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Alternative Materials March 31st, 2022

Better Choices – REPREVE® and Recycled Polyester

The world’s leading brands within sports and fashion with an agenda that includes sustainable objectives are today using a fibre that is entirely made of recycled plastic waste. Recycled polyester can be sourced from different places such as post-industrial waste, PET plastic bottles, post-consumer plastic, such as garments, different types of textile, or even ocean waste.

Why is recycled polyester so important?

Neck label Trimco Group with recycled polyester

Neck label with REPREVE® performance fiber – Trimco Group

By using more and more recycled materials in the production of fashion items, the global fashion and apparel industry reduces the already significant impact on the environment, as one of the largest polluters in the world. Repreve is one of the best fibres made from recycled materials, such as PET plastic bottles.

The idea is simple: plastic bottles and their white lids are collected and turned into recycled polyester that then goes into manufacturing sports, outdoor and other fashion and apparel items.

The main benefits of rPET fibres, such as REPREVE®, are:

  • The lower environmental impact compared to virgin polyester production
  • Recycled polyester fiber reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the consumption of water and energy
  • Plastic waste is diverted from landfills
  • The plastic waste is put to good use being turned into a durable and consciously-made fiber used in fabrics

The 2025 Recycled Polyester Challenge

Early 2021, the fashion industry was invited to participate in a joint industry initiative driven by NGO Textile Exchange and Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Until now, 85 brands have committed to “replace their use of virgin polyester with recycled polyester to ultimately shift global volume from an average of 14% to 45% by 2025”.

Did you know that 80% of plastic bottles used and thrown away end up in landfills?

“Helly Hansen is committed to reducing its dependency on fossil fuels and its overall environmental footprint. We recognize that transferring to the use of recycled raw materials is an important action towards that commitment and are proud to be part of the founding cohort of this joint industry initiative.” Rebecca Johansson, Sustainability and R&D Manager at Helly Hansen in a press release by the Textile Exchange.

Amongst the brands that have joined the challenge are Adidas, Banana Republic, H&M Group, Inditex Group, JCrew, lululemon athletica, prAna, VF Corporation and many others.

Is recycled polyester the best solution for the environment?

Compared to conventional polyester, recycled polyester has a much lower carbon footprint. While recycled polyester is not a completely sustainable solution, it is a step in the right direction, moving away from virgin polyester production.

Accounting for 52% of the overall volume of fibres produced globally, polyester is the most popular fibre in the fashion industry. With 57 million tons of polyester used every year, only 14% can be accounted for recycled input.

Based on the direction given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the share of mechanically recycled (or equivalent) fibre/filament within the polyester market needs to be brought from 14% to 90% by 2030, says the Textile Exchange organization. The recycled polyester is meant to replace the virgin synthetic feedstocks and not cannibalize other fibre categories.

Recycled Polyester can also shine

Known for their quality and the luxurious impact of glamorous yarns, Lurex® has also introduced a sustainability series “manufactured with post-consumer recycled polyester, or pre-consumer recycled polyamide or rayon that are GRS certified”. For everyone in love with sparkles and sustainability, this is great news, bringing yet another brand to play a role in the bigger bigger of sustainability and better choices in fashion.

Sources: Textile Exchange.org, 2020 Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report, repreve.com, Panaprium.com, lurex.com

Lurex recycled polyester Trimco Group Trims
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