Polyester & Synthetics

Is Recycled Polyester Green or Greenwashing?

Recycled polyester is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the fashion market, but some experts say the material isn't a long-term solution or that sustainable. CO takes a closer look.

When Nike feted World Cup uniforms made from recycled polyester in 2010, the idea of melting down cast-off plastic bottles and spinning them into textiles was still a novel concept. Today, just about every apparel brand, from American Eagle to Zara, brandishes the material as evidence it is “going green.” 

The appeal is clear: Recycled polyester, also known as recycled polyethylene terephthalate or rPET for short, has a smaller carbon footprint than its virgin counterpart. Reclaiming plastic w…

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Jasmin Malik Chua

Journalist at Freelance