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Recycled Clothing From PET  

What if there was a simple way to protect the health of the planet, and look great while doing it?  A revolution is taking place in the apparel industry that is merging social awareness and style, environmental responsibility and comfort, and innovation and practicality.  Some of the biggest names in sports, fashion, and outdoor wear are embracing a technology that makes it possible to recycle plastic bottles and bottle caps into attractive fleece jackets, recycled shirts, vests, pants, and more.

The use of recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to make clothing is a concept that is not new.  Some of the leading garment manufacturers of our times have been creating warm, durable, and weather resistant attire from post-consumer materials for decades.   And momentum is building as some leaders in the industry are choosing to approach their business goals knowing that consumers and manufacturers need to be mindful of how the products we purchase affect our quality of life and our environment.  Today, many consumers welcome the opportunity to buy items that balance the personal needs of quality and appearance with the needs of a delicate planet.

Coats, hats, and blankets made from PET are soft, lightweight, and breathable. They can keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  PET is often blended with other materials like wool, organic cotton, and hemp to create clothing that looks and feels as luxurious as traditional high-end pieces.  Industry leaders are creating fabrics from second quality materials and worn out garments to make board shorts and tote bags.  In the most recent World Cup, Nike sponsored teams from the US, Brazil, and Australia wore jerseys made from recycled PET.  Nike claims that their jerseys utilized 30% less energy to produce than standard jerseys, and kept eight plastic bottles per jersey out of landfills. Additionally Anvil, one of our key suppliers, offers a good selection of blank recycled clothing from PET, which can be custom printed with your corporate logo.

On a larger scale, using PET to make clothing has redirected approximately 3 billion soda bottles from landfills over the past 10 years and has reduced oil consumption of more than 1/2 million barrels.  The amount of petroleum averted from use is enough to power a city the size of Atlanta for a year or fill a 40-gallon gas tank more than 200,000 times.  Recycling plastic into clothes not only cuts down our dependence on oil; it reduces air pollution by lowering emissions from incinerators and alleviating the amount of discards that contaminate our water and land resources.  According to the EPA, plastic accounts for one-fifth of the total volume of waste products that individuals leave behind during the course of day-to-day living.

But the process of turning plastic bottles and caps into fabric is only effective if consumers are willing to spend their money on a product that is made from recycled materials and also meets their expectations in terms of personal expression, use, and price.  The next time you shop for a new outfit, take a closer look at the garment’s source materials.  You may be surprised to find that plastic, which has been refined, chopped down, and spun into fiber strands can be knitted and woven into a beautiful piece that will feel wonderful and stand the test of time.


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