Has the thought of fossil fuel-derived polyester ever disturbed you as you develop products or make materials choices for your brand? You’re not alone!
As consumer awareness increases, many brands are re-evaluating their environmental impact. To this end, Baichuan Resources Recycling has been helping brands move away from virgin fossil fuel-derived polyester and towards recycled polyester for nearly two decades.
What is Recycled Polyester (rPET)?
Unlike virgin polyester (PET), which is synthesized from petrochemical products, most recycled polyester available today is made using material from waste water bottles. Recycled polyester is also commonly called rPET. For example, after sorting, cleaning, and processing, five plastic soda bottles yield enough yarn to knit into one large T-shirt.
How is Recycled Polyester made?
Here are the common steps that are followed to make recycled polyester:
- Waste bottles are collected, sorted, cleaned, and chopped into small flakes.
- In order to spin recycled polyester string yarns, these flakes are then melted into a liquid and pushed through a hole-filled metal plate called a spinneret (not unlike a pasta press!).
- In our dope dyeing process, pigments and colors are added during spinning, yielding a colored yarn, in contrast to the usual greige yarn.
- The continuously formed yarn is wound up in spools as it’s extruded.
- Different strengthening and texturing processes can further modify yarn properties to suit its end-use application.
- The rPET yarn is woven or knit into a fabric.
The Sustainability Advantages of Recycled Polyester
Is recycled polyester actually sustainable? Here are the sustainability advantages that this greener option has to offer:
Prevent plastics from going to landfills and oceans
When brands decide to use rPET instead of virgin polyester, they are keep waste plastics from going to the oceans or landfills. Recycled polyester gives a second life to a non-biodegradable material that would otherwise remain in landfills and oceans for thousands of years to come.
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The extraction, refining, and synthesis processes involved in making virgin polyester makes it more carbon intensive than recycled polyester, even accounting for the energy of sorting, washing, and cleaning waste bottles. Since virgin polyester accounts for over half of the fibers used in the textile industry, a greener solution for polyester is a significant lever for reducing carbon footprint across the supply chain.
Lower dependence on petroleum products
Using recycled polyester more than its virgin counterpart allows for a supply chain less rooted in petroleum extraction.
Performance of Recycled Polyester
Polyester is one of the few materials that don’t decrease significantly in quality after recycling. Even at 100% recycled content, rPET fabrics have similar durability (abrasion, tear strength etc) to virgin polyester fabrics. Recycled polyester, like virgin polyester, is strong, crease-resistant, stain-resistant, and affordable. Not to mention, it has a significantly better environmental profile than virgin polyester!
Baichuan, Experts in Recycled Polyester
Baichuan Resources Recycling is a leading manufacturer of recycled polyester textiles, with a vertically integrated bottle to fabric manufacturing facility that is unique in the industry. Since our founding in 2004, we have helped countless global brands transition from virgin to recycled polyester materials. If you are looking into making this switch, please reach out and our specialists can assist regardless of the stage of your sustainability journey.
Post time: Sep-26-2022