How the shirt on your back could be made from plastic bottles
That shirt you’re wearing, do you think it is pure cotton? Well, chances are there is a great deal of recycled plastic bottle in your shirt as recycled fabrics are becoming the norm around the world and positively impacting the world through more sustainable fashion.
The downside, however, is that recycled fabrics are still very energy inefficient to create the fabrics in the first place but not nearly as much as creating original fabrics in the first place.
If you look at the tab in the back of your shirt and it says polyester, what you’re wearing is a combination of coal, ethylene derived from petroleum, air and water. If the tab says recycled polyester however, then it is made from recycled plastic bottles which has removed the process of extracting oil and coal and its lengthy and costly and polluting production processes. There’s also the benefit of the plastic bottles not ending up in landfill for future generations to worry about.
But how exactly does a plastic bottle end up being in a fashionable shirt? Put simply the bottles are shredded into flakes and then melted down into pellets, which can be extruded into a yarn which can then be woven into fabrics.
Your shirt probably contains around 9 recycled plastic bottles.
Making shirts and other clothes from recycled plastic bottles is a start, but there is still and awful long way to go as only 9% of the Earth’s plastic has been recycled.