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Bristol sportswear company transforming plastic bottles into cycle wear

Seven bottles per jersey

A Bristol firm that manufactures cycling jerseys from plastic bottles was invited to attend an event at Downing Street last week to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Grn Sportswear also manufactures all of its products in the UK to ensure its clothing is made by people “who get a fair deal."

Grn’s website states that the UK alone produces 14.5bn waste plastic bottles a year and that recycling a tonne of them will save 1.5 tonnes of CO2.

“There are seven bottles that go into making each cycling jersey,” co-founder Pete Lillie told the Bristol Post.

Once the bottles have been cleaned and broken down, they are extruded into a yarn which can then be knitted into a specialist fabric. Light, soft, breathable and quick-drying, it is perfect for sportswear.

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For its shorts and tri-suits, the firm also makes use of an Italian circular knitted fabric made from a mix of fishing nets, carpets, fabrics and other waste nylon products.

"Prior to our launch it was difficult, if not impossible, to find sustainable and ethically made sportswear for swimming, running, cycling and triathlon athletes,” said Lillie.

"We decided to offer an alternative; sports clothing that was technically advanced and ethically sourced. Our initial offering was a cycling jersey made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles and a range of bamboo T-shirts. We now manufacture a full range of cycling, triathlon and swimming clothing."

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Grn and several other UK companies met Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, and Baroness Fairhead CBE, minister of state at the Department for International Trade, to discuss their businesses.

Co-founder Rob Webbon expressed pride at being invited and added: "We are currently looking to raise finance for the company so we can grow the team and increase our capacity. As such, a government-backed finance scheme offering a lower interest rate than typically available on the market would be a real help to small companies in this position."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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10 comments

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keninoz | 6 years ago
0 likes

Great initiative. Is there a flammability rating given the jerseys are made of recycled plastic?

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brooksby replied to keninoz | 6 years ago
1 like
keninoz wrote:

Great initiative. Is there a flammability rating given the jerseys are made of recycled plastic?

But presumably they'd be no more flammable than any "normal " Lycra/nylon/man-made jersey? Isn't a good rule of thumb just not to let your clothes catch fire??

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
keninoz wrote:

Great initiative. Is there a flammability rating given the jerseys are made of recycled plastic?

But presumably they'd be no more flammable than any "normal " Lycra/nylon/man-made jersey? Isn't a good rule of thumb just not to let your clothes catch fire??

 

But it's really cold out on the roads. Do you want me to freeze?

Avatar
fenix | 6 years ago
0 likes

I had a karrimor fleece years ago that was made out of recycled plastic. Loved that fleece.

Avatar
drjohn | 6 years ago
1 like

Apologies to Grn, you hopefully are part of the solution not the problem of course. I just read the Guardian article about "living on a plastic planet" and it totally scared the crap out of me. Microfibres are in our beer - who wouldn't be mad?

And also big sorreeee to Patagonia who do acknowledge the problem - they know more about it than most, but openly admit that it's still not much. My bad. They suggest buying expensive fleeces which apparently shed less than cheap generics. Their stores will also sell you a filter bag to put your washing in.

Apparently tyre debris could make up about one-third of microplastics so anyone that stays out of the car is helping.

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earth | 6 years ago
0 likes

That's lucky.  I've just read how China are no longer interested in turning our waste plastic into other items so we have 690 million tons of the stuff every year with no where to go.  That's alot of jerseys.

Avatar
drjohn | 6 years ago
3 likes

Has the yarn been tested to find out how much microplastic will come out in the wash and end up in the Oceans? 

From what I've been reading it may not be so smart to shred plastic into tiny fibres, and this is an elephant in the room for many manufacturers of "eco-friendly" clothing. The likes of Patagonia and Timberland spend a good chunk of marketing budget sponsoring eco-awareness programmes. Thanks guys, now we are educated. So how about we see some testing of the fibres before you use them?

 

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maviczap | 6 years ago
0 likes

Great, this is what should be done with all plastic bottles, reused. Especially them day glow Mountain Dew ones

 

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kitkat | 6 years ago
1 like

I look forward to reviews of their kit on road.cc  1

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rtw | 6 years ago
0 likes

Excellent and to be commended. ASSOS do the same with the NeoPro and Mille jerseys.

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