How is recycled polyester different from virgin polyester?
Polyester is a man-made fiber manufactured using petrochemical products like ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate. But unlike polyester, recycled polyester is made using products made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate)) like plastic bottles, polyester fabrics, etc. During the recycling process of polyester, the fibers re-constitutes at the molecular level because of which there is not much difference between the properties of virgin polyester and the recycled polyester. Most of the mechanical properties of recycled polyester like durability, tensile strength and performance along with its advantages are all similar to that of virgin polyester.
In addition to that, the process of recycling polyester consumes fewer resources than that of manufacturing virgin polyester. Since no new petroleum and other raw material are required to create the recycled fiber, hence not only the demand for resources is reduced but this also lowers the overall carbon footprint of the final end product. Also instead of going into landfills, the PET bottles are reused reducing the waste and contamination from the environment. It is estimated that recycling polyester fiber lowers around 75 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions when compared to the manufacturing of virgin polyester. This implies that recycled polyester has a lower environmental impact than virgin polyester.
Many pieces of research have proved that the textiles or garments which are made from recycled polyester can be recycled again-and-again without affecting the qualities and properties of the fiber. If this is implemented at the industry level, then the polyester could be recycled and reused for a much longer time creating a closed-loop system. And as we know the closed-loop system is one of the key practices of adopting a sustainable manufacturing system.
Recycled polyester manufacturing brand called REPREVE® has also mentioned that the energy consumption is reduced by 45 percent, water consumption is reduced by 20 percent and greenhouse gas emission is reduced by more than 30 percent when compared to the manufacturing process of virgin polyester.