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The business case for recycled plastic…

About the time I moved to North Carolina in the summer of 2006, the textile industry was in its final throes in the state. Yarn and fabric, and the thousands of jobs textile mills once supported, had largely gravitated overseas and the cotton fields that supplied the raw materials – if you could find one hereabouts – were something of an oddity.

So it was something of a pleasant surprise to read in the Charlotte Observer about a not-so-little company in Greensboro, Unifi Inc. (www.unifi.com) that has a different kind of thread and yarn facility in Yadkinville, which is due north of Charlotte about 90 miles. The firm has two other plants in Madison and Reidsville, North Carolina plus facilities doing similar things in Asia and South America. Unifi still makes thread but it’s manufactured from recycled plastic; notably the water bottles I so often

Unifi takes discarded bottles such as this one rescued from the brink of being washed down a storm drain and recycles them by the tens of millions and spins its magic into fabrics for warm clothing and auto upholstery, among other uses.

Unifi takes discarded bottles such as this one rescued from the brink of being washed down a storm drain and recycles them by the tens of millions and spins its magic into fabrics for warm clothing and auto upholstery, among other uses.

infuriatingly find strewn along my path. Unifi’s results turn up in Patagonia fleece products, Polartec® fabric, swimsuits, and auto interiors, to name but a few. Unifi’s basic yarn is under the brand name of Repreve®, and you can read about it at http://www.repreve.com. According to the Repreve website, more than 300 million bottles have been turned into synthetic yarn this year alone.

Sounds like my kind of company. I sent a note to the Investor Relations side of their business to tell them I’ll do everything I can during my daily walkabouts to keep them in raw materials.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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