Archive for the ‘Going Green’ Category

Eco-Champion Round 2 voting is underway

June 19, 2009


The 25 finalists for The North Face/Polartec® Eco Champion contest have been chosen and voting is underway online. A $15,000 donation is on the line for the winning green charity and $1,000 shopping spree at for the winning entry.

Check out the contest here. So far it’s a tight race between a couple of Riverkeeper organizations, the Audobon Society of Portland and ConservationNEXT. All of the finalists are incredibly worthy causes and people making a difference in our world. Thanks for your inspiration and good luck!


Polartec Recognized by Time Magazine as a “Company with a Conscience”

May 4, 2009

time_may_09_cover1Time Magazine’s Style and Design issue has included Polartec in its ‘Green Design 100 – The People and Ideas Behind Today’s Most Influential Design.’

Polartec is listed as a “Company with a Conscience” because of its use of recycled fabrics. In 2009 over 25% of Polartec’s total production will be from recycled materials, saving the energy equivalent of over 38 million pounds of carbon dioxide.




Nominate your favorite green charity or individual to win $15K

April 15, 2009

polartec_zipper_2x21Who’s your Eco-Champion? Is it the Waterkpeeper Alliance? The Nature Conservancy? The Environmental Defense Fund? Greenpeace?  The Surfrider Foundation? Your local trail maintenance crew? Your spouse? Your neighbor? You?

Polartec and The North Face have relaunched the Eco-Champion program. We’re giving away $15,000 to the winning non-profit organization and thousands in gear to the winning individual.

So, take a couple minutes, fill out an entry form and help us celebrate Earth Day by nominating your Eco Champion!

Enter the Eco-Champion contest here.

Today’s Fabrics – Tomorrow’s Environment

March 25, 2009

_ger518112March 19, 2009 – Polartec hosted a media event at The Loft and Garden in Rockefeller Center, New York City to celebrate their new collection of environmentally friendly fabrics. Fall 2009 garments from the best performance clothing brands in the world were on display to highlight the range of recycled content Polartec fabrics now available including super lightweight 100% recycled content Polartec Power Dry to super warm Polartec Classic 300 with 87% recycled content.

Andy Vecchione, President of Polartec, LLC, kicked off the evening by discussing Polartec’s long-term commitment to sustainability. Polartec first offered recycled fleece over 15 years ago and in 2009 almost 30 percent of Polartec’s total production will be recycled fabric – saving at least 38 million pounds of CO2 annually.

Andy then passed the mic to newly minted author, Aspen local and old friend, Auden Schendler. Auden, who works as the environmental director for the Aspen Ski Co, just published his first book Getting Green Done, a fascinating look from the front lines of the sustainability movement. Auden began his talk by comparing his Harris Tweed jacket to Polartec and had the crowd engaged and laughing from start to finish.


Andy Vecchione

Andy Vecchione

Auden Schendler

Auden Schendler

The North Face® and Polartec® Launch Eco Champion Campaign to Promote Green Living with $15,000 Grand Prize

February 18, 2009

The North Face®, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, and Polartec®, the creators of the highest performance textiles available, announce the launch of their ‘Eco Champion’ program. The campaign, designed to recognize passionate people improving the environment, will honor an ‘Eco-Champion’ with a $15,000 donation made in their name to a chosen green cause and a $1,000 gift certificate to The North Face® online store.

ecochampionlogo“The Eco Champion campaign is a celebration of those individuals who dedicate their lives to making a difference in our world,” states Nate Simmons, Director of Marketing for Polartec. “Both Polartec and The North Face are committed to reducing their environmental impact through programs like the recycled Polartec fleece in The North Face Denali jacket, and we are thrilled to recognize others who embrace the world we live in.”

The ‘Eco Champion’ program is a two-round campaign, created and managed by social media advertising network, Brickfish®. The program invites entrants to submit videos, photos or blogs showcasing people who deserve special recognition for their efforts to improve the environment. Twenty-five finalists, selected by The North Face® and Polartec® from round one, will advance to round two. Of the twenty-five finalists, one grand prize winner will be selected through online voting to receive a $15,000 donation made in their name to a green cause of their choice plus a $1,000 gift certificate to The North Face® online store. In addition to the grand prize winner, The North Face® and Polartec® will also award the second and third place winners with donations made in their names.

