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RECYCLED POLYESTER - GREEN OR GREENWASHING?


Recycled polyester fabric is increasingly being touted as a sustainable alternative to traditional polyester, which is derived from non-renewable resources like oil. However, some critics argue that recycled polyester is nothing more than greenwashing - a way for companies to promote their products as eco-friendly without actually making significant changes to their supply chains.

recycled polyester - green or greenwashing

So, is recycled polyester green or greenwashing? The answer is not clear-cut, but there are several factors to consider.

First, it's important to understand what recycled polyester fabric actually is. Recycled polyester is made from post-consumer waste, such as plastic bottles or other plastic products. This waste is collected, sorted, and cleaned before being processed into new polyester fibers. This process reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills and helps conserve non-renewable resources.

On the surface, this seems like a positive step toward sustainability. However, critics argue that the process of recycling polyester still has a significant environmental impact. For example, the process of cleaning and sorting plastic waste requires a lot of energy and can generate pollution. Additionally, recycled polyester still sheds micro-fibers when washed, which can contribute to the problem of micro-plastics in the ocean.

turtle eating plastic bag in ocean

Another concern with recycled polyester is that it doesn't address the underlying problem of overconsumption. While using recycled materials is better than using new, non-renewable resources, it doesn't address the root cause of the problem - that we are producing and consuming too much stuff. To truly be sustainable, we need to reduce our overall consumption and find alternative materials that have a lower environmental impact.

So, is recycled polyester greenwashing? It depends on how it's marketed and used. If companies are promoting recycled polyester as a silver bullet solution to the problem of sustainability, without addressing other environmental impacts of their supply chain or taking steps to reduce overconsumption, then it could be seen as greenwashing.

plastic bottles for recycled polyester manufacturing

However, if companies are using recycled polyester as part of a broader sustainability strategy, that includes reducing waste, improving working conditions, and reducing overall environmental impact, then it could be seen as a positive step toward sustainability.

Recycled polyester fabric is a complex issue that requires a nuanced approach. While it has the potential to reduce waste and conserve non-renewable resources, it also has environmental impacts that need to be considered. Ultimately, the goal should be to reduce our overall consumption and find alternative materials with a lower environmental impact. Recycled polyester can be a part of this solution, but it should not be seen as a complete solution. Instead, it should be part of a broader strategy that addresses the underlying problems of overconsumption and environmental impact. If you would like to find out more about recycled polyester or alternative sustainable options GET IN TOUCH!


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