Recycled Polyester is a polyester that has been manufactured by using previously used polyester items. In the clothing world, recycled polyester clothes can be created from used clothes.
Polyester fibers made from recycled plastic containers (such as Fortrel Ecospun) are often referred to as recycled polyester too. However, in this article, I’m referring to polyester clothes made from other polyester clothes.
A company called Patagonia has become quite famous for it’s recycled polyester clothes. They have been able to create polyester garments using previously worn garments. They also started the world’s first garment recycling program - which enables customers to bring their used clothing back for recycling. Patagonia encourage customers to bring in their used Capilene baselayer, Patagonia fleece or Polartec® fleece. The fabric of these items makes them suitable for recycling. Patagonia can create a new garment made from the recycled polyester.
Is Recycled Polyester Eco-Friendly?
Recycled polyester is not always eco-friendly. The “eco-friendliness” of recycled polyester depends on the recycling process, and the original polyester itself. Polyester is still a synthetic fabric, so it’s not going to be as organic as plant fibers such as hemp, bamboo, ramie etc.
Traditional polyester has potential health hazards and environmental issues that make it a lot less eco-friendly than it could be. A relatively new brand of polyester called Eco-Intelligent® Polyester (launched in 2001) aims to overcome the health hazards and environmental issues inherent in traditional polyester.
As far as I’m aware, Eco-Intelligent Polyester is currently only available in upholstery and interior trade (not clothing etc).
Where can I buy Recycled Polyester products?
You may be able to find recycled polyester at your local clothing store. If you’re looking to purchase online, check out the Patagonia website.