What is the ReFleece material?
ReFleece is a new kind of felt. The outer charcoal grey layer comes from post-industrial recycled fleece scrap. The inner colored layer comes directly from a recovered fleece jacket, collected through Patagonia's Common Threads Initiative, or from a scrap of Polartec fabric that can't be used by their customers. We wash the jackets and scraps, then cut them up into squares roughly the size of a case. The two layers are then put on top of each other and pressed together. This low energy
manufacturing process gives the fleece a new form
and a new life.
Is that my old jacket in there?
It is! Well... it's somebody's jacket. The lining of this case comes
straight from jackets recovered through Patagonia's Common Threads Initiative, or from the cutting floor of the Polartec factory. Your fleece is neither re-shredded nor re-melted nor shipped across the ocean to be
reprocessed. We just clean, cut and press it into the lining of the
Is ReFleece made in the U.S?
Yes! The ReFleece raw material is made in the U.S., and our cases are
manufactured, sewn and packaged in the U.S. We encourage you to take it
overseas with you on your next trip so it can see the world.
What is the environmental footprint of a ReFleece case?
Great question! Calculating the exact carbon, water, and overall environmental footprint is a complicated art, and we don't pretend to have the answer, but we are committed to making choices that reduce that footprint as much as possible. Here's what we do to reduce our footprint:
First, a ReFleece case is almost all recycled content--depending on the case in question, only thread for sewing, the elastic band, and/or the snap are from virgin material.
Second, we do not re-dye our material. We use the original colors of the jackets we are upcycling. This means that no new dyes are added to our waterways to make our products.
Third, our manufacturing process is relatively low energy. Typical recycling practices for polyester require completely melting the plastic twice (first to make it back in to small pellets used in manufacturing, and second to remelt those pellets to spin fiber or mold a plastic part). This requires heating the plastic to 540F, twice. We only need to heat our material to 300F, and we only do it once.
Finally, we try to reduce the distances our materials travel during manufacturing. Our materials are sourced domestically when possible (currently all but snaps and labels are made in the U.S.). We cut, press, and sew our cases in the same location, here in the U.S. All shipping for the production of ReFleece is domestic, because nothing has to be melted down or re-processed overseas.
Can I recycle my ReFleece?
Yes! As long as your municipality can handle PET plastics (most can), you can toss
your ReFleece right into the recycling bin. However, not all municipalities know what to do with the material, so another safe bet is to re-use the material (post your ideas to www.facebook.com/ReFleece), return them to Common Threads boxes in Patagonia stores, or send them right back to us.