Recycled polyester: plastic waste can create new value

As crazy as it may sound, almost everyone has a piece of clothing in their closet that is (at least partly) made of polyester. Perhaps a dress or a T-shirt made of plastic! The reason why polyester is so widely used is because of the elasticity the fibre provides. Luckily, the recycling of polyester and plastic is up and coming. But is recycled polyester a more sustainable choice?

What is recycled polyester?

Polyester is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the world's most common type of plastic. It is derived from petroleum, air and water. All of our recycled polyester fibres are made from post-consumer PET plastic bottles. Using this waste stream is a good way to keep plastic out of the trash! Because unrecycled plastic bottles are either burned or end up in landfill, slowly decomposing and emitting greenhouse gasses. In comparison, recycled polyester produces significantly fewer resources and CO2 emissions than fresh polyester.

How is the recycled polyester fabric made?

To make recycled polyester, plastic bottles are collected and shredded into little pieces. These plastic pieces are then melted and re-spun into the new yarn. Ready to be woven into fabric. It’s important to note that recycled polyester is not fully circular in the long run. This polyester recycling process can only be done a couple of times before the fibre loses its quality.

Why do we use recycled polyester?

At Kuyichi, virgin polyester is classified as a “do not use” material. By using recycled polyester, we decrease our dependence on virgin petroleum-based materials. Crude oil is a no-go! Recycled polyester repurposes plastic that would otherwise end up in landfills or our oceans, and we love that.

It should be noted that recycled polyester fabrics still have environmental downsides. They’re still plastics, so they’re not biodegradable and can release microplastics into our waterways. Therefore, we recommend using a microplastic catcher, like a Guppyfriend, when you wash your polyester garments to prevent this from happening!

"By using recycled polyester, we decrease our dependence on virgin petroleum-based materials. Crude oil is a no-go!"

How do we guarantee the polyester we use is recycled?

We use the GRS (Global Recycling Standard) or the RCS (Recycled Claim Standard) certificate on fabrics that contain recycled polyester. These certificates allow us to check and guarantee that only post-consumer PET bottles are used for our recycled polyester yarns. GRS also confirms high environmental and chemical standards in the production process.

Latest Stories

Ethically made to last since 2001