Are fabrics made from recycled plastic doing harm rather than good?

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Plastic pollution is a rising concern for the world today. People are trying hard to get the best solution for curbing plastic pollution. There are many organizations around the world, which recycle post-consumer plastic into useful products, like clothes, shoes, bags, decor, furniture, etc. But even these good initiatives are not away from critics. Now there is a concern about microplastic being released from such products.

Have you thought about what would have happened if post-consumption plastics weren’t recycled? These plastics would have become part of our landfills; where it would have been polluting our lands and animals, or it would have become a part of our great oceans; where it would be polluting our water and impacting marine life. However, leaving plastics unattended in landfills or the ocean would release more microplastics and do more harm than recycling the same plastics. On that account, do you think recycling is the best solution? Or if not the best, is it even a solution to consider?

First and foremost, what are microplastics:
Microplastics are plastic particles very small in size (less than 5mm in size) originating from various sources such as textile fabrics, plastic products broken down due to usage, or environmental effects, cigarette buds, and personal care products. Microplastics are of two kinds; Primary and Secondary. The difference between both is primary is made to serve a specific purpose and the other is the larger plastic breakdown. Today these tiny and fine particles of plastic are found easily in our surroundings including debris, ocean and shockingly in our body as well.

However, textile industries are the biggest contributor to this bitter reality. Textile industry releases most of the microfibres that further add up to microplastics. Alarming issue is microplastic is maximum in fabrics and clothes as they are being washed very frequently and it is reducing the life of plastic used in making.

Although, we need to know that this is not just true for recycled plastic fabric but every polyester, nylon cloth made from virgin plastic too. Even natural fibers are not free from release of microfibers and not all microfibers released thereof are biodegradable. Secondly, if we take care of our recycled plastic clothes, they can again be recycled, and thus they will not reduce the life of plastic to such an extent. Third, if we consider t-shirts, and joggers at Bhumiz.com they are creating impacts in the environment. Each cloth available at Bhumiz.com is saving around 4 liters of water, 2 kgs of carbon, and 8 kWh of energy.

We know recycling plastic into fabric is not the best option, consequently it is a good and sustainable option when compared to virgin plastic. They are making a good amount of impact to keep the planet green.

“The quality of yarn extracted from recycled PET bottles is equivalent to that of a virgin yarn manufactured from crude oil. The garments made of this yarn are as good as original polyester-makes,”

By Makarand Kulkarni

Source: The Indian Express

Anyways we all need policy changes and a few improvements in our systems and technologies, instead of accusing the solution of recycling. We need microfibre filters installed in our washing machines and improvisation in the manufacturing process. The government and the textile industry should release caretaking and washing guidelines.

In our capacity, we are proud to announce that Bhumiz is going to plant 1 tree for every 20 orders that we receive.

More on how we as consumers be more sustainable in our next blog
Till then
Let’s Live Sustainably everyday…

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