Products recycled through the scheme will be used by Rab’s recycling partner Minardi, which cleans and processes the down in Italy. Other components, including trims and fabric fibres will be saved from landfill in the process and repurposed.
Rab customers will also be able to use a collection point at sports trade fair ISPO Munich to drop off their down-based items for recycling.
As well as down apparel, such as coats and jackets, Rab will accept sleeping bags, pillows and duvets made using the natural fibre, although the company says it will only accept end-of-life items in this way. Some of the recycled fibres will be used in Rab’s own recycled products.
Rab’s recycling scheme has been running in the UK since May 2021. Consumers can recycle by either posting the items or dropping them off at the company’s Derbyshire, UK HQ or at outdoor festivals, film events and trade shows.
By the end of 2022, Rab claims the scheme had collected a total of 54kg of down for repurposing. Rab expects this total to increase by 200kg by the end of 2023.
Rabs’ owner Equip Outdoor Technologies launched its Material Facts programme last year (2022), aiming to providing consumers with a clear and simple industry-wide standard for communicating sustainability credentials to help them make informed choices.
Consumers can simply scan a QR code, now supplied on all Rab apparel, to get detailed sustainability information on each product.
By the end of 2024, Equip plans to extend the scheme to all Rab and Lowe Alpine packs, equipment and accessories. Equip says that more Material Facts tables, and other criteria will also be added in the future.
In its 2023 sustainability report, Equip reported that it continued to increase the percentage of recycled fabrics it purchased to 66% in 2022 from 63% in 2021 and 46% in 2020.