New reports is warn that the global fashion industry is depleting the world’s water resources, polluting rivers and other surface waters with chemicals and adding to ocean microplastic pollution.
One washload of polyester clothes can release 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment. It is estimated that half a million tonnes of these microfibres end up in the sea each year. Polyester, made from fossil fuels, is non-biodegradable. Microfibres from synthetics are a major contributor to microplastic pollution.
Even if every polyester manufacturing company in the world closed down (unlikely), what happens to all the pre-existing polyester?
Using second-hand polyester, we boil the material in small amounts of water, using the thermoplastic polyester to our advantage as the heat creates new textures, we are then left with a pot of grey water (toxic micro-plastic water), and revamped thermo-molded fabric. The grey water is disposed of correctly using the water facilities at Otago Polytechnic. The fabric is then turned into a beautiful garment with instructions of how to wash and dispose.
There is so much polyester on this earth we may as well try to recycle it and give the fabric a new life, as well as providing care, washing and disposal instructions and prevent further pollution.