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 EcoSpun (Eco-fi)  
 
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Eco-fi
, formerly known as EcoSpun, is a high-quality polyester fiber which has been developed by the U.S. company Wellman Inc. Many different fabrics are made using Eco-fi, including fleece fabrics which are warm, durable, weather resistant, lightweight and comfortable. They are very soft to the touch.

One would never guess the source of the fiber -
recycled plastic pop bottles!
   

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Eco-fi
can also be blended with other fibers, such as wool, cotton and tencel, for enhanced qualities. Eco-fi is used mostly for vests, jackets, pants, blanket throws and accessories.
It is also used in carpets, home furnishings and fiberfill.




 
Benefits
The Eco-fi process has the capacity to keep almost 3 billion plastic PET soda bottles out of the world's landfills each year, saving over 1/2 million barrels of oil and eliminating 400,000 tons of harmful air emissions which contribute to acid rain, global warming and smog. The amount of petroleum saved by using post-consumer bottles instead of virgin materials in the manufacturing process annually is enough to supply power to a city the size of Atlanta for an entire year!
 
Process
One of the most impressive features of Eco-fi is the source of the fiber - recycled plastic (PET) soda pop bottles. The bottles are refined and purified, chopped down and processed into spun fiber strands. These strands are then knitted and woven into fabric.

1. The process begins at your local recycling depot, where the plastic pop bottles are sorted and baled for pickup. The plastic is technically called polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
2. At the processing plant, the caps and labels are removed, and
the bottles are
then separated by color.


3. After sterilization, the bottles are crushed and then chopped into flake.

4. These tiny pieces of flake are poured into large vats, where they are melted and stirred. This produces a thick liquid that's extruded through shower-head like devices to create fibrous, polyester strands.



5. The fiber strands are then stretched to produce thinness and strength. The strands are crimped, cut into short pieces and baled for shipping to clothing manufacturers where the thread is knitted and woven into fabric. Fleece is but one of many fabrics that can be produced using this versatile fiber.


Fleece garments made from Eco-fi are, chemically and functionally, nearly identical to non-recycled fleeces. Eco-fi delivers a soft, luxurious, color-fast product without depleting the Earth's natural resources, without herbicides or pesticides and without extensive energy use.
 
Wellman has won numerous environmental awards for the development of EcoSpun. Recently, Wellman has passed on the manufacturing rights for EcoSpun to Foss Manufacturing. Foss has recently changed the name from EcoSpun to Eco-fi.

 
Sources

Fleece
Draper Knitting 28 Draper Lane Canton , MA 02021
Contact: Kristin Draper (ext.3421)
Phone: 781-828-0029


Malden Mills Industries Inc., 46 Stafford Street Lawrence , MA 01842
Contact: Mike Spillane
Phone: 978-685-5723 email: spillanem@maldenmills.com


Wovens
Carolina Mills Inc., Plant No.3 , 28 N. Caldwell Avenue, Newton , NC 28658

Contact: Gary Bowers
Phone: (828) 322-6055 Fax: (828) 322-2398 Email: Gbowers@carolinamills.com
    


Where to find Eco-fi products online:

Sierra Club
Patagonia