Patagonia has announced all 61 of its waterproof shells are now made with recycled materials in Fair Trade Certified factories.

This month Patagonia has announced a first for the textile industry. One hundred percent of the company’s waterproof shells, which include 61 styles ranging from alpine and snow to lifestyle and kids, are now made with recycled materials and sewn in Fair Trade Certified factories.

According to a company press release, the journey to this point started in 1993 when it made its first fleece jacket from recycled soda bottles. Yet converting the entire collection of shells over to be made with recycled materials wasn’t easy. Each shell is a multi-stage, multi-national endeavour. A jacket begins its life as a recycled plastic chip in Italy and Slovenia. Yarn spun from these chips is woven and finished in Japan with the final garment cut and sewn in Vietnam. The conversion to using recycled materials in each and every shell was slow and gradual, then sudden. Patagonia has now reached a point where it can draw a line in the sand that every shell uses recycled fabrics and is Fair Trade Certified sewn.

Here’s an interesting fact: You might think that shipping its products all over the world is the leading source of the company’s greenhouse gas pollution, but it’s not. In fact, most of Patagonia’s carbon emissions – 97 percent – come from its supply chain. And creating virgin synthetic fibres accounts for 86 percent of those emissions. The more recycled fabrics the company makes, the closer it’ll get to carbon neutrality across its entire business by 2025. This collection of recycled shells is a step in that direction.

The planet is drowning in plastic – 8.3 billion tons to be exact, a statistic that is nearly impossible to comprehend. It’s a devastating quantity, made worse if you consider that 91 percent of all plastic waste has never been recycled. But with this recycled shell collection, which the company is calling Shell Yeah!, a step is being made in the right direction.