In 2004, Greg Thomsen, the outdoor industry veteran, asked us “Why don’t you develop recycled PET fabric?” It was the first time HOYU heard about this concept.
Since then we started our journey toward recycled materials. Back then, due to their low quality, PET textiles were only used for accessories such as hang straps. It was not an easy job to control the quality of the yarn that we bought. In the end, we figured out that only the involvement of a proper yarn spinning process is the way to control and ensure high-quality. Therefore, we purchased recycled PET chips directly from Japan directly and sent them to filament factories to produce yarns with a higher quality.
However, the challenges had just begun. In 2005, at Salt Lake City Outdoor Show, we brought various recycled PET swatches and visited potential buyers one by one. Unfortunately during the fair, we were rejected by most brands. One of them even told us: “We got vast forests here in the United States to bury plastic bottles, so no need to worry about recycling them.” At HOYU, we believe that the first step is always the hardest; that it takes enormous communication, presentations, and patience to have people understand the reason of recycling PET bottles.Their pollution of the environment is unfortunately still not always clear to many people and businesses.
We can understand people’s hesitation when someone tries to use “waste” as the source of the product. It was difficult to imagine such a business model for both our colleagues and clients. Luckily, it is not always the case. While HOYU took its journey to make textiles sustainable, brands were redefining their values and approaching a concept toward a more sustainable enterprise.
Two years later, Osprey launched the first backpack that used more than 70% recycled materials, and the fabric is from HOYU. Since then, more brands and suppliers have jumped into the recycled PET world. When the recycled PET textiles got to a certain scale, related production and promotion became easier for us.
In the beginning, there weren’t relevant certificates for recycled fabric. No Global Recycled Standard (GRS), no Recycled Claimed Standard (RCS). The only thing we were able to do was to prepare full production data sheets for our clients’ understanding. These included the source of recycled bottles, chemical management, and energy consumption reduction. Furthermore, We registered the CYCLEPET® trademark in 2007 to ensure our quality guarantee. In 2016, we joined GRS. Since then the recycled content certificated systems became more maturer and we could continue our path towards sustainability.