EARTHRISE & DOWN CYCLE™ PROJECT
Turning Waste Into Warmth
Following on from the introduction of our own Down Codex® project, Mountain Equipment is now introducing Down Cycle™. Starting with the introduction of clothing made from 100% recycled down our ultimate aim is to introduce a fully closed loop recycling system for down clothing and equipment and to eliminate the need for unwanted products or those at the end of their useable life being sent to landfill.
IN WITH THE OLD
Mountain Equipment is working in partnership with French company re:down. Currently this involves taking material from European post-consumer waste destined for landfill. The down and feather is removed from the products and then washed, sterilised, and sorted. Most of this recycled down is destined for new bedding products but a very small percentage of the highest quality material is suitable for our needs and it is this that can be found in our Earthrise products.
SMALLER CARBON FOOTPRINT
The actual recycling is carried out at a facility in Hungary. Powered by solar energy and with extensive waste water recycling to further reduce the process’s environmental impact. The process saves a valuable material from landfill and by eliminating the farming process in obtaining virgin down, vastly reduces the carbon footprint of making down products.
TURNING WASTE INTO WARMTH
However, this is just the beginning. We are also working to develop a fully closed-loop recycling system: taking back used down products, recycling them, and reusing this down in new products. We have already begun this process, with successful trials completed here in the UK using recycled down from unrepairable warranty products and we will trial this in Germany on a commercial scale in 2019. This will involve collecting and processing many more unwanted items of outdoor clothing and equipment.
This is Down Cycle™. There is a significant number of used and unwanted down jackets and sleeping bags languishing in people’s houses, many of which are beyond repair: we want these products back. Turning waste into warmth.
INTRODUCING EARTHRISE JACKET
Our first down insulated jacket to utilise 100% recycled down as well as 100% recycled shell and lining fabrics. Recycling down reduces landfill and the raw material inputs associated with virgin down, and complements our Down Codex® project.
HOW IT WORKS
Collecting Used Down Products
Used down products are collected and saved from landfill.
Cleaning, Sterilising and Sorting
The down is removed from the products, cleaned, sterilised and sorted.
Making New RECYCLED DOWN Products
The best quality recycled down is used to fill new Mountain Equipment products.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why bother to recycle down? It is a natural material and it biodegrades.
300,000 tonnes of down and feather are sold every year. They are sourced as a by-product of the meat industry, but just because they are a meat industry by-product doesn’t mean they don’t have an environmental impact. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of down and feather goes to landfill every year, and a lot of it is good material which can be used again. Recycling it has a far smaller environmental impact than allowing a good material to be wasted.
Is recycled down Down Codex® approved?
No. We use Down Codex® to identify down supply chains which we have audited and know meet required animal welfare standards. Also, only fully traceable supply chains qualify for Down Codex®. Because the sources of recycled down are so disparate we cannot trace their origin or audit all the farms where the down originally came from. In future, it may be possible for us to provide Down Codex® approved down.
What should I do if I have a down-filled product I no longer want to use?
It depends why you no longer want to use the product. If the product is still useful to someone we recommend you sell it, or donate it to a charitable cause: perhaps a youth group, a homeless shelter, or a local outdoor centre. If the product is not useful to anyone – perhaps it is damaged beyond repair because of large tears or burn marks, a broken sleeping bag zip which is impossible to mend, extensive mould, a bed bug infestation, or fabrics which have extensive UV-fade which have gone thin and brittle – we recommend you return the down product to us. This is then closed-loop recycling.
Where does your recycled down come from?
The down is taken from European post-consumer waste. This usually means discarded bedding products like down duvets and pillows. Most of the recycled material goes into new bedding products, with the small quantity of highest fill-power material being used in our Earthrise products.
Is the down good quality?
Yes. Recycled down and feather in its bulk form contains a huge mixture of different down qualities, from low-grade pillow-quality material to very high quality material. We buy the very finest material available: it is not yet possible to produce better recycled down on an industrial scale than what we buy. It has a minimum of 85% down clusters and a minimum fill power of 650.
Is the down recycling process environmentally friendly?
It is about as environmentally friendly as you could hope an industrial process to be: the facility is powered by solar energy and has extensive waste water recycling measures to further reduce environmental impact. The process itself saves a valuable material from landfill and by eliminating the farming process in obtaining virgin down, vastly reduces the carbon footprint of making down products.
THE EARTHRISE JACKET
With a lighter environmental footprint than other insulated jackets, the Earthrise is both warm and responsible. Its filling comes entirely from reclaimed duck and goose down whilst both its outer shell and inner linings are 100% recycled. The only thing that remains the same is our proven design and construction.