We’re all for repurposing plastic bottles into vases or art as craft projects on a DIY scale at home, but one concept is taking this upcycling spirit to an industrial level, by turning recycled plastic bottles into clothing—showing that high quality, fashionable products can be made from the humble plastic bottle.
How does it work? Since the polymers of plastic bottles are the same as those of polyester, bottles can be broken down and made into yarn. As such, recycled polyester is made, meaning not only can waste products be repurposed, but the production of new polyester can be reduced, too. First, bottles are gathered, cleaned and shredded into chips. Then they are heated and pulled apart into fibres before being spun into yarn. Other fibres—cotton, cashmere, wool—can be added to create fabrics used for different garments such as t-shirts, jeans or suits.
One example of this in action can be seen with social enterprise Thread, which takes plastic bottles in Haiti and turns them into clothes, shoes and bags. As a result, jobs are being created in a population with a 40 per cent unemployment rate and neighbourhoods are becoming cleaner in the process. Another example is New York-based Bionic Yarn—which has none other than Pharrell Williams as its creative director—using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles to create fashionable apparel. And North Carolina textile company Unifi is responsible for making graduation gowns for more than 1250 schools in the US, including Yale and Brown University, from their recycled plastic fabrics—using 27 old bottles to make each gown.
But this sustainable approach to creating new clothing is in no way limited to the companies cited above. Many businesses are growing year on year through this approach to dealing with waste whilst creating a durable, recycled fabric that can be used for all types of garment, from the most practical to the most fashionable.
So, would you have the bottle to wear fashion made from plastic? Tell us what you think in the comments!
credit : RawForTheOceans / g-star.com