Membranes are a great invention. When related to apparel or shoes, the term refers to a semi-permeable, ultra-thin layer applied to a textile – either as a coating or a laminate. Membranes make the fabric waterproof, windproof and breathable at the same time.
The structure of the membrane keeps water droplets (rain) from entering, while water vapor (sweat) can still escape outward. If you want to find out more about the technology of membranes, take a look at our VAUDEpedia: http://help.vaude.com/membran/
Fluorocarbons and PFC have long been known as a critical issue from an ecological perspective. Aside from their use in waterproofing textiles, fluorocarbons are also used for the manufacture of PTFE or ePTFE (expanded PTFE) membranes.
VAUDE uses membranes that are PTFE-free. You can read about what makes fluorocarbons hazardous, why VAUDE wants to completely eliminate their use and how you can still waterproof your favorite products here
On the other hand, disposal of PTFE is extremely difficult. Even in our highly technical waste recycling plants, toxic substances are generated at normal combustion temperatures. PTFE must be treated with special care during disposal.
Since outdoor products are made for a very long service life, jackets with a PTFE membrane often do not end up with normal household waste. Instead, they are given away with clothing donations, travel through various channels to end up in countries without regulated waste disposal where they are disposed of in open fires. You can easily imagine how these hazardous substances end up in the environment and are breathed in.
Our time-tested, in-house membrane with three different performance levels (active, advanced, pro), is made of polyurethane and is 100% fluorocarbon-free.
This innovative membrane is made from polyurethane (PU) or polyester (PES):
consists of polyester and polyetherester. This hydrophilic, non-porous membrane is extremely flexible, very thin and provides best wind and water resistance. It is PTFE-free, is made of 100% recycled polyester (pre-consumer).
A highly functional Polartec® NeoShell membrane was used in the 3-layer Men’s and Women’s Goliath Jackets in the Winter Collection 2016. Although the membrane was PTFE-free, we found that it still contained small amounts of PFC (C6). These findings were unfortunately too late for the Goliath Jacket - production was already running.
All other models originally planned with this material were immediately stopped:
We decided not to use this material in the collection anymore. Our supplier could not explain why PFC was needed in the NeoShell membrane.
Despite the high costs associated with the cancellation of the remaining models and the increase in product development: For VAUDE, membranes with PFC are not acceptable
Of course. Read more here about how to care for your favorite VAUDE products to keep them looking good and functioning well in a way that’s good for the environment .