Rubbish in, shirts out

Every single minute, a million plastic are bottles are bought around the world. That's 525 billion plastic bottles every year.
And that's enough to make every single person on the planet a new shirt every single week.

Enough plastic bottles exist in the world already to clothe the global population for the rest of our lives.
That's why we decided to use fabric made solely from recycled plastic (PET) bottles for our first collection of men's and women's shirts. We're reusing and repurposing waste that was destined for landfill or our oceans, and turning it into something useful and beautiful.
Currently, only around 7% of plastic bottles are recycled; this means 93% of the plastic bottles we use are sitting in landfill, or worse, the sea. By buying clothing made from recycled plastic bottles, we can increase demand for recycled goods, and increase the amount plastic that is recycled so that we can reuse and repurpose it over and over again.

How do you turn a plastic bottle into something we can wear? 

First, the plastic (PET) bottles taken from post-consumer waste are washed, ground and crushed into tiny chips. These chips are then de-polymerised and re-polymerised - this essentially means breaking the PET down into its smallest component parts, so that they can be rebuilt back into something else. In this case, the tiny recycled PET chips are spun into yarn, which are then woven into the final fabric that is used in our shirts. 

How does recycled PET fabric compare to other sustainable options?

Every fabric has its pros and cons, and it's incredibly difficult to find a study that has acquired industry-wide consensus when it comes to comparing the environmental impact of different fabrics. That's because different fabrics all impact the environment in very different ways; and that's what makes selecting fabrics so tricky.
Whether synthetic or natural, however, we believe there's nothing better than reusing something that already exists.
'Made-by', a Dutch not-for-profit that produced one of the most highly-acclaimed studies on the comparative environmental impact of different fabrics - deems recycled polyester a Class A fabric:

A table comparing the environmental impact of different fabrics from a study by Dutch not-for-profit 'Made-by'

We're not saying that recycled PET is the only fabric we'll ever use in our shirts, but here are 5 reasons why we chose it for our first range over other options:

  1. It uses around 50% less energy than new or virgin plastics and polyesters, and therefore a significantly reduced carbon footprint. 

  2. It requires less water than conventional natural material production such as cotton.

  3. It harms no animals in the process, unlike conventional silks.

  4. It gives rubbish another life, and stops it from going straight to landfill. 

  5. It can be dyed easily using non-toxic inks and sublimation print methods which use no water, and uses no excess ink.

Ultimately, we would prefer rPET not to exist, because that would mean there are no longer plastic bottles to be recycled. Unfortunately, we are some way away from going back to a zero-plastic world, so for the time being we hope to do our bit via recycling and repurposing waste as a first step.

You can take a look at our sustainable men's and women's shirts made from recycled plastic bottles here.