Reclaimed Materials: How and Why We Use Them

April 13, 2017

Reclaimed Materials: How and Why We Use Them

You may have heard the story of our first wallet.

Founder Charles Friedman was a teenager working a summer job in a sail loft in Yarmouth, ME. It was there he was introduced to sailcloth and learned to use industrial sewing machines making and repairing boat sails. One day, his grandfather’s hand-me-down leather wallet finally fell apart, so he crafted himself a new one out of scraps of racing sailcloth from the factory trash. The wallet was super thin, lightweight, and tough as nails. And just like that, trash turned to treasure, and our first product was born.

What followed was not an epiphany, but a deliberate decision.

We started building outdoor gear with reclaimed fabrics: short ends, blemished material, or discontinued styles of fabric that would be dumped in a landfill if we didn't make use of them.

That’s kind of a big deal. We’re not just talking about snips here and there: 40% of the material we used last year to build core products was reclaimed

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In 2016 we salvaged over 17,569 square feet of material.

That’s enough fabric to make 23,589 Flowfold wallets.

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Lined up edge to edge, that many wallets would be twice as tall as El Capitan.

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We've been doing this for years: Since we started in 2010, we have diverted 43,597 square feet -- that's over an acre -- of fabric from the landfill.

What are we getting at? Flowfold is a brand with a growing international presence -- but this isn't about tooting our own horn. We just want to paint a picture of the scale we are operating on. We prioritize using reclaimed and sustainable materials for every product we can. There's no ceiling: the bigger we grow, the bigger our efforts.

Why? Simple: We care about our impact.

New fabrics take more resources to create, and to use them when there are already quality materials headed for the trash can is just plain wasteful. We care about operating a business that is responsible and resourceful. That’s why we manufacture our products in the USA instead of sending them overseas. That’s why we try to build products that last for decades and cover them with a lifetime warranty. And that's why we use reclaimed materials.

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The blemishes we find on reclaimed materials vary. These blemishes typically affect a very small area of the fabric roll, so we just remove the section and use the remaining fabric.

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