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The share of textiles made from recycled materials “is minuscule”

Author:Zhengyang MachineryTimes:2019-09-20
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Gail Baugh, who taught textiles and fashion merchandising at San Francisco State University, says because fiber made from old bottles tends to be low quality, it needs to blended with virgin fiber for strength. Overall, the share of textiles made from recycled materials “is minuscule,” she said. Most of it still comes from virgin materials — i.e. more petroleum.

Globally 80 billion to 100 billion garments are manufactured each year, Baugh said, and “at today’s production levels, we have enough to clothe everyone several times over.”

Outdoor clothing maker Patagonia recycles “used soda bottles, unusable manufacturing waste and worn-out garments (including our own) into polyester fibers to produce clothing,” its website states. But it is just one company. Most used clothes, like most plastic bottles, eventually end up in landfills.

Developing a broader system to recycle polyester would not only require a means of collecting garments, said Baugh, but making sure the textile manufacturers don’t blend it with other materials like spandex, which makes them un-recyclable.

“You think if you recycle a bottle you’ve absolved yourself of responsibility, but it’s simply not true,” she said.

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