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So we have created all this plastic and now what? -Navigating the Environmental Challenge

In this article we will dwell in the topic of our biggest enemy: Plastic. We will teach you how to recognise plastic fabrics, what are the pros and cons of recycling it and what simple  choices you can make to live more planet friendly life.

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The fashion industry, while often associated with glamour and style, has a dark side that's increasingly evident: it's one of the most polluting sectors on the planet. The fast fashion model, characterized by rapid production, low-quality garments, and excessive consumerism, contributes to enormous amounts of waste, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the extensive use of synthetic fabrics, dyeing processes, and transportation in the fashion supply chain further compounds its environmental impact. Addressing these issues is essential for a more sustainable and responsible future in fashion.
First: Which fabrics are made of plastics and if they can be recycled?

is one of the most widely used synthetic fibers in the fashion industry. It is made from petrochemicals and is known for its durability, wrinkle resistance, and moisture-wicking properties. However, it can be less breathable than natural fibers. 
Polyester fabrics, which are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), can be recycled. Recycling PET polyester typically involves breaking down the fabric into its raw form and then using it to create new polyester fibers or products.

is another synthetic fiber made from petrochemicals. It is known for its strength, elasticity, and abrasion resistance. Nylon is commonly used in activewear, hosiery, and various accessories. Nylon fabrics can also be recycled. Recycled nylon, often referred to as "regenerated nylon" or "Econyl," is increasingly used in sustainable fashion. It is processed to create new nylon fibers and products.

Spandex (Lycra or Elastane)
is a stretchable synthetic fiber that provides elasticity to clothing. It is often blended with other fibers to create form-fitting and comfortable garments, such as sportswear and swimwear. Recycling spandex/elastane is more challenging due to its stretchable nature. While it may not be recycled in the same way as rigid plastics, efforts are underway to find innovative ways to reuse or repurpose elastane-containing textiles.

 So we have created all this plastic and now what? -Navigating the Environmental Challenge studio
is a thermoplastic polymer that is lightweight and resistant to moisture. It is commonly used in thermal and moisture-wicking clothing, such as base layers and socks.  Polypropylene fabrics, while less common in clothing, can be recycled. This plastic is often used in items like bags, ropes, and industrial textiles. Recycled polypropylene can be used to produce new plastic products.

fibers are made from a synthetic polymer and are known for their softness, warmth, and ability to mimic the appearance of natural fibers like wool. Acrylic is often used in sweaters, blankets, and faux fur. Recycling acrylic fibers can be challenging, as they are synthetic fibers made from a type of plastic called polyacrylonitrile. Unlike natural fibers like cotton or wool, acrylic fibers do not biodegrade easily.

Recycled Plastic Fabrics
These fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles or other plastic waste. Brands and manufacturers are increasingly using recycled plastics to create eco-friendly textiles, reducing the environmental impact of clothing production. Fabrics made from recycled plastics, such as recycled PET (rPET) or other reclaimed plastic materials, are designed with recycling in mind. These fabrics are often used in sustainable fashion as they are created from post-consumer plastic waste like bottles or packaging. They can be recycled into new textile products, promoting a closed-loop approach to fashion.

Regrettably, the fashion industry has witnessed a proliferation of fast fashion and mainstream brands touting their commitment to eco-friendliness, sustainability, and the use of recycled fabrics. This trend has given rise to a disconcerting phenomenon known as "greenwashing." While sustainable practices, like the use of recycled fabrics, are championed, there often lurk hidden challenges and undisclosed complexities, shielded from public scrutiny.

The Pros of Recycling Fabrics:


Recycling plastic to create fabrics significantly reduces the need for virgin resources. By diverting plastic waste from landfills and oceans, the fashion industry plays a vital role in reducing its ecological footprint.

Environmental Impact 

The process of recycling plastic into fabrics consumes fewer natural resources and energy compared to producing traditional textiles. It also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making it a more eco-friendly choice.


Recycled plastic fabrics come in various forms, allowing for diverse applications in fashion. They can imitate natural fibers, resulting in soft, durable, and versatile materials.


Second-hand Appeal

Preloved and vintage clothing enthusiasts appreciate the eco-friendly aspects of recycled plastic fabrics. They often seek out items made from these materials, contributing to circular fashion practices.

 So we have created all this plastic and now what? -Navigating the Environmental Challenge studio
 So we have created all this plastic and now what? -Navigating the Environmental Challenge

The Cons of Recycling Fabrics:

Microfiber Shedding 

Some recycled plastic fabrics, like polyester, can shed microfibers when washed, which may contribute to microplastic pollution in water bodies. However, ongoing research is addressing this issue, and innovations such as microfiber-catching laundry bags are emerging to mitigate the problem.



While recycled plastic fabrics are durable, they may not match the longevity of natural fibers like cotton or wool. However, advancements in technology are continually improving the durability of these materials.


Energy Intensity

Recycling plastic fabrics can still require a significant amount of energy in the production process, depending on the method used. However, this is often offset by the energy savings achieved through reduced resource extraction and transportation.

Limited Biodegradability 

Recycled plastic fabrics may not be biodegradable, which means they can persist in the environment for a long time if not properly disposed of. However, recycling and upcycling initiatives are working to address this issue.

In conclusion, recycling fabrics, especially those made from recycled plastic, represents a substantial stride towards sustainable fashion and eco-conscious choices. While there are some challenges to address, the benefits far outweigh the cons. However, choosing  second-hand, vintage, and preloved clothing made from plastic fabrics is the greener decision from all possibilities. So, next time you shop, consider choosing clothing that reflects your commitment to a more sustainable and eco-friendly world.
At studio we embrace second-hand, vintage, and preloved clothing Buying already existing gaurmets made from plastic fabrics is the most green choice. It not only reduces waste but also offers a stylish and eco-friendly way to contribute to a greener future.


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