Products Technology, Sustainability

From plastic bottles to snow jackets

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In October 2018, we traveled to Taiwan to retrace every step in the snow jacket manufacturing process, from recycling plastic bottles to making the finished product.

For each in-depth episode see below:

– EP #1: recycling plastic bottles
– EP #2: transforming plastic bottles into polyester thread
– EP #3: weaving fabric from spools of thread
– EP #4: dyeing fabric and laminating a waterproof-breathable membrane
– EP #5: making a snow jacket

Making technical apparel for skiing and snowboarding has been our core business since 2008.

Did you know that the conventional way to make technical fabrics involves crude oil extraction? Polyester, the most widely used fiber, is petroleum based.

However, other options exist. Since 2008 – the year Picture was founded – we have used recycled polyester from plastic bottles as one way to reduce our dependence on oil.
We reclaim and provide real value to waste.

The process to manufacture a finished product is a long one. From recycling bottles, to spinning thread, to weaving and dyeing the fabric, to applying a durable water repellent finish and then laminating a waterproof-breathable membrane.

Only then can we actually start making the garment.

It is important for us to know the ins and outs of the entire supply chain, for both environmental and social reasons. We do not simply purchase a finished product from our partners; we keep a close eye on and have a thorough understanding of the entire process.

This expertise determines the future quality of our products and allows us to implement environmental programs that serve to reduce the carbon footprint of the entire industry.

However, we are not completely satisfied with the existing model. Using recycled polyester relies on the fact that there will always be waste to recycle: the plastic bottle. This means that as of today, we still depend on waste to make our products, which is a contradiction when you think about it.

While our point of view might be too idealistic given the astronomical amount of plastic currently used, recycling remains a good solution.

However, our long term vision, based on changing the way we consume, involves finding viable alternatives. One of these alternatives is to use renewably-sourced materials. To learn more, see you at the beginning of the 2019/2020 winter season!