Product take back has been a hot sustainability topic for the past year, with brands like H&M, Levi's and even Overstock.com spearheading clothing recycling programs to address post-consumer waste. Yet, oftentimes large amounts of waste are produced before clothing even hits store shelves. One company is determined to change that, innovating to create a less wasteful process while at the same time creating a superior product.
Speedo, known for its performance swimwear, uses cutting-edge technology to ensure swimmers have the best-possible swimming experience. Now, the brand is taking that same approach to create a leaner, less-wasteful supply chain. Speedo is working with Aquafil, an Italian-based carpetmaker and nylon recycler to create a program that will allow Speedo to recycle post-manufacturing scraps into swimsuits. The process will take scraps that would otherwise end up in landfills and turn them "back into raw nylon fiber and eventually new swimsuits." The collaboration has resulted in the launch of the Speedo PowerFLEX Eco fabric, which is "endlessly recyclable, creating a closed-loop manufacturing partnership between the two companies." According to Speedo, the new fabric also retains its shape 10 times longer than traditional swimwear fabrics and is resistant to chlorine, sagging and bagging.
Oftentimes there's a stigma associated with environmentally friendly products – that they might be of a lesser quality or efficacy. Yet, Speedo's newest endeavor actually proves quite the opposite. By thinking differently about supply chain and materials, Speedo ended up with a product that produces less waste and has an enhanced performance – essentially turning trash into treasure.