Deuter is leading the charge on PFC-free technical backpacks by going with completely PFC-free DWR across the entire line for 2020. It’s the culmination of process that’s been under way since 2014, said the company. It’s no small task.
Deuter’s head of quality management & corporate responsibility, Marco Hühn discusses below Deuter’s PFC-free commitment as well as other sustainability measures.
Is this just certain packs, or are all Deuter lines, including carryover, PFC free in 2020?
MH: Yes, all products new to the market by 2020 will be PFC free. The production process has been changing to make this happen since 2017. All DWR-treated fabrics purchased since mid 2018 onwards were already PFC free.
Believe it or not, there’s still a small amount of closeout stock in the warehouse that was produced prior to the shift – that’s why the complete fade out of PFC’S takes so long.
Deuter began this process, developing PFC free fabrics with their suppliers and with relevant chemical suppliers, as early as 2014.
What are you using instead?
MH: Instead of PFCs, Deuter uses a renewably sourced, non-fluorinated, DWR that is bluesign approved. (https://www.chemours.com/Teflon_Fabric_Protector_Partners/en_US/products/zelan.html )
Are we talking just bluesign certified chemicals, or fabrics as well?
MH: We’ve followed the bluesign restricted substances list for years for all Deuter materials. The cooperation with bluesign suppliers has been largely increased in the past 3 years, and the use of bluesign trims and fabrics is steadily rising.
Is there any use of recycled materials in packs?
MH: We are currently developing the first daypack series with recycled PES, and they will be presented next winter. The use of recycled materials will be increased in the future, since availability got a lot better and the performance meets our high quality requirements.
Any end-of-life/upcycling plans for unrepairable packs?
MH: Our warranty program, The Deuter Promise, is a commitment to repairing as many damaged and defective items as possible. Deuter keeps lots of packs out of landfills this way. We do have a project in the pipeline, but it’s not yet ready for primetime.
In general, and due to the diverse use of components and materials, the recycling of a backpacks is very difficult (not talking about thermic recycling – which is burning). But we closely monitor possibilities and continue researching new options. The Recyclability of products will be more and more central to product development in the years to come.