Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Did you know, your polyester tops and undies are made from the same plastic as disposable water bottles?
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), can be used as a synthetic fibre or resin and is a member of the polyester family of polymers. PET is spun into fibres for permanent-press fabrics and blow-molded into disposable beverage bottles. These fabrics are used in items like underwear, yoga outfits or uniforms. It's just another form of plastic.
Every piece of plastic that's ever been made still exists somewhere on our planet.
This article says it well - that "if Leonardo da Vinci had drunk water from a plastic bottle when he was painting the Mona Lisa, that bottle would not have fully decomposed yet".
That means your cassette tapes (remember them!?) your Lego and Barbie figurines, your fluorescent tracksuit... are all still around today, having either ended up in the ocean or landfill.
Plastics don't biodegrade because the material is unrecognisable to the organisms that normally break down organic matter, like wool or wood.
Birds are using plastic fibres (like polyester or nylon) to build their nests. Is this the kind of 'normal' we want to return to?
We all know plastic is not great, yet here's no sign of plastic production slowing down anytime soon, with 270 million tonnes of plastic produced last year. That's 740 Empire State buildings!
Unfortunately it's not just the plastic piling up that's an issue...
Producing plastic means extraction from unsustainable fossil fuels
Toxins and chemicals are being released into our air and water when being made, breaking down or being burned.
So what are you meant to do, if you're trying to bring back the 80's fluorescent tracksuit?
One easy swap is to choose natural materials, like wool, in your clothing and household items.
Look for brands who are serious about reducing their impact and are using natural fibres to create quality products, like clothing, carpets, slippers and shoes.
And remember to drink from your reusable water bottle when you paint your next masterpiece...
Written by Rhiannon James