RPET Fabric

How sustainable is recycled polyester?

RPET FASHIONHow sustainable is recycled polyester?

 Nearly half of the world’s clothing is made of polyester and Greenpeace forecasts this amount to nearly double by 2030. Why? The athleisure trend if one of the main reasons behind it: an increasing number of consumers are look for stretchier, more resistant garments. The problem is, polyester is not a sustainable textile option, as it is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most common type of plastic in the world. In short, the majority of our clothes come from crude oil, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is calling for drastic actions to keep the world’s temperature to a maximum of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

One year ago, the non-profit organization Textile Exchange challenged over 50 textile, apparel and retail companies (including giants like Adidas, H&M, Gap and Ikea) to increase their use of recycled polyester by 25 percent by 2020. It worked: last month, the organization issued a statement celebrating that signatories have not only met the goal two years before the deadline, they have actually exceeded it by upping their use of recycled polyester by 36 percent. In addition, twelve more companies have pledged to join the challenge this year. The organization forecasts 20 percent of all polyester to be recycled by 2030.

Recycled polyester, also known as rPET, is obtained by melting down existing plastic and re-spinning it into new polyester fiber. While much attention is given to rPET made from plastic bottles and containers thrown away by consumers, in reality polyethylene terephthalate can be recycled from both post-industrial and post-consumer input materials. But, just to give an example, five soda bottles yield enough fiber for one extra large T-shirt.

(Article from the FashionUnited.com website November 2018)