It would be unbelievable for aperson to say that he or she is wearing a garment made from pet bottles, ormilk, or fruit juice bottles. Incredible, but it's true. The new top purchasedrecently could have been made out of a cool drink bottle drunk months before.Fibres of a gorgeous suit might be the remains of a 'once before' plasticbottle. Recycled plastic bottles can now be produced into fibres which can beused in making apparels and home textiles. The latest development in the fabricworld is the use of recycled plastic.
Plastic recycling process startedin the early 80s when buyers got a small amount as refund when they returnedthe empty bottles. Plastic bottles amount to 7% of the total household waste;by weight. An average household uses 400 plastic bottles a year. Almost 15million plastic bottles are used annually. These plastic bottles can berecycled into foam, spun into fibers which makes its appearance clear, and canbe mixed effectively with cotton to make a white T-shirt.
Types of plastic bottles thatcan be recycled:
- PET bottles: e.g. cooking oil bottles, shower gel bottles, fizzy drink bottles etc. They can be recycled into fibres for sleeping bags, anoraks, floor coverings, fleece clothing etc. 25 two liters pop bottles are used to make one adult size fleece jacket.
- HDPE bottles: e.g. milk and fruit juice bottle, fabric conditioner, and house hold cleaning bottles etc. They can be used for making fences, signposts and can also be made into bottles again.
- PVC bottles: e.g. mineral water bottles, shampoo bottles etc. They can be used for making electrical fittings, drainage pipes, and clothing.
The Recycling Process:
It might feel a littleapprehensive to think that clothes are made from thrown away plastic bottles.But, they go through a number of processes before they are finally convertedinto fabrics and reach the racks of the clothing store. The bottles are sortedand separated manually or mechanically and are separated according to theirtypes. Each type of polymer is processed separately by washing and granulatingthem. These flakes are dried later, refined and made into new products likebags, bed liners, clothing etc. The flakes are melted then extruded through ashower head type device and made into polyester strands. The strands are thenstretched out to thin out and make them strong. These fibres are made intofabrics and are used for making apparels, home furnishings and other productscreatively and usefully.
Plastics that cannot berecycled:
- LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) like bin liners, engine oil containers, and carrier bags.
- PP (Polypropylene) like margarine tubs, plant pots, and microwave meal trays.
- PS (Polystyrene) like burger boxes, meat trays, drinking cups, and yoghurt pots.
Every time a plastic bottle isbeing recycled, it reduces the effect of green house gases, thereby reducingtheir carbon foot print. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves 1.5 tonesof CO2 which is the main gas connected with global warming.
Almost 22% of the plastic bottlesare currently being recycled. Industry experts state that if people are awareof recycling, and utilize their used bottles for the same, manufacturers willhave the capacity to process 35% more than what they are processing now. Fleeceis made from polyester, a petroleum based synthetic which can be spun intofibres and later made into fabric. Surgical gloves can be mixed with cardboardalong with old tires for making shoes. 25 two liters plastic pop bottle canmake one fleece pull over. 15 bottles can make a fleece vest. Recycled popbottles make smoother polyester for making T-shirts. Apart from this variousother products like handbags, shoes, umbrellas, wallets etc can also be madeout of recycled plastic.
Products from Recycled plastic bottles
Manufacturing costs are 10% more for making recycled clothes because of the additional expenses that incur in collecting the bottles. If the manufacturers and retailers share and absorb this cost, the garments can be priced in competitive rates.
Fizz in the fashions of tomorrow:
Clothing from recycled plastics has made their way into life even without the people being aware of it. A stunning fleece jacket might be made out of dozens of old soda bottles. Synthetic fleece is an output of polyester, and polyester is spun plastic. Recycled plastic fibres can be blended effectively with other fibres to produce amazing apparels. These fabrics have come into spotlight through fashion shows. Clothes, swimsuits, and designer jewellery made from recycled plastic bottles, tires, and aluminum are seen on the runways.
Fashion outputs of recycled plastic
There are many sides of fashion which many of them are unaware. With the changing fad, each garment that is being purchased has an own pollution footprint, causing environmental concerns. The piece of apparel that fills the consumers' wardrobe also burdens the environment. But recycled plastic fabrics are more environmentally friendly because it does not use pesticides or insecticides in its cycle. With the increasing awareness of environmental hazards, and global warming scenario, more people prefer to wear eco friendly clothes. Thus recycled plastic apparels will have a promising market in the future.
Today 18.5% of the solid wastes are being recycled. This process saves landfills and money, and protects natural resources as well. It is not just putting used plastic bottles out of the curb. People should encourage this process by buying recycled products.