GREENSBORO — The North Carolina Zoo has awarded Unifi, Inc. (NYSE: UFI) its 2017 Paw of Approval, which highlights the company’s commitment to environmentally-responsible manufacturing. Unifi is the manufacturer of a family of fibers called REPREVE, which are made from recycled materials, including plastic bottles.
“We are honored to be recognized as good stewards of the environment throughout the Triad and beyond,” said Tom Caudle, president of Unifi. “At Unifi, environmental responsibility is more than just something we do. It is a major part of our culture, and we continually seek out ways to enhance our earth-friendly efforts.”
Inspired by the Polar Bears International organization, polar bear keepers at the North Carolina Zoo launched the Paw of Approval award in 2011 as a way to highlight and reward the Triad’s most earth-friendly businesses. Companies are nominated by zookeepers and then voted on by zoo guests in order to select the winner.
North Carolina Zoo polar bear keeper Nicole Pepo said, “As an Arctic Ambassador Center, it’s our great pleasure to celebrate local businesses for their leadership and for their commitment to helping us tackle climate change at a community level.”
Since the introduction of REPREVE, Unifi has transformed more than five billion recycled plastic bottles into fiber for REPREVE-based products. Production of REPREVE conserves resources by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil, which is required in the production of virgin synthetic fibers. REPREVE production also uses less energy and water, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, compared to making virgin fibers. In addition to producing REPREVE fibers, Unifi also bolsters its commitment to sustainability through several other initiatives.
• Last year, Unifi opened its REPREVE Bottle Processing Center in Reidsville, North Carolina, where Unifi cleans and chops recycled plastic bottles into small pieces called flake, which can then be transformed into REPREVE fiber or chip for other products that can be made from recycled plastic, such as food-grade packaging, high-performance clothing, shoes and more.
• Unifi drives change through a multi-stop, national mobile tour that travels the country educating individuals on the importance of recycling and what can be made from plastic bottles.
• Unifi installed a one MegaWatt solar farm in Yadkinville, North Carolina, which allows Unifi to harness natural power to generate energy.