February 5, 2020 Durable Performance Counts
A key pillar of Gore’s sustainability strategy is the longevity of its GORE-TEX products. Through proper wash and care, consumers can take their share of responsibility in prolonging the useful life of their outdoor gear.
Outdoor enthusiasts value waterproof, windproof and breathable clothing, shoes and accessories made with GORE-TEX product technology and trust in Gore’s GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise. In addition to protecting people from harsh weather conditions, Gore has always been striving to protect the environment by reducing the impact that GORE-TEX garments may have on our nature – their “environmental footprints.”
As an innovative and technology driven company, Gore believes in sustainability as a journey. But this journey can only be successful if everyone – from manufacturers and retailers to the end users of outdoor apparel – is aware and takes responsibility to make it a success. In that context Gore’s Fabrics Division has set the goal of eliminating so-called “PFCs of Environmental Concern (PFCEC)” from the entire life cycle of its GORE-TEX products. One of the first achievements was the introduction of GORE-TEX products with a new high-performance durable water repellent (DWR) treatment that is free of PFCEC.
Many GORE-TEX products are treated with an ultra-thin durable water repellent (DWR), a polymer that’s applied to the outermost fabric layer of the garments. This DWR prevents the garment from picking up water, thus reducing the potential clammy or cold feeling that often comes with wet fabric.
Any of today’s DWR treatments are durable but it is not permanent, such that the treatment needs to be reactivated to keep it as effective as possible. Through proper care of their garments, consumers can take their share of responsibility for protecting the environment. In general, good routine care – in particular of the DWR – will maintain excellent performance and thus can extend the useful life of GORE-TEX gear, which remains the most effective way to reduce its environmental footprint. This has been proven by scientific Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies that Gore and independent scientists have conducted to assess the entire lifespan of finished outerwear products from “cradle to grave.” In other words: well-maintained garments and gear will serve their purpose longer, which is good for the people, good for their budget, and also good for the environment.
GORE-TEX fabric care is easy
More good news: GORE-TEX fabric care is easy. In general, users should follow the manufacturer’s wash instructions for their product to remove dirt and sweat from the garment, then dry the garment. Once it’s dry, it should be tumble dried for a further 20 minutes. Applying heat to the garment reactivates the DWR treatment and both water repellency and comfort are improved. The same procedure should be applied to any brand-new GORE-TEX jacket, or other outerwear to activate its DWR properly prior to being used for the first time.
To help users prolong the lifetime of their outdoor garments, Gore offers detailed advice on proper care – as well as on repair – of GORE-TEX gear via a variety of sources, such as Gore websites, videos on YouTube and ongoing activities on several social media platforms.
As part of its sustainability efforts, Gore wishes to reinforce the importance of proper garment cleaning and care, and seeks support with its brand partners and retailers to educate consumers on the recommended wash & care requirements of a GORE-TEX garment. The objective of this initiative is obviously not only to jointly help consumers optimize the performance and prolong the longevity of their gear, bu much more importantly, improve its sustainability – for the sake of today’s environment and future generations’ well-being.
GORE PILOT PROJECT OFFERING PROFESSIONAL WASH & CARE SERVICES
For outdoor enthusiast looking for professional services that help to prolong the useful life of their gear, Gore ran a “Wash & Care” pilot project in Germany and Austria. Services on offer included washing and drying as well as refreshing the durable water repellent (DWR) treatment. Consumers could register online, post their gear to the team, and have it returned in two working days – ready for new adventures. Having successfully finished the pilot phase, Gore is considering to establish its “Wash & Care” project permanently in Germany and Austria, and potentially expanding its reach to other key markets in Europe, and beyond.