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Should you go for recycled PET?

It is great that it is possible to recycle used PET bottles into new bottles or other polyester materials. Many fashion companies are using recycled PET bottles to reach their sustainable material targets.

If the PET bottles stay within the food and beverage industry they can continuously be recycled in a closed-loop system. This is unfortunately not the case when PET bottles are made into clothing. The recycled polyester clothing can still not be recycled into new bottles or clothing at scale. There are many promising innovations, and it is hopefully a question of time before it is possible. Until then we believe fashion companies should let PET bottles stay in the food and beverage industry where the demand for recycled bottles is much higher than the supply.

Even if polyester is often a shunned material for some sustainability reasons, there may be good product reasons to use polyester including durability. When this is the case fashion companies can still do a lot to improve the sustainability of their virgin polyester products: Companies can make sure to design their products for future recycling, they can consequently buy OEKO-Tex 100 or Bluesign certified materials, and they can work with yarn and fabric suppliers on implementing renewable energy to reduce emissions. We believe this has a significantly more positive impact on the sustainability of fashion than taking PET bottles from the food and beverage industry.



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