Polyester is a naturally water-repellent material that can withstand
the elements. Patagonia primarily uses recycled polyester and they're
working toward eliminating all virgin polyester in their products by 2025.


A high-performance material that’s durable, lightweight and quick-drying, virgin and recycled polyester are found in many of our products. It also blends well with natural fabrics like cotton, making it a versatile material. But virgin polyester is derived from petroleum, which comes at a high environmental cost. Still, it’s one of the most in-demand materials across the globe. According to the Textile Exchange, in 2022 the global production of polyester reached 63 million metric tons for the clothing industry alone.

Recycled polyester, which has been available since the early 1990s, is now similarly priced to its virgin counterparts. Using recycled polyester reduces Patagonia's reliance on petroleum as a source of raw materials, utilizes waste and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing. Plus, by using recycled polyester, they can promote new recycling streams for polyester clothing that is no longer wearable.

Patagonia is making progress

They’re decreasing their dependence on virgin petroleum as a raw material source.

Patagonia is making progress

They’re decreasing their dependence on virgin petroleum as a raw material source.


The percentage of recycled polyester fabric by weight Patagonia used across all polyester-based products in Spring 2024.

Where We Are

Patagonia began making recycled polyester from plastic soda bottles back in 1993—the first outdoor-clothing manufacturer to transform trash into fleece. Almost 30 years later, They’ve incorporated recycled polyester into their soft shells, boardshorts, fleece and Capilene® baselayers. In a typical season, they use recycled polyester more than any other fiber. Virgin polyester, on the other hand, accounts for only 4% of the material (by weight) used in our Spring 2024 line. They’re actively working to convert that remaining amount to recycled material.

When sourcing recycled materials, Patagonia asks their supply chain partners to be certified to approved third-party standards, including the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certifications. These standards ensure robust chain of custody practices are in place and reduce the risks of unauthorized mixing or swapping of materials. Patagonia is committed to achieving RCS or GRS certification at 100% of our eligible fabric mills by 2025.

They’re also investing in secondary waste streams beyond plastic bottles, including post-consumer textiles through JEPLAN's chemical recycling program, which helps address their own waste. To address harder-to-recycle materials, They’re working with a supply chain partner that turns cafeteria trays and other pigmented plastics—which are more difficult to recycle than clear types—into recycled polyester.

And they’ve recently introduced new products that contain recycled polyester that’s OceanCycle®-certified and sourced from plastic bottles collected from coastlines that lack waste management infrastructure. Having a third-party certification like OceanCycle gives trust and transparency in the recycling system, and the confidence that waste management networks can benefit from community improvement programs.

For the Spring 2024 season, recycled polyester fabric was used in 92% of all polyester-based products (by weight). As a result of using recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester, Patagonia avoided emitting more than 10.5 million pounds of CO₂e into the atmosphere, based on the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, version 3.6.

The percentage of recycled polyester fabric by weight they used across all polyester-based products in Spring 2024 .

What’s Next

Our goal is to completely stop using virgin polyester by 2025. We’re also looking to the next generation of potentially recyclable materials. Long-term, we’re also considering more chemical-recycling technologies that might allow us to reuse recycled garments and get us closer to a “circular” manufacturing process.