Outdoor clothing firm Ternua says it has become the first Spanish brand to completely eliminate perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from the textiles used in its latest collection, achieving a target the company set itself in 2009.
Ternua has used the PFC-free textiles in its autumn/winter collection 2018/2019, having “worked hard with its suppliers” to achieve the milestone. Additionally, around 28% of the new line incorporates recycled textiles made from carpets, fishing nets, plastic bottles, feathers, coffee grounds, wool or walnut shells. Around 61% has Bluesign certification and 22.8% has organic textiles.
“We are a small brand and every change takes a lot of effort,” says Edu Uribesalgo, Ternua’s director of innovation and sustainability. “We have had to search, research and contact many suppliers to continue offering the same technology but in an environmentally-friendly way. We also wanted to continue working with top fabric brands but, due to their larger size, they were slower than us in this regard.
“We have been incorporating new fabrics, perhaps not as well-known as others, but with the technical level that we need, so they were aligned with us being PFC-free. We have also been doing a lot of work with top brands to accelerate their processes of elimination of harmful substances in their water repellency finishes. Finally, we adopted them and, most importantly, did in a short period of time.”
PFCs or fluorocarbons are well-known for their use in the outdoor clothing industry in waterproof and dirt repellent finishes.
However, they are also environmentally harmful substances. Once released into the air or water, they take a long time to decompose and remain in the atmosphere for many years. These pollutants can be found in mountain lakes, in snow in remote areas and they also accumulate in living beings.
As a brand that designs clothes for mountain sports, and that from its origins has made its garments with respect for the environment, Ternua set the goal of reducing their use by looking for new alternatives.
In 2009, it began to take steps towards eliminating PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) / PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) from its water repellent finishes, but it was in 2015 that it completely eliminated PFOA / PFOS from its products. A year later, 80% of its garments were PFC-free. Today, the company says 100% of its textile collection for autumn/winter 2018 is treated with fluorocarbon-free water-repellency treatments.
For the spring/summer 2019 collection, the brand will launch backpacks and travel accessories made with recycled fabrics that are also PFC-free.