Innovation and technology have taken center stage in 2020, as every company now seems to have its environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) goals publicly disclosed. However, Everplush, which makes home products such as towels and rugs made from a combination of microfiber technology and certified recycled materials, is not a stranger to integrating innovation and responsible production practices.
A 25-year manufacturing veteran in microfiber technology innovation, the company shifted its philosophy in 2015 to not just create a comfortable home, but to also include and highlight responsible manufacturing.
With companies across all industries trying to meet customers' environmental and ethical standards, one of the main ways Everplush aims to accomplish this is through its microfiber yarn, made with recycled plastic bottles. According to the company, each cleaning cloth consists of up to three 20-ounce bottles’ worth of recycled material.
“Sustainability is an important pillar of our company,” Corey Koscielniak, Vice President of Sales at Everplush, said. “As a leader in microfiber technology, we are constantly working towards better quality, mindful products, and production methods.”
The microfibers Everplush makes is comprised of polyamide and polyester from certified recycled post-consumer plastic, and the brand is making efforts to include recycled materials wherever possible, with a stated goal to have recycled material incorporated into all of its products by 2022.
“Recycled should be the new normal,” Koscielniak said. “It should have been the new normal decades ago, but mass retail wasn’t championing sustainability like they are now. We went the recycled route because so much plastic ends up in landfills, and this is an obvious and immediate way to address that from the source.”
After years of innovation, Everplush thinks that it has perfected the formula for incorporating recycled plastics into textile products. Per the company’s tests, its patented-two loop fabric structure allows for both maximum absorption and comfort.
The timing of getting this formula right could hardly be better, as the microfiber market is reportedly poised to grow after a difficult 2020. However, despite the company’s innovation and advances, jumping to a towel made from recycled plastic can be an interesting ask to make of consumers.
One remedy to this has been through consumer re-education on how to spot brands championing sustainability from all aspects of the supply chain and customer experience. Koscielniak notes that new brands can sometimes be deceptive with their claims of quality or performance and that such packaging can sometimes be misleading, evoking an eco-friendly feel while perhaps not being good for the environment.
Another issue has been the education around pricing: that cheaper does not always equal better. Recycled materials typically need more filtration to ensure that they meet the same standards as virgin microfiber, which makes the end product more expensive. However, as Koscielniak said, “Consumers in the U.S. are trained to spot a deal, without regard for the quality. When we empower consumers with product knowledge, they figure out what makes sense for them.”
“When you walk down the aisle of a big box retailer, you think you’re seeing an amazing selection of towels, but in fact, you’re seeing a lot of the same. There’s a lot of marketing around the type of cotton used, the weight of the towel, and the color selection or trims or embroideries. But most of those towels come from the same factories. There’s not much difference among them,” Koscielniak continued. “These products are designed to be cheap, but actually end up costing the consumer more over their lifetime because they have to buy it more often. If we as a body of consumers mandate that our products meet or exceed quality standards, then we’d be producing a lot less waste.”
Image credit: Everplush/Facebook
Andrew Rurik is a filmmaker, focusing on brand strategy for brands and businesses working on conservation issues, as well as sustainability technology and innovation. He's often found in the mountains or at the beach with dog, Kona. He likes his music too loud and subscribes to too many podcasts. Andrew is also a fan of great stories, great movies, and great whiskey. Learn more about him through is agency, Third Shift Creative, and you can subscribe to his podcast, too.