Piloted in 2022, Puma’s Re:Fibre initiative upcycles discarded clothing and textile factory waste into new fabric to make all training jerseys for the brand’s sponsored football clubs. Re:Fibre aims to tackle the growing problem of waste from the garment industry while diversifying sources of recycled polyester for use in clothing. At the moment, clear plastic bottles make up a significant proportion of recycled polyester sources, meaning pigmented polyester items are more likely to end up in waste streams.
Re:Fibre uses any polyester material, from offcuts to pre-owned items, and can be recycled from any colour and dyed to any required pigment. The waste fabric is shredded, mixed, filtered and melted to remove pre-existing dye before being spun into a new yarn, ready for dyeing, knitting and sewing into new garments. The textile is infinitely recyclable into new fabric while retaining the performance properties of virgin polyester. In December 2023, Puma announced a Re:Fibre scale-up: from 2024 onwards, all of its replica football jerseys will be made from Re:Fibre.
The brand is also exploring responsible product end-of-life processes with its Re:Suede biodegradable shoe experiment. Two years ago, it created 500 pairs of Re:Suede shoes, made with sustainably tanned suede, thermoplastic rubber and hemp, and gave them to volunteers to test for six months. Following testing, the shoes were sent to a specialised composting facility in the Netherlands, where, after processing, they were turned into Grade A agricultural compost. While it currently isn’t possible to compost the shoes at home, Puma plans to offer a takeback scheme for commercially available Re:Suede shoes in 2024 and share insights from the experiment in a report.