When you first hear that cloth can be manufactured from recycled plastic bottles, it’s a very strange notion to grasp. Naturally, your initial instinct is that the cloth is hot, crunchy, and anything from breathable. It is, nevertheless, soft, breathable, and sustainable.

Today, the use of recycled materials is commonplace, albeit in almost no other industry is it as advanced as it is in the creation of synthetic fibers. Using recycled materials instead of new plastics can result in considerable reductions in energy use and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, precious raw material resources such as oil are kept, and trash at disposal is decreased.

The clothes business consumes a lot of resources and emits a lot of pollution. It is a consumer business that, by definition, promotes consumers to buy and discard items based on current trends rather than durability or environmental effect. Attempts to change the status quo include environmental fashion, organic fashion, and recycled materials. Organic cotton eliminates the use of herbicides and toxins, although it is still a small portion of what is available. INSTYLE, an Australian brand, chooses wool over recycled PET for their textiles since wool is locally produced and does not contain the harmful chemicals found in PET.

“The fabric manufactured from PET fiber is essentially polypropylene and is ten times stronger than standard polyester fabric.” However, weaving or knitting yarn manufactured from PET bottles requires very heavy machineries, which Europeans have perfected, and the looms/knitting machines are quite expensive,” Gautam points out. However, the business is looking into the feasibility of producing PET-based textiles in India.

How can a few plastic bottles become polyester and performance clothing?

It all begins with the disposal of a PET bottle (labeled #1) in a recycling bin. These bottles are processed at a recycling center before being packaged into big bundles. The PET bottle bundles are subsequently transported to a PET reclamation plant. The bottles have been carefully cleaned, the labels and caps have been removed, and the bottles have been color-coded (the clear bottles will produce a white-ish polyester yarn and the green bottles produce a green-ish yarn).

After being sorted, the bottles are crushed into minute flakes in a grinder. To give the flakes a hard candy coating, they are thrown in hot air and then dried to eliminate any leftover moisture. The dry, crunchy flakes are then pushed through hot pipes to melt into a thick liquid. This liquid is filtered via 68 small holes in a dye plate. As the liquid polyester runs through the openings, it creates filaments five times finer than human hair. The filaments pool and solidify before being passed over rollers, where air entangles them to form a dental floss-like yarn.


1 pound of polyester fiber = 10 plastic bottles
1 ton (2000) lbs of recycled plastic bottles saves 3.8 barrels of oil.
Recycling one million plastic bottles saves 250 barrels of oil.
1 million recycled plastic bottles prevents 180 metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the environment.
Plastics use 10% of total US oil consumption (2 million barrels per day).
Recycling plastic bottles uses eight times less energy than producing an equivalent number of new ones.
One barrel of oil is saved by 150 fleece clothing produced from recycled plastic bottles.
One barrel of oil is saved for every 500 t-shirts created from recycled plastic bottles.
One barrel of oil is saved by 50 backpacks manufactured from recycled plastic bottles.

Is plastic-made clothing any better?

Should we see this type of attire as a trend? Should we consider it the future of the garment industry?

PET polyester is commonly used in the production of conventional synthetic clothes. Plastic clothing, on the other hand, has certain environmental benefits. A life cycle evaluation conducted in 2010 discovered that we could save 40-85% on nonrenewable energy. As a consequence, global warming might be reduced by as much as 75%6.

These are stunning data that demonstrate how recycling can make a difference. Despite this, it is critical to note that many of the advantages are tied to the manufacturing process.