“The health of our planet and the outdoors is an integral part of The North Face brand,” said Letitia Webster, Director of Corporate Sustainability for The North Face.  “We are thrilled to partner with Polartec for the ‘Eco Champion’ challenge to offer such a powerful program in recognition of the individual contributions of committed people and demonstrate the tremendous collective input we can all have.”

tnf-denaliAll twenty-five ‘Eco Champion’ finalists will receive a new Denali jacket by The North Face. The Denali, which debuted in 1989, helped introduce the warmth and functionality of Polartec® fleece to the world. A certifiable classic, the jacket has sold millions of units and can be found everywhere from Everest base camp to college campuses worldwide. This year, The North Face has switched the Polartec® fleece in the Denali to a new, recycled Polartec® Classic 300 fleece, which contains 87 percent recycled content. The new Denali will save the energy equivalent of approximately .83 gallons of gas and 33 pounds of carbon dioxide per jacket versus a jacket made using virgin polyester fleece.

The ‘Eco Champion’ campaign ends March 18.  For complete details, click here.

Garment Spotlight – natureVsfuture

December 22, 2008

naturevsfutureFor most people, the name Polartec conjures up images of warm fleece jackets from Patagonia, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear and other major outdoor clothing brands.

Brooklyn fashion designer Nina Vallenti had other ideas for Polartec when she launched her company, naturevsfuture six years ago: high fashion that is functional and sustainable.

Case in point: the naturevsfuture Fleece Zip Up Jacket.

As the Tastemaker Diaries points out, the jacket is, “made from recycled Polartec® fleece, a combination of yarn crafted from PCP post-consumer plastic (soda bottles) and PIR post-industrial materials (scraps of fabric and yarn leftovers). This jacket is perfect for art openings, job interviews, and getting wined and dined by someone who’s really worth it.”

Check out the full line of naturevsfuture garments. They’ve got a really beautiful little black dress made from recycled Polartec fabric, some cool sweaters and yoga tops too.

Polartec in the NY Times

December 4, 2008

new-york-times-logo2Polartec was recently featured in the New York Times. The regular Physical Culture section in last Thursday’s paper included a gear test of “eco-friendly fabrics.” Our own Nate Simmons is quoted in the intro, talking about Polartec’s 15-year history making recycled fabrics.stretchvelocity The gear test included a review of the Patagonia Stretch Velocity Zip, a terrific mid-layer with 65% recycled polyester fabric, made from plastic bottles and industrial yarn scraps. The tester loved the Patagonia pullover, describing it as, “the perfect garment for me.”

Check out the NY Times review in this cool slideshow.

Business Week on Patagonia Recycling

November 11, 2008

Back in 1993, Polartec partnered with Patagonia to create the world’s first recycled polyester fleece layer, the Synchilla. To create the fleece, Polartec sourced a polyester yarn manufactured from a combination of post-consumer recycled content (plastic soda bottles) and post-industrial waste (yarn scraps).

patagonia-synchillaToday, Patagonia’s line of Synchilla pullovers, jackets and vests are still some of the company’s most popular garments. Over the years Polartec and Patagonia have also grown their partnership to create recycled fabrics for dozens of other garments, from baselayers to jackets.

In 2005, Patagonia launched the global Common Threads program in an effort to “close the loop” on its recycling efforts. Through this program customers can return their worn out Capilene® Performance Baselayers to Patagonia for recycling. Polartec and Patagonia then further collaborated to expand the list of recyclable garments to include Polartec® fleece clothing from ANY manufacturer.

businessweek_logoCheck out this interesting article in Business Week about the Patagonia Common Threads garment recycling program.

“Green” Fabrics are Often Really Grey

October 14, 2008

Cotton, organic cotton and wool are all “natural fibers,” but does that make them green? Check out this detailed document that lists estimated energy and water usage for some common natural and synthetic fibers. synthetic-fabric-vs-natural-fabric.

I’m hoping to find the same data on wool, bamboo, and PLA, but even the cotton data is pretty surprising. Plus one of the largest footprints a garment will have in its life is the energy impact of washing and drying. Polyester and Polypropylene do not stain and dry almost immediately, so they require much less laundering and do not need to be dried. And polyester garments last for many, many years of hard use where others tend to wear out faster (in part due to heavy laundering).

There’s a place for every type of fiber (and sometimes nothing feels better than cotton), but just because polyester is oil based does not make it less green when you look at the whole picture (remember the ethanol hype). For full disclosure, I work with Polartec® which mainly uses polyester fibers, including an increasing amount of recycled-content polyester that saves significant energy compared to virgin polyester.