Your Plastic Wardrobe…and its effect on the world around us
Recycling – Making Use of Wasted According to this July 2017 article from Forbes Magazine, globally we buy 1 million plastic bottles per minute. That’s 524 billion a year. We recycle a dismal 9% of those. The plastic bottles that do end up getting recycled become the raw material for many of our common everyday items; items like synthetic fabrics, storage containers, and more plastic bottles. Most commonly, fleeces, sweaters, t-shirts, some types of denim, and even insulation for sleeping bags and jackets are made from these micro plastics. Plastic bottles, when recycled, have a practical and useful purpose.
But that’s not the whole story with recycling.
About 60% of each of our wardrobes are made of synthetic, plastic-based fibers like polyester or nylon. With each wash, the fabrics made from these synthetic materials shed thousands of particles into waste water. These particles, microscopic in size, wash through our homes’ drainage systems, past our cities’ water treatment systems, and into our streams, lakes, and oceans. Eventually they end up right back in our homes, in our drinking water and food. They do not break down no matter how much time passes or how microscopic they become.
And that is an often untold part of the story of recycling. With so much of the emphasis over the past decade being upon recycling, very little conversation has happened about the problems with the materials being recycled. While the plastic bottles that do get recycled are getting reused, they aren’t going away. The recycling process takes them from being large plastic bottles to microscopic particles in our ecosystem; problems persist because the materials are synthetic.
The plastic in our wardrobes is becoming the plastic in our ecosystem. And it’s time to stop it from ever leaving our homes.