In today's eco-conscious world, many of us are on a mission to reduce our environmental footprint and support sustainable practices. One such practice gaining momentum is the use of recycled plastic bottles to create clothing like activewear.
However, some consumers are understandably concerned about whether clothing made from plastic is safe to wear. In this blog post, we will dive into the world of activewear made from recycled plastic, responding to these concerns and explaining how to ensure that the clothing you choose is not only eco-friendly but also safe for you.
Before you start imagining wearing plastic on your body, we’d like to let you know what exactly plastic is -- PET.
What Is the PET?
Polyester is a synthetic polymer, and in the context of textiles, it refers to a type of synthetic fiber that is widely used in clothing, home furnishings, and various other applications.
Polyester is made from a type of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from petroleum and is used to create fibers through a process called polymerization.
(Image by fibre2fashion)
The development of polyester as a textile material dates back to the early 20th century. The real breakthrough occurred after World War II. The demand for new and versatile synthetic materials increased due to a shortage of natural resources. Then, polyester fabrics gained immense popularity.
Innovations in manufacturing processes made it possible to create polyester fabrics that were more comfortable, breathable, and suitable for a wide range of applications, including clothing. Since the materials are easy-care, wrinkle-resistant, and durable, it was used for a variety of garments, from dresses to activewear.
How Does PET Affect the Environment?
Over the nearly years, with the increasing eco-friendly awareness of people, polyester has faced criticism for its environmental impact, primarily due to its association with petroleum-based production and microfiber pollution. In addition, there are 91% of plastic is not recycled and end up in landfills or enter the ocean causing serious pollution problem.
(Image by wowelifestyle.com)
In response to the concerns about the fashion industry's negative impact on the environment, some sustainable brands and manufacturers have proposed and implemented their own solutions. Rather than producing new plastics from oil, we put on recycling existing plastic, for example, plastic bottles, and repurposing it into clothing.
In this way, we not only save on the exploitation of oil, but also reduce the plastic bottles that cause great pollution to the oceans. Moreover, our recycled fabric can replace cotton. Even though cotton is degradable, it takes up a lot of water, scarce cropland, and the costs of farmers to grow.
How Plastic Bottles Get Turned Into Recycled Fabric?
Through recycling, the PET is turned into a recycled polyester (also called RPET), which has the same quality as typical polyester but is a more eco-friendly alternative. How do us sustainable brands and clothing manufacturers turn these plastic bottles into recycled fabric? By using the principle of hot melting, it's as simple as a marshmallow machine.
5 steps to turn plastic bottles into recycled clothes:
- The plastic bottles are collected in the local recycling cente
- They are sorted and cleaned in facilities, to remove unsuitable objects that can’t be recycled, such as bottle caps.
- The bottles are put into a machine and melted into a liquid, through another machine made into a long filament.
- The long filament is cut into tiny pellets and processed into spinning fiberand yarn.
- The fiberand yarn become the polyester fabric that can be used for activewear and other clothing.
Take SILVERWIND activewear for example, it is made like the following picture:
In addition, we indicate on our product labels how many plastic water bottles the piece is made from. In this way, you can visually learn what contributions you are making to the environment.
Is It Safe to Wear Activewear Made From Recycled Fabrics?
From plastic to recycled items is indeed a great solution to practice a sustainable life. However, unlike other items, we wear activewear frequently, it comes into close contact with our skin and body, and we are wondering if it is safe to wear and does not cause toxicity or chemical likes BPA harm to us.
The short answer is yes, activewear made from recycled plastic bottles is safe to wear. Manufacturers who produce these garments, including our factory, go to great lengths to ensure they meet safety standards and are free from harmful chemicals. The RPET fabric has been tested over 5 years without receiving any negative feedback from people who worn it.
In fact, activewear made from recycled plastic materials must meet industry regulations and standards to ensure that the fabrics used are free from harmful chemicals and pose no risks to human health.
There are two approval industry standards: OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 and GRS(Global Recycled Standard), which verify that the products are free from harmful substances.
SILVERWIND’s recycled fabric is verified with the Global Recycled Standard(GRS), which proves that our products are made from recycled material in a sustainable and ethical way and safe to wear. We are also dedicated to reducing environmental impact in this way.
Does Recycled Fabric Activewear Have An Impact on the Environment?
However, purchasing activewear made from recycled plastic bottles does not completely avoid plastic waste. Like other synthetic fabrics, recycled polyester still falls off during the washing process, which exacerbates the microplastic problem plaguing the environment.
In order to reduce these microfibers entering the water system, we recommend following some correct washing and care practices on your activewear.
Use cold water and a gentle cycle to protect the fabric and minimize energy consumption. Avoid hot water, as it can damage both the fabric and the environment. Use a mild detergent to prevent the breakdown of synthetic fibers. More important is to consider using a washing bag to reduce microfiber shedding. After washing, hanging them to dry is an eco-friendly alternative that can also help retain the fabric's elasticity and overall quality.
Purchasing clothing made from recycled plastic bottles is a smart step for sustainability-conscious consumers, and these clothes are safe to wear if they undergo rigorous standard testing.
By choosing reputable brands, you can find the product certification information from the websites, so that confidently enjoy the comfort and performance of recycled plastic activewear without any concerns for your skin's safety.
When washing and caring for these clothes made from recycled fabrics, you should prioritize washing with cold water to prevent these microfibers from being damaged and falling off, finally entering our environment with wastewater and exacerbating the microplastics problem.
Would you like to try the activewear made from recycled plastic water bottles and join other eco-warriors to enjoy a healthier and better life? Explore our store and start your sustainable journey with the eco-conscious pieces now!