Renew Merchandise, Georgia Southern University Partner to Create Cutting Edge Apparel From Recycled Bottles Program

“Who would deliberately throw money into the trash can? A new partnership with Renew Merchandise will help the Georgia Southern community realize that this is exactly what we are doing when we trash plastic bottles and other recyclables,” said Lissa Leege, PhD, Director for the Center for Sustainability. “ A clear example of the economic value of ‘trash,’ this program will help to educate and inspire our campus community to recycle so we can close the loop to transform our ‘waste’ into t-shirts, hats, and fleece to outfit the Eagle Nation.”
Renew Merchandise takes recyclable plastic bottles and turns them into various products, including t- shirts, polos, uniforms, and other consumer goods. Renew builds sustainability programs for universities , professional sports teams, and the Olympic Games. The company uses a 5-step solution beginning with collecting and sorting post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and later turns the PET bottles into yarn to be used to produce merchandise. According to Renew Merchandise officials, “Companies around the world are rapidly turning to recycled PET (RPET) products to provide customers with eco-friendly material while maintaining top quality and comfort.” Several companies already using RPET products are Ford, McDonald’s, and USTA, along with various MLB teams including the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, and Cincinnati Reds.
Beginning this summer, College of Business classes will start the branding phase of the project. The branding phase will continue into the fall and will culminate into a marketing plan developed by the MBA Strategic Marketing Management class. Once the marketing plan is finalized, a retail point of sale will be determined and merchandise will be sold.
With the help of on-campus student organizations, student ambassadors will spread the word on campus about the new sustainability program, getting their classmates and peers excited about the endless possibilities that our campus recycling program will offer. The Georgia Southern Center for Sustainability (CfS) will be a key component to this project. Funded by a student-proposed sustainability fee since 2013, the Georgia Southern CfS provides sustainability education and outreach for the campus community, with a speaker series, an academic concentration in Sustainability, and campus sustainability initiatives such as No Impact Week. Named one of the top green universities in the country by The Princeton Review for the past four years, Georgia Southern will deepen its commitment to sustainability even further through this partnership with Renew Merchandise.

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