New vests soon to be worn by all employees of Walmart stores will be crafted from a fabric made from recycled bottles. The lightweight vests, made from a material called Repreve, will be rolled out later this year in Walmart Superstores and Neighborhood markets.
Unifi, the textile company that manufactures Repreve, says it has recycled more than 14 billion plastic bottles. The manufacturer also says that, compared to making virgin fiber, making Repreve uses less new petroleum, emitting fewer greenhouse gases and conserving water and energy in the process.
Walmart’s use of Repreve is part of its “ongoing mission to provide products that sustain people and the environment,” the retail giant says. By using a regenerative approach, the company can reduce waste in operations and the global value chains.
The apparel industry is increasingly being scrutinized for its sustainability – or lack thereof – from raw materials use through manufacturing all the way to retail. This is leading to significant growth in the global market for eco fibers, which is expected to soar at a CAGR of 14.1% between now and 2026, according to recent research from Research and Markets. Growth of the market will be driven not only by increasing awareness of environmental sustainability but also by a rise in disposable income and increasing demand from emerging economies.