Recycled polyester fabric is a great option for clothing manufacturers and retailers. Most of the material comes from post-consumer recycled bottles. However, as awareness about plastic waste grows, more post-consumer plastics will be necessary to supply a consistent feedstock for recycled polyester. Brands can also reuse their own old textiles to make new ones. If possible, brands should collaborate on post-consumer collection solutions.
It's a synthetic material made from crude oil, lots of water, and chemicals
Recycled Polyester Fabric is a synthetic fiber made from petroleum and recycled plastic. Most polyester fabrics are made from petroleum, which is a very difficult material to recycle. Most of them end up in landfills or are burned. However, there is a partially biodegradable polyester known as Polyactide. Regardless of the production method, nylon and other synthetic fabrics are very energy-intensive and require enormous amounts of resources.
In its manufacturing process, polyester requires over 70 billion barrels of oil each year. This material is also one of the largest contributors of microplastics to the oceans. It is estimated that each time we wash our clothing, we wash off 1,900 pieces of polyester. China, Japan, India, Indonesia, and the United States are the biggest producers of polyester in the world.
It's cheaper than nylon
The prices for recycled polyester fabric are the same as for virgin materials, so that makes them both environmentally friendly and economical to use. However, some brands choose the cheaper option despite receiving the same credit from eco-friendly organizations. The price of virgin polyester and nylon depends on the price of oil, so that recycled polyester and nylon are the same. Recycled fabrics are only cheaper than virgin when the price of oil skyrockets.
Recycled polyester is the most popular type of recycled fabric. Its benefits are obvious - it is cheaper than nylon, and it gives non-biodegradable plastic a second life. As a result, recycled polyester reduces the carbon footprint of fashion and helps reduce the number of plastics in the ocean. In fact, every year, 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans, and up to 150 million tons of plastic circulate throughout marine environments.
It reduces dependence on fossil fuels
Recycled polyester fabrics are a great way to cut our reliance on fossil fuels while creating high-quality, comfortable clothing. These textiles are made from recycled plastic bottles and are eco-friendly. They also reduce the amount of petroleum used in manufacturing. One example of a recycled polyester product is fleece made from used soda bottles, non-recyclable manufacturing waste, and old garments. This material is an excellent way to curb landfill waste, reduce toxic emissions from incinerators, and create new recycling streams for polyester clothing.
The production process for polyester apparel starts with the extraction of crude oil, which is a non-renewable fossil fuel. It contains thousands of different organic compounds, including pure hydrocarbons, molecules containing oxygen and nitrogen, and certain minerals. These materials are trapped in rock layers deep underground. Often, this petroleum-rich material is not easy to reach and has to be extracted using a process that requires a lot of energy and disrupts the environment.
It can't be infinitely recycled
Recycled polyester is not biodegradable, and it will remain in ecosystems for hundreds of years. In addition, polyester does not regain its original strength and quality after the recycling process. Furthermore, the production process for recycled polyester requires a large amount of energy and water. The process also involves chemicals to depolymerize the fabric. Moreover, it is difficult to design recycled polyester products without adding virgin material.