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Recycled polyester

Lombok KMD 4852

We’ve been recycling plastic bottles into our products for more than 20 years.

This year we recycled nearly 6.7 million bottles.

In the early 2000s, global demand for polyester outstripped cotton to become the most in-demand fibre in the world. Today, there is twice as much demand for polyester compared with cotton.

With limited fossil fuels available to feed this demand — and an ever-growing mountain of post-consumer plastic waste — recycling is the obvious answer.

Global fibre demand 1920x1080
Global fibre demand for cotton and polyester 1980 - 2030

Balancing the demand

Global demand is reflected here at Kathmandu, where polyester is our number one fibre in terms of use. Shifting from virgin to recycled polyester is an important part of our materials strategy.

REPREVE® is a recycled polyester that not only meets demand, it also works towards a solution.

Polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET) is the same material as polyester. Unifi, the makers of Repreve, use a process which turn plastic bottle flakes into workable fibres:


In each product you’ll find around:

  • 17 bottles in one backpack
  • 15 bottles on one fleece jacket
  • 6 bottles in one T-shirt

6.9 million bottles recycled 2017/2018

For the last few years, we’ve been measuring the number of plastic bottles we recycle in our garments.

  • In 2016, we aimed to recycle 1 million bottles. We recycled 1.2 million.
  • In 2017, our goal was 2.5 million bottles. We recycled 3.9 million.
  • In 2018, our goal was 5 million plastic bottles. We recycled 6.7 million

We know there’s more to do when it comes to recycled polyester. But it’s another step in the right direction to make our products as sustainable as possible.

Read more about microfibres.