Around the world, there is a growing concern regarding plastic. With half of all plastics intended for single-use consumption and 8 million metric tons of plastic ending up in our oceans each year, these concerns are not unfounded considering the global usage of plastic overall. Plastic is non-biodegradable, so the goal is not only to reduce the amount of plastic we continue to generate but also to figure out a solution for the exorbitant amount of non-biodegradable plastic waste we’ve already created. Solutions are possible, but they require innovation and creativity. What better place to start than by looking at one of the most common forms of plastic waste we see every day: water bottles.
These intimidating figures regarding plastics have led some to turn to the fashion industry for change. Clothing production requires a surplus of synthetic materials, and the fast fashion industry has received heightened criticism in recent years for their plastic generation within materials such as nylon and polyester. Many clothing companies, such as Reima, have decided to embrace eco-friendly practices and materials in their clothing, with many using plastic fabrics to create clothes made from recycled water bottles. As a huge contributor to plastic waste, creating clothes from recycled water bottles could be a huge step in the right direction as we give revitalized life to something that was previously only destined to be wasted.
In this article, we’ll explore how it’s possible to develop clothes made from recycled water bottles as well as how recycled plastics can help us make progress in the fight against climate change.
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How is Clothing Made from Recycled Plastic?
The process of creating clothing made from recycled plastic is involved, but worth all the efforts in creating a piece of clothing from something destined for landfill or worse, our oceans. Outerwear, such as jackets and coats, and athletic gear are the perfect types of clothing to utilize these recycled plastic materials. But how does the process of transforming recycled plastic water bottles into clothes work exactly?
Step 1: Gather Materials
Most of the recycled plastics we are exposed to are made from a material called PET, polyethylene terephthalate. This material is generated by a process called “mechanical recycling”, which begins by first separating usable water bottles from non-reused ones. Most companies will only gather clear bottles.
Step 2: Remove Bottle Caps and Sanitize
After gathering the recycled water bottles to turn into clothes, it’s time to remove all bottle caps. After this is accomplished all bottles are sanitized and sent to a giant grinder to be broken down.
Step 3: Break it Down
After being sent to a grinder, the bottles are broken down into small pellets that are only 3mm wide. Breaking down the bottle into these smaller chips makes it much easier for them to be melted later on.
Step 4: Transform and Reuse
Once the plastic chips are completely melted they can be more easily transformed into a fine yarn. This recycled synthetic plastic is the material that can be implemented in numerous clothing types, either in being sewn straight into clothing or stuffed into a jacket or parka.
Benefits of making clothing out of recycled materials?
There has been some slight criticism of companies creating clothes made from recycled water bottles because ultimately it’s still clothing made from plastic. Shouldn’t we be focusing instead on getting rid of plastic use altogether? Ultimately, the issue of plastic generation and eco-friendly fashion is not black and white. Some of the major benefits of making clothing out of recycled materials include:
- Reduce Ocean and Land Pollution: Plastic does not naturally degrade and lasts virtually forever. Each water bottle that is not properly recycled is destined to only contribute to the ever-growing plastic pollution occurring within our natural ecosystems and ocean habitats.
- Extend Shelf Life: While clothing items made from recycled plastics are still using plastic, they’re still extending the shelf life of these plastics beyond just one day into years of potential usage.
- Same if Not Better Quality: Synthetic fabrics made from plastic are destined to degrade pretty quickly, but many companies that utilize recycled plastics believe in elevating the integrity of the piece as a whole to encourage continued use.
Get Geared Up With Reima’s Eco-Friendly Clothing!
Reima seeks to normalize eco-friendly clothing to encourage change and innovation surrounding the way we dress. Exploring the beautiful world around us is impossible if we only continue to damage our natural habitats, with plastic waste being one of the largest threats to these ecosystems. Luckily, solutions are only continuing to increase, with recycled clothes made from recycled water bottles being one of these creative and innovative methods for creating sustainable and eco-friendly clothing.
Reima has a wide selection of eco-friendly ensembles and outerwear that are designed to help you explore and express yourself at the same time. From our collection of kid’s dresses and ankle socks made from recycled materials, we want young ones and adults alike to embrace the comfort and importance of clothing made with our earth’s best interests in mind. Shop Reima’s eco-friendly gear to see the difference today!
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