Recycled polyester

Recycled Polyester

Polyester is basically plastic that is made from petroleum. As everyone knows, plastic is not an environmentally friendly material. The extraction of petroleum is not kind to humans or the environment, and puts an enormous strain on both. In addition, plastic does not decompose or takes a very long time to do so. It can take between 20 and 100 years for plastic waste to decompose. Our collected plastic waste is a big problem, because our oceans and the whole environment is polluted and suffers from the plastic waste.

Polyester made from recycled plastic is a real alternative, because for the production of recycled polyester already existing plastic is used. What is behind recycled polyester and how is it produced? What are the advantages of this type of fabric?

What exactly is recycled polyester?

Polyester has been very popular for many years when it comes to making clothing. Especially sportswear benefits from the positive properties of polyester. This is because polyester dries quickly, absorbs perspiration and is comfortable to wear due to its high stretchability. Excellent properties that have long been used in the fashion industry. The big disadvantage is that the production of polyester requires a lot of energy and that it is made from petroleum, just like plastic.

The extraction of petroleum is costly and harmful to the environment, as well as being fraught with danger. Petroleum is not a renewable resource, which makes it even more difficult.

But recycled polyester can be a real alternative to conventional polyester. This is because the properties of conventional polyester are retained, except that no petroleum is needed to produce recycled polyester. This recycled variant consists of plastic waste that is reprocessed. This has many advantages and no new resources are needed.

How is recycled polyester produced, what is the process exactly?

The production of recycled polyester requires much less energy than the production of conventional polyester. By using plastic waste such as ocean plastic and old PET bottles, no new resources are needed.

How does the production of recycled polyester work exactly?

Existing plastics are used for the production, this can be any plastic waste. From old PET bottles, plastic from landfills, ocean plastic and anything else. For manufacturing, the different plastics are first sorted and then thoroughly cleaned.

After cleaning, the plastic is shredded into small shards. The small plastic snippets are melted down in the next step. The melted mass is then spun into fibers. The finished fibers are further processed into yarn, which is then used to make the new textiles.

The process is simple and requires much less effort than the production of conventional polyester, and it solves 2 problems in one fell swoop. No new petroleum is needed, which is great for the environment and the protection of it, plus the existing plastic waste from the environment is used. Especially the use of ocean plastic makes the oceans cleaner and the already existing damage can be minimized a bit.

How does recycled polyester differ from conventional polyester?

Conventional polyester and recycled polyester differ enormously in their production, but the properties of the two materials are almost identical. However, it must be remembered that as environmentally friendly and thoughtful as the production of recycled polyester is, it still causes the same problems in use as conventional polyester. When washing clothes made of polyester, small fibres always come loose from the fabric, which can then end up in the waste water.

The production of recycled polyester in contrast to conventional polyester is much more environmentally friendly. This is where the big difference lies.

Production of conventional polyester

Production of recycled polyester

- Crude oil must be extracted

- already existing plastic waste is used for the production

- enormous energy expenditure for the extraction of crude oil

- Plastic waste is not newly produced, but reused and thus does not end up in the environment or on the landfill site.

- high energy consumption for the production of plastic from crude oil

- low energy input for the processing of old plastic waste into recycled polyester

Plastic and polyester is still plastic in the recycled version, the big difference is that no new plastic waste has to be produced for the recycled polyester. But there are also disadvantages, because as sustainable as recycled polyester is, this process cannot be repeated infinitely.

Especially for the production of clothing, different materials are often mixed, which also means that they have to be separated again for a new recycling process. This process is very complex and not always possible, because the procedures here are not yet very mature. However, technology is advancing and hopefully these processes can be simplified in the future.

What are the benefits of recycled polyester for people and especially for the environment?

The use of existing plastic waste for the production of new recycled polyester has many advantages for people and the environment. However, the protection of the environment and animals plays a major role here.

  • The use of plastic waste for the production of recycled polyester ensures that on the one hand the problem with resistant plastic waste is reduced, but on the other hand above all nature and animals are protected. Because plastic waste causes enormous problems in landfills, but especially when it ends up in nature, it can have devastating effects. Marine animals die over and over again from plastic bags or other plastic waste that ends up in the oceans. By using this waste, a great deal of amends can be made and the problem can be reduced.
  • But also the production of recycled polyester has some advantages, because the energy consumption is much lower and no new resources are needed.
  • Above all, users can take advantage of the best properties of polyester without further polluting the environment and producing new plastic waste, and do not have to do without it.

A special tip: If you also want to take care to protect the ground water when washing polyester clothes, you can use a special wash bag for this purpose. These special wash bags are made of polyamide 6.6 and prevent the small microplastic particles from entering the waste water. The bag itself does not lose any fibres.

However, the best and most sustainable protection for the environment is still to do without plastic altogether and to resort to alternatives of natural clothing from ecological cultivation.