If you are someone who is greatly concerned about the environmental impact of fashion, it is important for you to read the tags on garments to find out what they are made of. Read about the various aspects of polyester when it is used as a fabric. You can read more here.
What is polyester?
The term “polyester” is used to describe a special category of polymers that are produced by mixing ethylene glycol that is been derived from terephthalic acid and petroleum. If we put aside the chemical jargon, polyester is simply plastic that has wide applications which are included and extended beyond the fashion industry.
Polyester mostly ranks behind polyethylene – mainly used for making water bottles and for packaging, and polypropylene – mainly used for making stationery, ropes and Australian notes) as the most commonly used plastic.
The majority of polyesters are not biodegradable which means that the clothes you bought which are made of polyester is not likely to degrade for another twenty to even two-hundred years, and it depends on many conditions too.
In addition to this, polyester is derived from petroleum and oil manufacturing industry is the largest pollutant in the world.
Clothes made out of polyester are resistant to stain as it uses special kind of dyes for dyeing and color it. These dyes that are widely used for coloring are called as disperse dyes and are mostly insoluble in water. They are also made of complex molecular structures, just like polyester, which makes it difficult to readily decompose.
The water waste from the textile manufacturing factories contains leftover dyes which are very difficult to treat. They are released to the environment and its toxic nature causes hazardous problems to plant and animal life. In addition to this, the dyes used for coloring polyester are toxic to humans too. Dye workers around the globe report higher incidences of people among them causing cancer as well as lung diseases than the normal population.
Manufacturing of Polyester
Polyester is made using a heating process which is energy-intensive, and it requires water in large quantities for cooling it. The process can sometimes result in the dropping of groundwater levels and reduced access to drinking water if it is not managed in a proper manner, especially in vulnerable communities.
The option of Recycled Polyester
Since the past few years, the sustainable fashion world has been seeing recycled polyester which is mainly made out of recycled plastic bottles. Buying recycled polyester helps you in minimizing waste and also in cutting down the industries that use fossil fuels.