Debunking DWR myths
Learn more about the environmental impact of the durable water repellent (DWR) on your gear
Take a look at that jacket you wear on the trail. It’s waterproof, isn’t it? Of course it is. If you’re like most consumers, chances are you accepted “waterproof” as a standard feature of your outdoor gear and thought nothing more of it. In many cases, brands have done the same thing, simply applying the most cost-effective DWR on their garments. And why wouldn’t they? All DWRs are basically the same, right? Sorry to break it to you. The answer is a resounding NO.
One of the key differences among DWRs is their environmental impact. And that’s a result of their chemistry. Today’s preferred synthetic water repellents contain fluorine compounds, and these products don’t break down easily. In fact, the technology used to make non-stick cookware has been modified to treat modern textiles for water- and stain-proofing, giving them outstanding water AND oil repellency. It’s actually this unique ability to repel oil that’s made fluorine-based DWRs so popular for so long. But their environmental fate is of increasing concern. You see, fluorine-based DWRs take an extremely long time to biodegrade.
So, they don’t break down easily. “What’s the big deal?” you might ask. Well, no one knows for sure at this point, but these synthetic DWRs just keep building up in the soil, air, and water.
To overcome the environmental concerns of fluorine-based DWRs, Bolger & O’Hearn has developed Altopel F3, an innovative non-fluorine water repellent. This revolutionary DWR delivers many sought-after benefits, including:
• Outstanding durability and water repellency
• Water-based stain repellency
• Minimized environmental risk
• No added cost
Think of how awesome that is. A water repellent with outstanding performance that’s also mindful of the environment. Who wouldn’t like that? Really, the better question is this—will brands now switch to this type of technology? Before we can answer this question, we must consider how every water-repelling technology may have performance merits and environmental concerns. Remember, oil repellency is still unique to fluorine-based DWRs, meaning your jacket will stay cleaner, longer using a fluorine-based DWR. Then it might seem like this debate is settled. We should just stick to fluorine-based DWRs and move on, right?
Wrong! This is where we must think of the environmental risk. It’s real, and it’s not going away. So much so that a number of brands are already seeking to transition to non-fluorine DWRs. After all, is the performance of a fluorine-based DWR truly worth the potential ecological risk? What if we didn’t have to ask this question anymore?
Now, we don’t have to. Altopel F3 alone provides outstanding water repellency and a preferable environmental profile. And in cases where oil repellency is needed, Altopel F3 can be blended with fluorine-based DWRs to optimize the oil-repellent feature. This means garments can reduce their fluorine content yet not give up ANY performance.
Now that you know there are effective, eco-friendly DWRs out there, let us help debunk other myths concerning water repellents.
MYTH: All water repellents have the same environmental impact.
FACT: Due to their resistance to breaking down in the environment, fluorine-based
DWRs present a longer-term environmental concern.
MYTH: Fluorine-based DWRs are absolutely necessary for water repellency.
FACT: Fluorine-free DWRs such as Altopel F3 can provide the same degree of water
repellency while minimizing environmental risk.
MYTH: Fluorine-free repellents aren’t as durable as traditional DWRs.
FACT: Bolger & O’Hearn’s Altopel F3 says otherwise. It’s highly effective at repelling
water, and it’s just as—if not more—durable than its fluorine-based counterparts.
MYTH: These new, innovative DWRs such as Altopel F3 are expensive.
FACT: Altopel F3 is generally a cost-neutral alternative to fluorine-based DWRs.
Finally, if we can leave you with one takeaway, it’s this—not all DWRs are the same. Why? Because of their environmental profile.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be debunking more myths for you. Be sure to check back in.
About Clove Hitch:
Clove Hitch is a global marketing agency based in Chicago. With a focus on the outdoor and performance industries, Clove Hitch provides a wide range of B2C and B2B ad and marketing services for some of the largest fabric manufacturers in the world. For more information on Clove Hitch Inc, please visit clovehitchinc.com.