Why Polyester Is Extremely Dangerous - And Why Recycling Does Not Help

This might shock you, but you are probably wearing plastic clothing. Polyester, one of the most commonly used fabrics in the clothing industry, is actually a synthetic plastic polymer, and a particularly dangerous one at that.

Polyester Is Non-Biodegradable Plastic

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Polyester is not biodegradable. This means the Polyester Shirt and your new Polyester Yoga pants you recently bought will be there for the next 100 to 200 years and even then it is not re-entering the ecosystem in a healthy way.

Furthermore, polyester is derived from petroleum and the oil manufacturing industry, as is most plastic.

Environmentally-Friendly Polyester Clothing?!

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Some brands market polyester apparel as environmentally friendly because they use recycled plastic bottles to make it. That may sound like a good way to reduce plastic pollution, but in reality, it only moves the problem and doesn't solve it.

Washing Polyester Releases Millions Of  Plastic Microfibers

Polyester clothes are shedding tiny bits of plastic with every wash cycle that enter our ecosystem and the ocean. This is particularly dangerous and has lead to tiny bits of plastics infiltrating our oceans and even our own bodies. 

Polyester Microfibers Enter The Ecosystem

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Polyester Microfibres are so tiny, that they drain out of our washing machines and pass straight through wastewater treatment plants into the sea and our ecosystem.

Now you might think "If they are so tiny what is the harm?". Well, they act kind of like a magnet for toxic chemicals. Similar to a ballon you rubbed on your head to generate static electricity, creates sort of a magnet, these fibers become a magnet for all the nasty stuff they pass by.

Plastic Particles, Plastic Particles Everywhere

The Polyester Microfibres are not just floating around in the sea, waiting for the end of time. It’s recirculating as small particles and fibers, entering our food chain. Microplastic pollution is cropping up all over the world including in extremities like the Arctic and Antarctic.

As a consequence Polyester Microfibres have been found in air, rivers, soil, drinking water and even beer.

Recycling Polyester Does Not Solve The Issue

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While for many materials, recycling is a useful way of preventing pollution the same can not be said for Polyester and Plastic. Recycling just moves the inevitable escape of pollutants into the environment. 

That's why we need to phase out all but the most essential plastics. We certainly don't need them in our clothes and textiles. One way to fix this would be to get cotton clothing and avoid Polyester Clothing like the plague.