Away from PFCs – towards more environmentally friendly DWR
What exactly are PFCs?
PFCs (perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds) are a group of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to our health. Once released into the environment, they disperse extensively. Scientists have found traces of PFCs in drinking water, air, blood, polar bears and in breast milk. Some PFCs can even have a detrimental effect on reproduction and cause cancer. Harmful fluorocarbons degrade extremely slowly - over several hundred years - if at all.
Why are PFCs used?
PFCs can be found in a wide range of everyday items, such as kitchenware, food containers, paints, carpets, paper and even clothing. These harmful chemicals are mainly utilized for their water, grease and dirt repellant properties, which is why PFCs are particularly popular int he outdoor industry as a means for improving textile performance (i.e., making fabrics repel water and not soak up water).
Harmful perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals - PFCs for short - do not degrade or degrade only with great difficulty and therefore accumulate in humans, animals and plants.
- for non-stick coatings
- for easy-care clothing
- stain resistant carpets
- gives pizza cartons a grease-resistant coating
- makes rain jackets waterproof
Deuter applies DWR an environmentally conscious way
As of Summer 2020, all Deuter products are fully free from harmful PFCs. We are now using a non-harmful (fully PFC-free), renewably sourced, non-fluorinated DWR that is bluesign® approved, which allows water to bead off the survace of the fabric. Deuter backpacks can also be protected with a waterproof rain cover for more extreme weather conditions.
Why PFC-free now?
Becoming fully PFC-free has been a huge challenge for the outdoor industry as there have been no comparable alternatives to these harmful chemicals until less than a decade ago. It was only when Greenpeace launched its “Detox My Fashion” campaign in 2012 that suppliers and the chemicals industry as a whole started to work on alternative, environmentally friendly ways of making textiles waterproof. At Deuter, we devoted tremendous time and resources to finding an environmentally friendly PFC-free DWR that does not compromise product functionality or durability. To ensure water and dirt repellent performance, Deuter now only uses DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatments that are fully free from PFCs and not harmful to people’s health or the environment. This new kind of DWR coating still causes water to bead off the outer surface of textiles and keeps the product dry. With this move to be fully PFC-free, Deuter is among the early leaders to take a hard stance on the importance of running a sustainable business.
A Timeline of ensuring all of its products are PFC-free:
„I love spending time in nature and have been passionate about the environment since I was little. I’m thrilled to have secured a job at Deuter so that I can combine my passion and love for nature with my career. At Deuter, I work on things like improving working conditions, finding sustainable solutions and supporting the product development team and our manufacturing partners.“
Anna Steffen grew up in nature and has been committed to protecting the environment her whole life. She attended her first demonstration against a landfill site aged just three years old. Throughout her degree in Apparel Technology and Management, she found that she was increasingly interested in sustainability within the textile industry, and since February 2019 has worked in the Quality & CSR department at Deuter.