The Real Benefits of Recycled Polyester
Author: Mecca Sports Date Posted: 14 October 2021
There is no doubt that the clothing industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. In order for things to change, we must look for more sustainable alternatives when it comes to methods of production, textiles and practices.
A fantastic option when it comes to protecting our environment is making more use out of recycled materials. Many products are already produced using recyclables, including food packaging, paper products, appliances and even stadium seats. But can we do the same with clothing?
The team at Mecca Sports are here to talk you through the benefits of recycled polyester and why we use this in our custom teamwear.
The real impact of the clothing industry
Clothing production itself utilises a huge amount of resources, materials and human labour. It is responsible for about 10% of the world's CO2 emissions.
As trends come and go, the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills only increases. This has a huge environmental impact, as it adds to our increasing waste problem.
What is 'fast fashion?'
The term 'fast fashion' is one which comes up a lot when discussing today's clothing industry, particularly in relation to its detrimental impact on the environment. 'Fast fashion' aims to replicate celebrity or catwalk styles at a low cost, and on a mass scale.
Fast fashion has created a constant demand for clothing that keeps up with latest trends, and at a never ending rate. Due to this demand, clothing is produced and priced cheaply to get it to the consumer as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the nature of fast fashion garments is that they are seen as 'disposable', as new trends emerge. There is an environmental footprint associated at all stages of fast fashion's use cycle, from production, to disposal.
A move towards a more sustainable clothing industry
In response to the environmental damage caused by fast fashion and its wasteful production methods, many people have demanded change. It is up to consumers and companies alike to adopt methods of both production and consumption which reduce our environmental footprint.
For example, many people choose to thrift shop both to donate their old clothing and to purchase clothing items second hand. This is a fantastic option as it extends the life of clothing, saving it from landfills, saves the consumer money and supports a charity. Op-shopping supports a circular fashion model where clothing is circulated in society for as long as possible.
An important move many companies have made is utilising more sustainable materials in clothing production. The materials favoured for their eco-friendly nature are; natural fibres such as recycled cotton, organic bamboo, hemp, and linen. There are also innovative fabrics created from recycled material, such as plastic bottles, waste fabric, fishing nets and more.
PET v rPET
Polyester makes up most of the world's clothing. It is the most affordable fabric material to source, which contributes to its global popularity. It is also incredibly durable and resistant to environmental conditions, which makes it an ideal choice for clothing utilised in outdoor settings.
Regular polyester or PET, is a synthetic material which is derived from petroleum.
Unfortunately, the production of regular polyester is harmful to the environment. Petrolatum; where polyester is derived from, is created by refining crude oils. Additionally, once petroleum has been produced, further refinement processes are required to produce the ethylene which is used to make polyester. Ethylene is then processed further to create polyethylene terephthalate synthetic fibres, which are the building blocks of polyester. These multiple refining and processing stages produce toxic byproducts which can be released into the surrounding environment. The polyester manufacture process also uses a large quantity of water, energy and human labour.
Additionally, unlike natural fibres such as cotton and bamboo, polyester will not naturally degrade in the environment once discarded.
Benefits of recycled polyester
rPet is a term for recycled polyester. It has the same durability as regular polyester, but without the significant negative environmental impacts.
Recycled polyester is made from plastic water bottles. Rather than having to be created from scratch, rPET uses existing plastics, thus saving them from landfill. By reusing pre-existing materials, it uses far less energy and materials in the manufacturing process. There are also far less CO2 emissions associated with the production of rPET.
By choosing to use recycled polyester in their products, companies help to create more demand for it. Consumers alike can choose to buy products which use rPET which only adds to this demand. By creating both awareness and demand for recycled products, it helps to solidify the recycling process, which is ultimately the way forward for a more green clothing industry.
What are Mecca Sports doing to reduce our environmental footprint?
Here at Mecca Sports, contributing to a more sustainable future is very important to us. This is why we have committed to using recycled polyester (R-PET) in our custom uniforms. This fabric called 'Intercool', is actually made up of plastic water bottles which form the recycled polyester fibres.
Intercool performs just as well as regular polyester, and utilises less water, energy and produces far less CO2 emissions to produce.
It is incredibly durable, making it a fantastic material for sports uniforms. Our uniforms have been designed to last for years to come, through many games and many washes.
We also have 2 other fabrics that we use which our made of 100% recycled materials. The first of which is our 150gsm Eco Honeycomb, which you can find in our hockey shirts and tee ball shirts. Our 175gsm Eco Ultramesh is another popular option, which can be found in our cricket shirts, basketball jerseys and more!
Our teamwear in action
We have been lucky to work with sports teams around Perth by providing them with quality teamwear, such as our hugely popular netball uniforms. We use our environmentally friendly Intercool fabric which provides players the ultimate comfortability on court.
We have made our teamwear available Australia-wide. We did this to extend our rPET products to a wider market, as many people wish to purchase more sustainably where they can.
If you are interested in ordering some of our uniforms made from recycled polyester, reach out to us today.