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Recycled Polyester Fabric
Polyester makes up nearly 60% of the fabrics used in modern clothing. That’s more than 20 million tonnes of polyester—not to mention the dozens upon dozens upon dozens of other products that use the material.
Regardless of how much you adore clothes, those figures should give you pause. Aside from the enormous environmental cost of producing polyester, there simply isn’t a good way to get rid of it when we’re done with it. Instead of decomposing, it lingers in our landfills, slowly decomposing and emitting hazardous gases.
However, there is a bright spot on the horizon for polyester and sustainable fabric, it could be recycled polyester. Since the first plastic bottle was reused for polyester in 1977, recycled polyester has become one of the world’s most widely recycled materials.
Are you interested in learning more about recycled polyester? Everything you need to know about it, from how it’s made to how long it will last, is right here.
Recycled polyester fabric: what is it?
Recycled polyester fabric, also known as recycled polyester terephthalate (rPET) by chemists, is a synthetic fabric made from virgin polyester. It is thought to be a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to its parent textile.
Polyester fabric that has been recycled is made from post-consumer polyester-based products such as plastic water bottles, soda bottles, food jars and waste collected on land within 50 kilometers of the discarded on the ocean coastline know as Ocean bound plastic (OBP). It is used to create a wide variety of new products, including:
· Blankets and bedding
· Car parts
· Clothing and other apparel
· Bags, such as our Expandable Backpack, East to West Tote, and Cosmetic Organizer
In other words, consider it regular polyester reborn, or Polyester: The Sequel. And, as is often the case with sequels, in order to fully appreciate part two, you must first understand the original.
So, what exactly is polyester?
Without getting too technical, polyester is a polymer, which is a type of synthetic resin. It was invented in the 1940s and rose to prominence in the second half of the twentieth century as a result of its incredible durability, low cost of production, and versatility.
Polymers, such as polyester, are made up of long chains of repeating molecules that are extremely difficult to break down, which contributes to polyester’s two primary properties:
· Durability – Because polymers are so durable, plastics, fabrics, and other polyester-based materials are extremely durable. In theory, this results in products that are more durable and last longer.
· Non-biodegradability – What is good for long-lasting products is not always good for the environment. Polyester is so long-lasting that it can take up to 500 years or more to decompose.
Polyester is now one of the most widely used man-made materials on the planet. Its applications range from polyester clothing, bedding, and furniture upholstery to mouse pads, LCD displays, and even the finish on your guitar.
What is the manufacturing process for recycled polyester?
There are two main ways to make recycled polyester:
· Plastic waste is shredded into fine, thin flakes, which are then melted down to liquid form. The melted flakes are then woven through spinnerets to form recycled polyester yarn fibers.
· Plastic waste is melted down to its original polyester form before being used to make new products using the chemical method.
While both methods reduce environmental impact and produce usable products, the chemical method is slightly more sustainable. The mechanical method of recycling polyester produces a less durable fiber, particularly after repeated recycling, whereas the chemical method preserves the polyester more.
However, you get what you pay for: the chemical process is far more expensive.
Is it better for the environment to use recycled polyester?
The long-term viability of recycled polyester fabric is a complex issue. Without a doubt, rPET is a far more environmentally friendly option than regular polyester. Because the primary ingredient in virgin polyester is petroleum, a fossil fuel, its production has a significant environmental impact.
Fossil fuels harm the environment in a variety of ways, including air pollution, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
However, because recycled polyester manufacturing processes do not require any of the raw materials needed to produce virgin polyester, we are able to manufacture it in a way that minimizes environmental impact and encourages sustainable living. In general, producing recycled polyester fiber benefits the environment because it:
· It emits fewer carbon emissions
· Reduces the need for fossil fuels
· Less energy is required
Furthermore, recycled polyester made from post-consumer plastics reduces the amount of plastic garbage crowding our landfills and clogging our waterways—yet another benefit for the environment!
What Are the Negative Effects of Recycled Polyester Fabric?
When it comes to recycled polyester, we already stated that sustainability is a complicated subject. We weren’t joking. Yes, the process of producing recycled polyester is more environmentally friendly. And, yes, recycling polyester reduces the need for new virgin polyester. These are all positive developments.
Even so, there are a few disadvantages to using recycled polyester fiber. Some of the most serious concerns are:
Loops of recycling – When plastics are recycled to make polyester textiles, they are removed from circulation as plastic products such as bottles and packaging. The issue is that textile recycling is a much younger industry than plastic recycling, making them less likely candidates for future recycling.
Biodegradability – or, should we say, lack it? At the end of the day, recycled polyester poses a similar threat to virgin polyester in that it is likely to sit in a landfill for hundreds of years or more.
Environmental issues – While producing rPET is better for the environment than producing virgin polyester, it may endanger the environment at other stages of its life. There is concern, for example, that using rPET for clothing necessitates a more extensive dying process, which uses more chemicals and puts a strain on resources such as water and energy.
RK COTWEAVING is a leading GRS Global Recycling Standard Certified manufacturer, supplier, and exporter. Which guarantees:
· Less harmful impact of production on people and the environment
· Longevity of treated products
· Products with a high percentage of recycled content
· Responsible manufacturing
· Using recycled materials
· Honest communication
· Participation of stakeholders
We supply recycled fabric to all of the world’s major garment manufacturers and exporters. Because of our well-equipped infrastructure, we are able to meet the bulk requirements of our valuable customers in a timely manner. Furthermore, our ethical business practises, open dealings, customer-focused approach, and competitive pricing have aided in the development of a large global customer base.