Polyester is made through a chemical reaction involving coal, petroleum (from crude oil), air and water. The making and disposing of polyester have a massive environmental cost. As an oil-based plastic, polyester does not biodegrade like natural fibres. Rather it stays in landfills for several decades at least – and potentially for hundreds of years.
We avoid oil-derived synthetics, reserving their use for technical necessity only. Learn more about our improvement efforts here. Multiple studies have shown that synthetic fibres make up a good share of microplastics found in waters and are widely implicated as the source of pollution. The main challenge of recycled polyester clothing is that it is not guaranteed to be recyclable. Plastic bottles tend to be mechanically recycled rather than chemically recycled, which means they’re chopped up into flakes, melted down, and then extruded through spinnerets to create yarn for knitting or weaving into textiles.