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Recycled plastic garment: is this a solution?

5 April 2019 By 6 Comments

Research published in the Telegraph explains that plastic can takes from 20 to 600 years to degrade according to each specific composition.
As a result of that lands and oceans became more and more polluted every year. Animals and development countries are forced to pay the higher bill. It appears obvious that recycling is way far the better solution, however, it also hides a negative side, related to the plastic itself. The recycling process it starts collecting the bottles and sort them by color. After melting them down are transformed in chips, called flakes. These are sent to a yarn spinning mill where are turned into yarn to create a new fabric.

Recycled polyester for clothing

Adidas has produced last year over 5 million shoes with recycled plastic, with the goal of double this result in the current year. The German giant collaborates with Parley for the oceans. Each pair is made on average with 11 plastic bottles recovered and upcycled from the ocean. This organization, headquarter in New York, it represents the collective work of artists, creators, thinkers, and leaders. Their biggest achievement is to reuse plastic collected on the beach before it can reach the ocean.


Patagonia it found its reputation on sustainable values, consequently, it offers a wide range of recycled products, including polyester. Here, our article about the efforts of the company. Another important company is G-star which takes maximum care of reuse materials. Back to 2014, they made the collection “Raw for the Ocean” in partnership with Pharrell Williams. In this line they use marine plastic to create fabric, watch the following video to know more.

The Plastic Age: A Documentary feat. Pharrell Williams

Repreve is an organization which has already recycled 14 billion of plastic bottles. They provide fibers for many international companies such as Volcom and Quicksilver. Inside their website is possible to find the list of all their partners.

Impossible not to mention Fraitag, the Swiss company made bags from recycled truck tarps since the ’90s and has recently launched a line in polyester 100% recycled.

Negative side: the plastic micro-fibers

If all these actions seem to be reasonable, on the other hand, these clothes release microfibers into the sea, on every wash. The tiny dimension of microplastic makes the ingestion much easier. Several are the species involved, including humans. A recent study has found 100 to 1,000 times microplastic particles frozen in the Arctic sea, showing that it’s almost impossible to limit the diffusion of plastic over the oceans.
Furthermore, research of the Utrecht University (2015) shows that the 99% of all plastic is not on the surface anymore, and it’s unclear where it goes: beaches, seafloor or marine organisms, the options available.

Not just clothing

Assuming that the main problem for the ocean is plastic create clothes with this material it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Apart from this consideration what these companies do is very important because it gives resonance to environmental issues. So recycling plastic is not eco-friendly? Not exactly, re-use plastic is convenient for those products that last longer and don’t need to be washed frequently. Design objects, furniture, toys and gadgets, all characterized by high durability.


The architecture studio Snøhetta created, in collaboration with furniture manufacturer Nordic Comfort Products(NCP), chairs made using recycled materials from the fish farming industry in Norway. Another example is the brand Luken, ideated by the Mexican architecture studio  Paola Calzada Arquitectos.

Paola Calzada Arquitectos

The collection includes a series of chairs and tables for children that can be assembled without nails or glue. For every piece are necessary approximately 600 bottles made from polyethylene.

Even though it appears impossible to find definitive solutions, make efforts and experiments are the only options we have and support conscious Brands it’s consequently a wise decision. Do you want to know more about ecological fibers? Take a look to our article,  New fibers to reduce the impact of fashion.

6 Comments on "Recycled plastic garment: is this a solution?"

  1. oprolevorter
    21 November 2019 Reply

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    28 November 2019 Reply

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    4 December 2022 Reply

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