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How is recycled polyester made?

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Recycled polyester can be produced using two methods of recycling mechanical and chemical. Manufacturing using mechanical recycling begins with lots of plastic bottles. Labels are stripped of the bottles then the bottles are sterilized, dried and crushed into small, thin chips, which are then heated and passed through a spinneret to form long strings of yarn. The yarn produced is wound on to the spools. Thereafter, the yarn is baled, dyed and knitted/woven into recycled polyester fabric.

While manufacturing using chemical recycling requires using waste plastic bottles and returning them into its original monomers. After which regular polyester manufacturing is followed.

Much of recycled polyester is obtained through mechanical recycling as it is cheaper than chemical recycling and requires no chemicals other than the detergents needed to clean the input materials. However, the fiber produced from mechanical recycling is not of very high quality and so is mixed with virgin fiber. According to the data available, 10 plastic PET bottles can produce 1 lb (0.45 kg) of recycled polyester fiber.

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