DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- The Credit One Charleston Open is just the latest collaboration between two local businesses to help the Lowcountry become more sustainable.
“We linked up with Repower South prior to the Bridge Run, prior to COVID, and we’re really just trying to show the consumer the full circle of if you recycle that we can really make some cool gear out of it,” Jackson Burnett, President of Vapor Elemental said.
“The story that we have is very tangible for folks,” the Founder and CEO of RePower South Brian Gilhuly said. “This was a story that I think was very tactile and could really resonate with people so they can understand ‘what happens when I recycle and how does it really occur.'”
While at the tournament patrons can throw all waste in the same bins throughout the stadium without having to separate the garbage from the recyclables. All that waste is then transported to RePower South in Berkeley County where it is sorted and processed.
“Repower took the approach of let’s take all the material that is going to go to the landfill (whether you have a recycling program or not), process that material to recover all those things that are recyclable,” Gilhuly said. “We make sure one of the benefits of it is that basically all of the material that is recyclable gets recycled.”
After the recycling is sorted, RePower South sends it to a company called Repreve that turns the recycled bottles into yarn, then a Charleston-based company called Vapor Elemental Wear turns that into sustainable clothing. Burnett said it takes eighteen recycled plastic bottles to make one shirt.
“In the last few years the technology has really caught up and we’re making some cool, functional apparel,” Burnett said.
This year, all of the uniforms that tournament staff and volunteers are wearing were supplied by Vapor Elemental and it is also available in the merchandise tent.
“All of the ball crew, staff, volunteers, and officials will have a top and a quarter zip made from Repreve,” Burnett said. “It’s about 2,500 garments and about 30,000 bottles.”
Both Gilhuly and Burnett agree that a national push toward environmentally-friendly practices has increased the demand for recycled products.
“This notion of creating a circular loop where you can take something once, make something, recycle it, then make something again is really what a lot of people are focused on and certainly the Credit One folks want to project that and participate in that,” Gilhuly said. “It all starts local.”