Most plastic bottles are recycled into clothes Today’s Video of the Day from the American Chemical Society (ACS) explains why most plastic bottles are recycled into clothes instead of being transformed into new bottles.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a flexible and moldable plastic that is used to make plastic bottles.
The chemistry of PET makes it difficult and expensive to be recycled back into plastic, which is why it is often spun into polyester fibers and fabrics.
This type of recycling is referred to as downgrading because once the plastic is converted to fabric it cannot be recycled again. In 2016, approximately 400,000 graduates across the U.S. wore gowns made from recycled PET bottles. How many used plastic bottles did that take, you ask? About 10.8 million. The first clothing made from recycled PET bottles hit the shelves in 1993. Last week a friend of mine forwarded an Instagram story to me from a wellness influencer who was warning her followers against wearing clothing made from recycled bottles. Her theory was that, as a recycled plastic, rPET fabric contains harmful endocrine-disrupting substances that will interfere with your thyroid function and hormones.
The video is part of the ACS series Reactions.
Video Credit: American Chemical Society