Recycled down is an emerging trend in outdoor gear. We ask if it’s eco-friendly.
This year, at least two outdoor clothing manufacturers introduced winter items featuring recycled down for the U.S. market. The Spanish brand Ternua and American company Nau both offer jackets and vests featuring feathers that have been recovered from old blankets and pillows. Items featuring recycled feathers have been on the market in Europe for a couple of years now, and the jump to the U.S. suggests the trend is gaining momentum. But does recycling feathers really make clothing more ethical and sustainable?
In the past few years, there’s been growing concern about the ethical side of down production. One problem that’s of particular concern to the down industry is live-plucking the birds, a practice that’s as horrible as it sounds, but yields a particularly high-quality and valuable feather.
Photo by © Nau’s Recycled Down Hoody Jacket.