A Lot To Say, my first advertising marketing client recently commissioned a report. While organic cotton is a start in the right direction, I was reading this article called Bottles to Boxers from John Otsuki. His case for a recycled plastic bottle does make sense. Here are some reasons why?
Cotton is the world’s largest non-food crop, estimated at 166 million bales in 2007[i] which currently include the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Even if you use organic cotton, you still have the issues of land use, water consumption, energy and chemistry which are used to turn cotton fiber into fabric. According to John Otsuki, other natural fibers such as hemp and bamboo may not require water usage, they need even more processing which means more energy.
Millions of tons of plastic are recycled using the #1 every year called PET and is the most recycled plastic on earth. Recycled PET or RPET, have the potential harvest of billions of pounds of material per year. It is free and locally generated.
Recent innovations have created processes to use the plastic bottles and make micro-fiber, performance fabrics and fleece. These yarns are now 100% recycled polyester. By using recycled plastic instead of new petroleum, over 60% of the energy is saved without any additional harm to the environment[ii]. No other fiber is produced with less impact.
There is a technology called AirDye® which is now used to make shirts. This technology uses no water and much less energy to add color and designs to the fabric. Regular printing on a shirt would use over 15 gallons of water and chemicals that are released into the environment.
Polyester is also tougher than cotton. A polyester shirt lasts longer and bottom line will NOT go into a landfill.
[i] National Cotton Council of America
[ii] Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Dept of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
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