, and to empower individuals to choose the recycling bin instead of the trash can, Unifi has taken to the road with a recycling education tour.
The national #TurnItGreen mobile tour makes stops at universities, retail locations, major entertainment and sporting events, and elementary schools across the United States. REPREVE features familiar brands – such as Polartec, Volcom and Ford – to showcase the array of high-quality REPREVE-based products that can be transformed from plastic bottles when consumers recycle. For example, it takes 27 recycled plastic bottles to produce an Oak Hall graduation gown, five to create a pair of Volcom Mod-Tech boardshorts, and eight for a pair of Haggar dress pants, saving billions of bottles because these products are made with REPREVE.