Textiles, Fashion, Sports and Footwear Waste Management

Is using Recycled Plastics in Textiles Good?

Both newspapers published an article regarding towels made from recycled plastics. Their perspective was different and it brings up an interesting point.

Department Store John Lewis is launching a new line of towels made from recycled plastics. The Guardian and The Telegraph published an article about this. Retailer John Lewis will be the first one to sell towels made from recycled plastics.

The Guardian was praising the initiative while the The Telegraph went a bit further in its analysis.

The towels will be made of 35 % polyester from recycled bottles and recycled cotton. 11 one-litre bottles will be used for one bath towels. John Lewis will also launch duvets made from 100 % recycled polyester from plastic bottles. 120 plastic bottles will be used to create one double duvet.

Textiles made from recycled plastics is becoming a hype.

Retailer Lakeland is selling anti-slip indoor mats made from 100% recycled materials including plastic bottles.

Marks & Spencer  launched a pack-away mac, made with 50% recycled polyester sourced from plastic bottles. M&S has committed to at least 25% of its clothing and home products being made with reused or recycled materials by 2025.

I was enthusiast about the initiative …until I read the following line in The Telegraph’s article:

Every time you wash a synthetic garment, trillions of plastic microfibres wash into our water system.

Washing textiles made from recycled plastic bottles and / or regular synthetic textiles  (polyester) creates millions of plastic nanoparticles that are drained into the ocean and end up in the ecosystem and food chain.

It may well be that most ocean micro plastics comes from washing synthetic textiles rather than litter from plastic bottles and bags.

If this is the case, plastic bottles and bags are still a problem when it comes to marine litter but less when it comes to micro plastics.