Polyester has long been a polarizing figure in the fashion industry. On the one hand, it is highly considered as bad for the planet. Its production process uses up a lot of energy and is highly unsustainable. Besides, it is made from petroleum, itself a notorious material in terms of environmental impact.
On the other hand, polyester is one of the strongest fabrics there is. It is resistant to wrinkling and does not absorb moisture. Almost half of all the clothing in the world is made of polyester, and experts say that this will double come 2030. The main driving force behind this is the rapidly growing activewear industry.
This fact is why the emergence of recycled polyester activewear could not have come at a better time.
What is the Process of Making Recycled Polyester?
The process of making recycled polyester starts with the collection of plastic bottles and other plastic materials. These are brought to a processing facility where they are melted down into pellets. After melting, the pellets are spun into new polyester fibre, which is virtually identical to virgin polyester in terms of elasticity, durability, colour-fastness, and moisture-wicking capability.
The Benefits of Using Recycled Plastic to Make Polyester
Recycled polyester activewear makes a positive impact on the environment in three ways. First, it provides an opportunity to reduce the plastic waste on the planet.
Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose. If left unchecked, several generations of birds, marine life, land animals, and humans have to endure its effects. If the cycle is not broken, it could put the planet in a situation from which it could not recover.
By finding ways to repurpose or recycle plastic, we reduce the wastes that go into landfills, bodies of water, and all the other parts of the earth where plastic should not be found in the first place.
Another way that recycling polyester helps the planet is that its manufacturing process is more sustainable than that of virgin polyester. It uses 30% less energy, which means that our resources are not depleted as fast.
Finally, recycling plastic bottles reduces the dependency on petrochemical products. Petrochemicals are created by processing fossil fuels, releasing ash, sulphur, nitrogen, and carbon into the atmosphere, resulting in the deterioration of air quality.
What is worse, it traps the heat in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change, the melting of the polar ice caps, and the ensuing rise of sea levels.
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Mishandling of petrochemicals also leads to oil spills, which are devastating to marine life. The oil forms a layer on the surface of the water that oxygen and the sun could not penetrate, smothering and killing all aquatic animals beneath it.
But while much focus is given on how recycling polyester is good for the planet, its practical benefits must not be overlooked. Recycled polyester activewear is extremely durable, comfortable, and can help improve your performance during exercise.
It can be difficult for some people to imagine how one’s choice of clothing can help save the environment. But with recycled polyester, you can do just that. And as all signs are saying that polyester is here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future), it is important to make the best of the situation by being more responsible and mindful of our choices.