The average t-shirt travels 17,000 miles from raw material to finished product. Think about that for a minute – 17,000 miles! That’s the equivalent of flying from the US to Asia, twice. The carbon emissions associated with that are mind boggling. In comparison, the average Recover t-shirt travels 250 miles from raw material to finished product. Yes, there is a carbon footprint associated with manufacturing a shirt within 250 miles, but the impact of that garment is far less than 17,000 miles – 68 times less to be exact.
The idea for the Local Supply Cycle video is to showcase our local supply chain by illustrating the fact that we can ride our supply chain by bike in one day. Being based in North Carolina we are fortunate to have a world class supply chain right in our backyard, and we are super proud of it - from the raw materials we use to how we make products. We’re constantly working to reduce our impact on the environment while making a positive impact on the community, and that ethos is the basis of our local manufacturing efforts. Plus, we love riding bikes.
With our hyper-local supply chain, we take recycled fibers and spin them into yarn, knit the yarn into fabric and finish the fabric, and then we cut and sew t-shirts in the USA all within 250 miles of our headquarters in North Carolina. The Local Supply Cycle showcases the logistics of the supply chain through our beautiful backyard in the North Carolina foothills.
The ride started in Yadkin County, where we turn recycled materials into yarn, with a 35 mile stretch to Statesville in Iredell County, where we knit the yarn into fabric. This is my favorite part of the ride; the rolling foothills through country gravel roads surrounded by farmland is some of the best riding anywhere.
When we arrived in Statesville, we stopped at our knitting mill, Heritage Knitting, for a factory tour to give everyone a look at how we turn recycled yarn into fabric. That day we were knitting one of our signature colors, Grass. After the factory tour, we pit stopped at a local barbeque joint to fuel up and enjoy some NC cuisine.
The next stop is a 40 mile stretch to South Fork industries, where we scour the fabric. Side note: scouring is the step in the process where we wash the fabric between knitting and cutting – this is one of the most environmentally friendly parts of the Recover process because we bypass the dyeing process entirely and all color comes from the recycled cotton, which saves roughly 10 times the water and energy when compared to a conventional t-shirt. This part of the ride was a grind as we rode against a 20 mile an hour headwind the entire way, which made the break at Murray’s Mill for snacks at the general store that much sweeter.
From South Fork, we rode another 40 mile stretch back to our HQ in Charlotte. This part of the ride was super fun, as the wind turned and spirits were high with the end of the ride in sight. We did this ride in early November, so daylight was a major concern, but thankfully we made it just in time to meet the Recover team back at our HQ.
After a full day of riding from sunup to sundown, it is exciting to know that we can ride the supply chain by bike in one day, and that was the point of the Local Supply Cycle. At Recover, we are constantly looking at ways to improve our process and live our mission of making the best, most environmentally friendly and socially responsible products possible. We are bullish on local manufacturing and truly believe it is the way of the future. As a global society we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and local manufacturing is a major driver towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
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