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The journey to 360° circularity

The industrial revolution has brought significant advancements but also led to rapid resource depletion. To preserve our finite resources, we must champion repairs, and look to re-use and improve recycling. By adopting better sustainable practices, in the textile industry we can make positive changes.

The textile industry generates about 92 million tonnes of waste annually, with only 10-15% recycled and huge amounts ending up in landfill. This highlights the urgent need for better waste management and end of life garment practices. The rise of fast fashion, driven by low-cost, low-quality rapid production cycles, exacerbates this issue, creating a disposable mindset among consumers.

Páramo garments are designed without glues, laminates, or taped seams, allowing for needle and thread repairs but also entire panels to be replaced without compromising performance. This design philosophy ensures that garments can be easily repaired and continue to function effectively for many years. By doing this, we are keeping the materials used in the garments at their highest value for as long as possible.

Páramo’s recycling scheme has been in place for over a decade now and allows customers to trade in old garments for discounts on new. These garments are then refurbished and sold again or sent to our recycling partner. By offering easy collection points, in brand stores, retailers or via mail, we take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of our products.

We also strategically store and reuse fabrics and components, ensuring that materials remain valuable and usable. This approach prevents fabric from becoming obsolete and helps maximise reusability.

Páramo garments are mono-material, being made from over 80% polyester by weight. This allows us to use a recycling route which allows us to preserve the quality of the virgin material used. Where a mechanical recycling method would produce a lower quality output, Páramo is pursuing advanced chemical recycling practices, these produce high-quality PET chip from old textiles. The process involves depolymerisation and purification, removing dyes and contaminants, followed by repolymerisation to create high-quality PET chip. These chips maintain the quality of virgin materials, enabling the production of high-performance fabrics.

Currently, garment manufacturers predominantly use recycled materials from the packaging industry, such as bottle-based PET chip. However, as the packaging industry moves towards closing its own supply chain loop, the textile industry will need to find alternative sources for recycled materials. Chemical recycling offers a solution by converting used textiles back into high-quality raw materials.

Collaborating with Lafayette Sports, our fabric partner over the last 25 years, Páramo has integrated chemically recycled yarns into new garments, the Halkon® 360 jacket for wildlife photographers and naturalists and the Aspira 360, an expedition smock. These products demonstrate the feasibility of a closed-loop supply chain and the potential for industry-wide adoption.

To accelerate sustainable practices, industry-wide collaboration is essential. Increasing demand for chemically recycled materials will reduce costs and improve recycling infrastructure. Páramo aims to increase the use of these materials across our product range, ultimately eliminating the need for virgin materials.

Páramo is committed to exploring new repair techniques, such as offering customers the choice to wear repairs as badges of honour or opting for more extensive repairs that blend seamlessly with the original fabric. This approach addresses changing customer preferences and technical requirements over time.

Páramo Directional Clothing demonstrates that sustainability and profitability can coexist. By focusing on durability, repairability, and innovative recycling, Páramo sets a standard for the textile industry. The outdoor industry’s advanced use of synthetic fibres positions it uniquely to lead the transition to a circular economy, significantly reducing the ecological footprint and preserving resources for future generations.

Circular economy principles, including repair, reuse, and closed-loop supply chains, can help reduce the demand for virgin materials. With increasing consumer awareness and demand for environmentally sustainable products, chemically recycled textiles offer a viable solution without compromising quality. Páramo aims to showcase the potential of these technologies and inspire industry-wide change.

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