Have you every wondered where your plastic bottle goes after you recycle it? Or what is becomes? Many people assume that they are just recycled into more plastic bottles or plastic containers. However, an incredibly large amount of these bottles actually go over-seas and become polyester clothing. Yes, people pay money to ship tons of shredded plastic water bottles over thousands of miles across the ocean. And yes, even more people pay for these shirts without even knowing that the material of their clothing is the same as the bottle they are drinking out of.
Before we dive into the process of converting plastic bottles to clothing, here’s a list of other products your recycled plastic bottle can become:
- Plastic lumber (for playgrounds, picnic benches, etc.)
- Any time of plastic bottle, bucket or container
- Stadium Seats
- Plastic toys
- Sleeping bags
- Carpets or drapes
So how does your plastic water bottle become clothing?
Here are the steps:
1) Clean and shred the bottles into small flakes.
2) Melt the flakes.
3) Pull “yarn” from the melted flakes.
4) Spin the yarn into clothing.
These steps are simplified. The process includes much more steps and details, but these steps are a good summary of the overall process.
Check out this video detailing the process!
Waste2Wear is a great company that sells RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) clothing. Visit their website(http://www.waste2wear.com) to find more information on how they make their products.
So how does RPET benefit the environment?
- RPET fabric has about 50% less carbon foot printing than organic cotton, 90% less than Nylon, and 75% less than polyester.
- RPET clothing is more easily recycled into new clothing.
- Does not require new core materials to produce the clothing.
- Prevents landfills from overfilling with recyclable materials.
- Prevents pollution.
- By wearing the clothing, you are spreading awareness for recycling!
So keep recycling your water bottle! It only takes a few to make a new shirt for someone!