Recycled T-shirts debut at The Duck Store, boost sustainability

The Duck Store has partnered with the Office of Sustainability and Renew Merchandise to offer 100 percent recycled UO-branded clothing.

Renew Merchandise works with six recycling plants throughout the United States to make products from PET plastic, commonly used for soda bottles. J.T. Marburger, president of Renew, presented the idea to the UO licensing office and then to the Office of Sustainability.

Marburger said he wanted to offer the Duck Store a clothing line with a distinctive story.

“We’ve got a line of merchandise that we can show a direct correlation and how they make the bottles, and we actually put the number of bottles inside (on a tag),” Marburger said.

The Duck Store agreed and two dollars from every sale go towards the Office of Sustainability to support projects on campus.

Each year the Office of Sustainability picks a few projects to support. “It’s great to be able to support a variety of units on campus that want to operate more sustainably,” said Office of Sustainability Director Steve Mital.

Katie Conway, marketing director of The Duck Store, said the shirts have been selling well so far. “We have sold 356 of the Renew T-shirts since we received them about a month ago,” she said.

Renew Merchandise uses PET plastic, a form of polyester, to manufacture products from chairs to clothing.

“The technology of recycling plastic bottles is really greatly improved over the last seven years,” Marburger said. ”We have six recycling plants we work with across the United States that will give us really good raw material when we break that bottle down.”

“A year ago we started thinking about a partnership with The Duck Store that provides greener alternatives to standard products. Renew offered what we were looking for,” Mital said.

The idea behind working with The Duck Store came from an idea that inspires Renew Merchandise to recycle plastic.

“A lot of times someone puts a bottle in a recycling bin and they really never know where it goes or what the end result is,” Marburger said.

―By Corinne Boyer, Public Affairs Communications intern