Sustainability in Action

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

At Milliken, we know that one molecule has the power to change the world. When it comes to sustainability, we do our part by sweating the small stuff so that every little bit we do has a positive impact. 

From participating in new ventures to help advance the recyclability of plastics to creating products with an eye for resource consumption, Milliken is working to advance sustainability across its divisions and products.

Upcycling with the Fabric-to-Fabric Research Grant

PET is commonly found in single-use beverage bottles, carpets, and clothing—and unfortunately, these items are among the most difficult to recycle. Thanks to a new grant initiative called Fabric-to-Fabric, IBM Research and partners like Milliken, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Unifi Manufacturing, Under Armour, Husky, Oklahoma State University, and Niagara Beverage are evaluating how the VolCat chemical recycling process can be utilized to solve this issue. 

This grant team will work together to assess if VolCat is an effective method to chemically recycle PET bottles and textiles and reprocess them into PET fibers that can be used to make textiles. This work hopes to show a proof of concept for a circular economy. 

Evaluating the supply chain to realize sustainable benefits

Milliken’s Floor Covering Division recently introduced the Grain + Bias carpet collection, part of its innovative sustainability program, the D/Lux series. D/Lux is a high-performance carpet line that prioritizes the comfort and beauty you expect from Milliken in a series that uses less raw materials throughout the manufacturing process. By accounting for sourcing to reduce carbon footprint and utilizing best-in-class recycled materials and cutting-edge technologies, D/Lux series carpet collections are consciences and offer extended product lifetimes.

Receiving the REPREVE’S Champions of Sustainability award

Unifi, Inc. recently announced the winners of its REPREVE Champions of Sustainability awards. As one of the world’s leading innovators in recycled and synthetic yarns, Unifi, Inc. presents its REPREVE Champions of Sustainability Awards each year to recognize brand, retail, and textile partners who demonstrate a steadfast commitment to supporting a sustainable world. By using its REPREVE fibers in their products, these award winners transform recycled plastic bottles into new fabrics and textiles—diverting those water bottles from landfills around the world. Milliken’s Textile Division was among those companies that helped divert more than 50 million plastic bottles!

In addition, Polartec, a Milliken brand, reached the prestigious Billion Bottle Circle alongside Nike and Target. These three companies were the only recipients of this honor in 2021.

Partnering to advance HolyGrail 2.0

Milliken’s Chemical Division joined the Digital Watermarks Project–a large-scale initiative based in the European Union testing the viability of digital watermarking technologies for accurate plastic sorting. In its second iteration, HolyGrail 2.0 builds upon the pioneering initiative HolyGrail 1.0 that found digital watermarks were the most promising technology and a basic proof-of-concept for smart sorting. In the next stage, HolyGrail 2.0 seeks to validate this concept and the technology on a semi-industrial scale. 

Together with brand owners, retailers, and technology partners, HolyGrail 2.0 will help modify current packaging to incorporate a digital watermark that is later sorted at adapted facilities. The large-scale initiative will report on performance and findings in mid-2022.

Ready to learn more about sustainability at Milliken?

Check out our latest Corporate Sustainability Report to see how we are making progress on our 2025 Sustainability Goals.