FABRIC TALK: RECYCLED POLYESTER
Recycled polyester is made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles or from old polyester clothes.
The recycling process can be done in two ways. The first way is the mechanical way and is the most common one. This process is accomplished by melting the plastic in order to create yarns. A negative impact is that this method adds harmful ingredients to the environment (such as antimony which has a bad influence on human’s health). The second option is the chemical way which breaks the polymer into its molecular parts to transform it into a yarn with the same strength and beauty as the conventional polyester. Unfortunately, this process is almost non-existent and is very costly.
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Recycled polyester is not always eco-friendly as people may say. It depends upon the recycling process (mechanical or chemical) and on the original polyester itself. Benefits are among others less dependency on oil and less air, water and soil contamination. Furthermore, the creation of a recycling stream for polyester clothing that is no longer wearable and keeping out PET bottles of the landfills at the same time. Also, less energy is needed in order to make recycled polyester compared to original polyester.
Some of the disadvantages are that recycling a toxic product like polyester often results in more toxins being released into the environment. Besides this the quality of polyester goes down and even though you save energy and emissions from recycling PET, the entire recycling-process is still more energy-intensive than if you use organically produced natural fibers.