From Polyethene To Fabrics

Scientists have found a way in which they can reduce plastic pollution by recycling polyethene into fabrics. The fabric they have created can be used for sports-wear and high-end fashion, made from fibres of polyethene on industrial looms into textiles. Researchers have reported that by using this fabric, we can deduct using other materials such as wool, cotton, silk, and nylon, which have much worse environmental effects on our planet. The US-based research team has said that the fabric can be dyed into different colours before being woven and recycled repeatedly as only one type of plastic is being used. They believe that the material could potentially be used for a spacesuit in the future to be protected against cosmic radiation.

Samples Of The Fabric

Polythene Fabric For Sustainable Fashion Credit: BBC News

How Plastic Is Polluting The Planet

Plastic pollution is a continuing and rising issue for our planet. The material has extreme impacts on our environment and wildlife, leading to a single-use, throwaway culture across the world. Polyethene is found in various packaging materials such as film, bin bags, grocery bags, bottles, toys and much more. The material itself has no adverse effects on the environment; however, the product slowly releases toxic chemicals into the ground whilst being polluted and broken down in the environment. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations, resulting in wildlife’s death from consumption, suffocation, and containment and creating micro plastics that is almost impossible to recover. The plastic packaging recycling rate in the UK in March 2020 was reported as 59% for bottles, 33% for pots, tubs and trays, 7% for film and 39% for all household plastic packaging. The vast amount ending up in a landfill can take 10 to 100 years to degrade and finds itself blown into the environment in the process.

Environmental Impacts Of The Fashion Industry

The fashion industry has been reported as the second-largest polluter in the world. Fashion production has a significant impact on the environment, making up 10% of carbon emissions, 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing, and thousands of clothes being dumped into landfill. With fashion production continually rising whilst people are constantly purchasing new clothes, they are using vast amounts of energy and non-renewable resources to keep up. By creating fabrics from polyethene, we are both limiting the amount of plastic being polluted, avoiding raw materials from being used and finding an approach to build towards a sustainable fashion industry globally.