What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Saving the world one beer at a time

Posted February 13, 2014

Earthspun Apparel and Patrick Yarn Mills made shirts out of recycled plastic beer bottles.

Earthspun Apparel and Patrick Yarn Mills of Kings Mountain were one of the sponsors of a recent beer festival we attended. They sponsored the festival to promote their goal of helping artisan-craft brewers become more sustainable. We had chance to talk with Jerry Wheeler, Earthspun Apparel founding co-partner, who was representing the companies by showing off their t-shirts and other clothing made from recycled plastic bottles, including beer bottles.

Now, plastic beer bottles aren't too common North Carolina, but they are popular in other parts of the country and increasingly so here as well. Earthspun's eco-friendly t-shirts are made from 20-ounce recycled bottles and the ones on display at this festival carried the message "Saving the World One Beer At a Time."

“Fifty million water bottles go into landfills each day in this country. That’s a lot of excess waste,” said Jerry.

To illustrate how many bottles Earthspun is diverting from landfills, they donated 250 of their festival t-shirts to the first 100 ticket holders. That number totaled 1,625 bottles made into apparel and reinforces their mission to help keep communities cleaner for the next generation.

“We are supporting independent breweries and America’s pastime for beer, and also promoting that the craft beer industry can be sustainable, by simply implementing forward-thinking and innovative recycling efforts. And we do that by taking the plastic bottles you drink from everyday and turning them into a t-shirt you could be wearing tomorrow,” said Jerry of Earthspun's participation in the beer festival.

According to the Patrick Yarns website, the following are recycling facts: 

  • 10 plastic bottles equal 1 pound of polyester fiber
  • 1 ton of plastic bottles recycled saves 3.8 barrels of oil
  • 1 million plastic bottles recycled saves 250 barrels of oil
  • 150 fleece garments made from recycled plastic bottles save 1 barrel of oil
  • 500 t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles saves 1 barrel of oil
  • Supplying the plastic bottles that Americans consume each year requires 47 million barrels of oil and releases 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

Earthspun says the process is simple and straightforward. They take discarded plastic bottles, x-ray film and black food trays, shred the material and then extrude those pieces into fibers that are blended with recycled cotton and spun into yarn right here in North Carolina. Ultimately, they say the final product is perfectly smooth, durable as well as extremely soft and comfortable. They gave each of the NCBeerGuys a t-shirt to wear and we can attest to the softness and comfort claims.

Dave Tollefsen and Glenn Cutler are regular guys living in central North Carolina with their families who share a love for craft beer and homebrewing. They work together as the NCBeerGuys. They can be found online promoting North Carolina craft beer, providing information about the folks who produce local beer and writing about beer adventures, activities and events across North Carolina.


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