By 2050, the textile industry will end up adding 22 million tons of microfiber into the water bodies increasing their carbon footprint from 2 to 26%, a recent report suggests. The upcoming debacle has thus made many fashion designers opt for the Green Code in their work.
Here’s everything that you need to know about recycled plastic – the fabricated material, and if it, at all, promises sustainability.
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
The recycled plastic used in fashion is predominantly made from a material known as PET. It comes in the form of Thermoplastic Polyester Resin, which stays liquid when hot and solidifies as the temperature decreases. The chemical structure of PET makes it sturdy, lightweight and flexible making it a favorite across the fashion industry. It is widely used in making textiles, bottles and other packaging materials.
This is a process commonly used for recycling PET materials. First, the plastic is cleaned and grounded into tiny prills (approx 3mm wide). Then the prills are heated to turn into a viscous liquid, which forms the core of the recycled PET.
Recycled PET can be turned into almost anything; for making clothes it’s turned into ‘recycled polyester yarns’. Unlike virgin PET, recycled PET polyester is environmentally beneficial.
According to a recent plastic life-cycle assessment, recycled PET leads to 40 to 85% of non-renewable energy savings. It reduces global warming by 25%, which can be increased to as much as 75%, studies claim. The production process also emits lesser carbon.
Many designers across the world have come forward in this Green Clothes Initiative by creating weather resilient, long-lasting and comfortable clothes from recycled PET plastic. The benefits of such clothes are plenty. They,
- reduce foreign oil dependency
- diminish toxin quantity released in the air due to waste burning
- cut down dumping of waste bottles into the landfills significantly
So, plastic clothes serve the dual role of catering to people’s fashion needs and eliminating environmental wastes at the same time – a win-win situation!
Plastic spun threads can be easily blended with other fibers to produce varied fabrics such as polyester, faux fur, vinyl, faux leather, acrylic rayon, nylon etc.
The eco-conscious fashion has found its place in the clothing lines for all irrespective of gender, age and taste. One can notice a growing trend of using recycled PET in beach wears and swimsuits as well. The style, fit and texture of green clothes are as good as the regular ones. The only difference you are making by buying them is the one you are making to your planet.
In January 2020, Tennis Australia and a garment company named NC John & Sons came together to mould 1,88,708 PET bottles into apparels. The company tailored around 25,000 garments for the Australian Open Tennis Tournament and all of them were made of 100% recycled polyester.
Ecoloom with its mission statement of 'Sustainable Fashion for All' supports such initiative from the deepest core of the heart and looks forward to being a part of similar endeavors in future.