Recycled yarns: A luxury or a necessity?
Updated: Jan 29
Recycled raw materials is a major focal point in the Eco-friendly fashion industry, and recycled polyester is currently the most accessible reused material in the field.
What is polyester?
Polyester is a man-made fiber synthesized from Petrochemical products like ethylene glycol. Although it has many valuable properties like wrinkle resistant, ease of cleaning and quick drying, it is not environment-friendly. Production of this fabric involves a huge amount of water, chemicals, and use of fossil fuels. The raw materials and by-products are toxic, pollute water and cause several health issues.
Recycled polyester over virgin polyester
Unlike polyester, recycled polyester makes use of PET as the raw material. This is the same material used in clear plastic water bottles and recycling it to create the fabric prevents it from going to the landfill. Due to the relatively well-developed recycling system of PET bottles, many efforts were made in order to crack an efficient way to reuse these bottles into yarns.
How ethical is recycled polyester?
The process of converting PET into recycled polyester requires much less energy as compared in the case of normal polyester. There are two main advantages to this process is:
Using more recycled polyester reduces our dependence on petroleum as the raw material for our fabric needs.Diverting PET bottles for this process reduces landfill and thus less soil contamination, air, and water pollution.
Another benefit of recycled polyester is that garments manufactured from it can be recycled again and again with no degradation of quality allowing us to minimize wastage. This means garment manufacturer could potentially become a closed loop system which means polyester can be recycled and reused forever. This is something which you cannot say for the other fibers available in the market. The non-biodegradability of polyester could actually be a good thing rather being a bad one.
How is it a necessity in the future?
With nearly, 653,740 tons of clothes sent to landfill every year, wouldn’t you agree that recycling the clothes is becoming increasingly necessary? The textile recycling technology should be challenged as much as possible as polyester is a big concern. This technology has nominal waste, consumes little energy and causes very little pollution.
Polyester is only one part of the chain that comprises the textile industry. There are plenty of other materials that are considered non-eco-friendly, and currently, have no cost-effective ways to be reused. Efforts should be put into creating solutions to recycle nylon, elastane, and other materials. This will truly enable the sustainability trend to become reality.