glove breathabiity test in a Gore lab

DEVELOPING INNOVATIONS FOR MORE SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

We are working to apply our deep materials science expertise and passion for innovation to create solutions that help address global environmental challenges and reduce our impacts.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND INNOVATIONS IN FABRICS

To protect our environment, in particular the waterways and climate, we are working hard on a few innovations that will change the way fabrics are created.

By using recycled materials, we reduce the use of new raw materials as well as the energy and water used in extracting virgin resources. Recycling also helps to extend the useful life of our valuable resources. Solution dying technology offers a significant reduction in both carbon emissions and water usage.
 

Water
Mitigating water impacts with solution dying

Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally, after agriculture. With solution dyed textiles, colorants are added in the polymer form before the yarn is extruded. The resulting yarn is permanently, deeply colored and ready to be woven into fabrics. No additional dyeing is required, reducing the need for chemicals and water. Solution dyed fabrics are also ten times more light-fast as jet-dyed fabrics.

The dyeing process saves Global Warming Potential and Water Scarcity, compared to conventional jet dying (according to the Higg Material Sustainability Index).

“This technology not only helps us to reduce our environmental footprint, it offers the benefit of superior color-fastness to light. Consumers will enjoy the brilliance of colors for a long time.”

Ross MacLaine
Ross MacLaine

Gore Fabrics Division Sustainability Leader

USE OF RECYCLED CONTENT

Using recycled materials helps reduce the amount of plastic waste that otherwise would end up in landfill or incineration systems. As a Division, Gore Fabrics offers a range of recycled textiles including recycled polyester that stems from used PET bottles. E.g. about 4.000 recycled plastic bottles are used to make 1.000 meters of a backer textile. We aim at being Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified to substantiate recycled content claims.
 

Limitations of recycled fabrics

After extensive testing and ensuring product performance TOF has now launched its first laminate with recycled content. More products using recycled yarns are planned but Gore needs to ensure product quality which can be negatively affected leading to shorter lifetime and thus potentially having a higher environmental footprint. 

Microfiber
Minimizing ‘microfiber’ release to our waterways

The presence of fiber fragments in the environment is an emerging concern for the apparel industry. While there is little certainty regarding pathways or impacts of these particles in the environment, we are committed to minimizing our impact, and continuing to grow our understanding of this complex topic. In 2019, Gore underwent a thorough internal study on microplastics shedding in collaboration with Hohenstein, as independent external partner, utilizing a method developed at the University of Leeds. Testing indicates that the majority of consumer GORE-TEX laminates exhibit low micro-fiber release.

“The Gore Fabric Division is an active member of The Microfiber Consortium (TMC), which has a mission to facilitate the development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimize microfiber release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product life cycle.”

Ross MacLaine
Ross MacLaine

Gore Fabrics Division Sustainability Leader