Continuing our April focus on sustainable procurement, the Alliance recently did an informal Q&A with JT Marburger, President of Renew Merchandise.
Alliance: What’s one of the major issues regarding sports apparel and fan merchandise in terms of waste and product sourcing?
Renew: My opinion is the sports market has not yet unilaterally used their branded merchandise to demonstrate the value of recycling, fair labor and other energy related issues.
Alliance: Would you please explain the process that Renew uses and how it’s better for the environment and solves waste stream issues?
Renew: Simply put, recycling is most valuable when you have a market for the recycled material. We make all our apparel out of recycled plastic bottles and this is one of the most environmentally favorable textiles. There is a great blog post by O Ecotextiles that explains why recycled polyester (rPET) is considered a sustainable textile (see post here). What makes Renew unique in the marketplace is we only use post-consumer recycled bottles and we are use a 3rd-party to legally certify how many bottles it takes to make each of our garments.
Alliance: What’s one business reason sports teams should look into sourcing and selling sustainable fan apparel and merchandise?
Renew: If you are looking to attract millennials to your venue, then offering upcycled and sustainable items will be impactful! Millennials are driving the marketplace these days.
Alliance: Do you have any sports case studies that you’ve has been a part of?
Renew: The USTA and US Open came to us with an issue of recycling tennis cans used in the tournament over several years. Their waste provider said they could not be recycled because of the aluminum on the lip. We recycled them and turned them into 35,000 lanyards for next year’s tournament for $0.03 less than they were paying for the same product not made from recycled tennis cans!
The Atlanta Braves have a uniform program made from recycled bottles and it engages them with the fans by saying, “Look what happened to the bottles you used!” It’s an easy way to deliver a message that doesn’t require a major budget or endless resources. Upcycling and recycled merchandise will be executed in a much bigger way in the very near future. We look forward to progressing the sustainable fan apparel and merchandise industry
About Renew Merchandise
Renew Merchandise builds sustainability programs and aims to change recycling habits via branded merchandise made from recycled waste. All Renew fibers are made from certified post-consumer PET bottles that would have ended up in landfills. Learn more at renewmerchandise.com