US sportswear giant NIKE, department store retailer Target, and fabric maker Polartec are among brand, retailer and textile companies that have used the equivalent of more than one billion plastic bottles each through their uptake of recycled fibres.

The companies have been recognised by US yarn maker Unifi in its second Repreve Champions of Sustainability award.

A total of 68 companies have been recognised as Champions of Sustainability – a 36% increase from last year’s total – helping Unifi to recycle more than 14bn bottles that are used to make its Repreve performance fibre.

“This year, Nike and Target join Polartec in the Billion Bottle Circle for recycling more than one billion bottles each,” says Kevin Hall, Unifi’s CEO. “Ford and H&M have each recycled more than a quarter of a billion bottles. Additionally, adidas, Hanesbrands, Under Armour, Volcom, and Williams-Sonoma,  are some of the brands that have reached new milestones. We’re encouraged that so many major brands, retailers, and textile partners are increasing their commitment to sustainability and that consumers are continuing to choose more eco-friendly products.”

Hall adds that Unifi is on track to reach its goal of recycling 20 billion bottles by 2020 and 30 billion by 2022.