Puma’s new recycling project Re:Jersey is making football kits, which feature logos, embroideries and club badges that would usually hinder the recycling process, into a major ingredient for creating yarn for new garments.
In the recycling process used for the Re:Jersey project, garments are chemically broken down into their main components (depolymerisation). Colours are then filtered out and the material is chemically put back together to create a yarn (repolymerisation) that has the same performance characteristics as virgin polyester, explains Puma.
“We wanted to develop ways to reduce our environmental impact, respect resources and reuse materials,” says Howard Williams, director of apparel technology at Puma. “The insights we gained with Re:Jersey will help us develop more circular products in the future.”
While Puma football kits on the market today are already made from 100% recycled polyester, Re:Jersey kits are made with 75% repurposed football jerseys. The remaining 25% come from Seaqual marine plastic, a sustainable and fully traceable raw material from the Seaqual Initiative that is made from marine litter, or in some cases from end-of-life fishing nets or other plastics used in aquaculture (such as those used in mussel and oyster farming).
Products made in the Re:Jersey project will be worn on-pitch during pre-match warm-ups by Puma Clubs Manchester City, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Olympique de Marseille. The teams will wear the jerseys ahead of their respective league fixtures in late April and May, starting with Manchester City against Watford on 23 April.
The Re:Jersey pilot experiment is part of Puma’s Circular Lab and its Forever Better sustainability platform. This follows on from the Re:Suede initiative announced last year where Puma announced it had developed an experimental version of its Suede sneaker to make it biodegradable.
Puma says its aim is to meet the growing demand for sustainable products for a better future. The Puma Group distributes its products in more than 120 countries and employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.
In February Puma hailed the highest sales and EBIT in its history due to what it called continued brand momentum and operational flexibility. Louise Deglise-Favre, associate apparel analyst at GlobalData, said at the time: “On a two-year comparison, Puma’s full year sales grew 23.7% due to the sustained demand for sportswear due to the continuation of hybrid working and the resilience of its supply chain amidst global disruption.”
Deglise-Favre added that Puma has dealt with supply-chain issues “remarkably well”, especially with its South East Asia suppliers, where its close relationships allowed it to successfully navigate sporadic lockdowns and manufacturing delays in the first half of the year.