How to Make Fabric From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Make no mistake: Recycled fabrics are the most sustainable fabrics you can find. “Ya, but recycled fabrics still use so much energy to convert old stuff into new fabric…” Yes, but they don’t use nearly as much energy or resources as creating fibers and fabrics from scratch.

Take new polyester vs. recycled polyester. Virgin polyester is made from a combination of coal, ethylene (which is derived from petroleum), air, and water, which are formed from a chemical reaction under extremely high heat (If you’re a science nerd, here’s all the chemistry behind it). It’s a high energy process that relies on even more energy and natural resources when you consider the amount of resources it takes to extract coal and petroleum from the earth. Not great.

Recycled polyester, on the other hand, is made from recycled plastic bottles which cuts out the need for petroleum and coal extraction. Our recycled polyester literally starts at the dump to collect plastic bottles that don’t belong in landfills (yay waste-reduction!). From there, the plastic bottles are shredded into flakes by a machine (that can be run on renewable energy!). Those flakes are melted down into pellets, then the pellets are extruded (think spun and pulled like taffy) into yarn. The yarn is then knitted, cut, and sewn into clothing just like any other yarn. Check out this video for the whole breakdown.

 

It takes about 9 bottles to make one T-shirt. All of our recycled polyester fibers are made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles and they’re GRS Certified (Global Recycling Standard). Only 9% of the Earth’s plastic has been recycled, but we’re committed to boosting that percentage by using more recycled polyester every year.

In 2018 alone, we spared 12 tons of reusable material from entering the landfill, 8.7 million gallons of water, and 51 tons of C02 emissions by using recycled wool, recycled cotton and recycled polyester. This spring, we have 9 fabrics that use recycle polyester and we’re looking double that in the fall. The future is recycled!

M Recycled

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W recycled 2

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