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SustainU leaves its print
Clothing company sells 100% recycled materials nationally

 

WVU may not have made it to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship in January, but that doesn’t mean West Virginia didn’t play a role in the contest.
 
SustainU, headquartered in Morgantown, designed and manufactured roughly 18,000 official game shirts sold to fans at the Jan. 12 showdown.
 
“The vision of the business has always been to really unify people behind apparel, and we felt that sports was a great way to do that from the beginning,” founder and CEO Chris Yura said. “And, in 2015, moving forward — after the national championship and some other programs have gotten off the ground — we really feel that sports licensing and retail products are our future — so be looking for SustainU in some national retailers rather shortly.”

For now, though, the best way to purchase SustainU’s clothing is through its website, sustain
uclothing.com.
 
All of the company’s shirts are made of recycled fabrics and created in the United States.
 
“You are seeing a large comeback of made-in-America goods,” Yura said. “And we’re just excited that we can be a part of that and help empower communities that have been outsourced; and, ourselves, hire locally.” 
 
The distribution center here employees 23 people; and hundreds more jobs are retained through the company’s production partners.
 
SustainU works with factories in North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Shirts go through the printing process in Morgantown and are then shipped to all 50 states.
 
Yura said his hometown’s central location makes it an ideal place to do business.
 
“Transportation distance to and from our factories in the South and in the North, as well as to our consumer base across the country, helps us … receive our product in a low transportation radius [and] cuts down on shipping costs, so we can be very price-competitive,” he said. “I think that’s something that our state needs to brag about even more.”
 
Established in 2009, SustainU works with a variety of clients, large and small, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Ford Motor Co. and WVU’s Adventure West Virginia.
 
“We have used SustainU for many of our events,” said Kevin Noonan, vendor operations coordinator for C3 Presents, a concert promotion, event production and artist management company.
 
Those include the ACL Festival in Austin, Texas; Lollapalooza in Chicago; LouFest in St. Louis, Mo.; Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville, Tenn.; and Austin Food + Wine Festival in Austin, Texas.
 
Noonan said SustainU’s eco-friendly products are what initially piqued the Austin-based firm’s interest.
 
“Can’t go wrong with 100-percent recycled materials,” he said. “We are conscious of our festivals’ footprint and want to lessen that impact, which is why we love to work with like-minded companies.
 
“We have a program at the majority of our events called Rock & Recycle. This program allows patrons to fill up an empty recyclable bag we hand out to them with recyclables and return it for a T-shirt that they can only obtain through the program. SustainU’s 100-percent recycled materials paired perfectly with that program.” 
 
So what are those materials? 
 
“We have two main staples we use,” said Patrick Adrian, SustainU’s vice president of production. “One is 100-percent recycled polyester, which is recycled plastic bottles. And then we use a 50/50 blend that is a mix of recycled plastic bottles and recycled cotton scraps.
 
“They’re pre-consumer cotton scraps, which is waste that comes from other cut-and-sew [factories’] cutting room floors that usually end up thrown in the Dumpster.” 
 
In addition to being cost-efficient and helping the planet, the materials offer an added benefit for SustainU and its customers.
 
“All our fabric is tested and verified through various sources,” Yura said. “And the most important test of all is the consumer. And our product is thought of as being softer, [and] more durable, than conventional fibers and conventional fabrics. So when it comes to quality, the recycled portion of this only makes the product better.”

SustainU is in the Morgantown Industrial Park. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Info: 304-413-0416 or sustainuclothing.com
.