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The path to sustainable outerwear starts here

In 2018, L.L.Bean made a choice: to strengthen our commitment to sustainable design by increasing our use of environmentally preferred fibers and materials in every new jacket, coat, vest and fleece we make.

This choice wasn’t motivated by profit margins, but from a desire to do good for our planet, its people and the outdoor spaces we all love. And while our journey is far from over, we’re getting closer every day. Today, over two-thirds of our bestselling outerwear styles contain sustainable materials.

Recycled fabrics: A necessity, not a luxury

Most outerwear you’ll find on the market today is made with oil-based polymers – namely polyester and nylon. Producing these fabrics requires a prolific amount of water and energy, and produces high levels of air pollution. It’s simply not sustainable to keep making our jackets and coats in this way.

So in an effort to move forward, we took a step back, working with our partners in design, sourcing and production to find alternatives that would minimize environmental impact without lessening the quality of our goods.

Everything gained. Nothing lost.

Now, more and more of our outerwear uses polyester repurposed from recycled plastic, including millions of plastic bottles that could otherwise end up in the trash or in our oceans. And a growing percentage of the recycled nylon in our outerwear is being reclaimed from materials like post-industrial waste fiber – discarded textiles from factory floors that are re-spun into the sturdy yarns that form the shells for some of our bestselling jackets and rainwear.

Not only are these materials cleaner to produce, our lab tests have shown that there’s no drop off in terms of durability. A jacket that passes every quality standard for abrasion, tearing and colorfastness won’t need to be replaced as often – and that’s one of the best things we can do for our planet. In fact, by extending the active life of your jacket by just nine months, you could reduce its carbon, water and waste footprints by around 30%.*

“All fabrics must pass the same quality standards in our lab. Recycled materials are no exception.”

—Bethany B., L.L.Bean Testing Lab Raw Materials Specialist

Recycled and durable, not wasteful and disposable. At the end of the day, that’s the true heart of sustainability. Make amazing products that use less and give more, so we all can enjoy a better outdoors for generations to come.


*According to research conducted by UK-based WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme).

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