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  • Writer's pictureJayesh Pajwani

Use of Recycled PET in Manufacturing Fabric-Based Products: Potential Risks and Mitigations


The textile industry is increasingly embracing sustainable practices, focusing on reducing waste and minimising environmental impact. One promising solution is using recycled PET (polyethene terephthalate) felt in manufacturing fabric-based products. Derived from post-consumer plastic bottles, recycled PET felt offers a range of benefits, such as durability, thermal insulation, and moisture resistance. However, addressing potential environmental risks associated with its usage is crucial. In this blog, we explore the applications of recycled PET felt, highlight the risks, and discuss strategies for responsible sourcing and production.


Use cases

Recycled PET felt finds versatile applications across various industries, including fashion, interior design, and industrial manufacturing. In the realm of apparel and fashion accessories, this sustainable material can be transformed into jackets, hats, and bags, providing warmth and style. Its use extends to home furnishings, where it serves as a durable and eco-friendly option for rugs, carpets, upholstery fabrics, and decorative wall coverings.


Potential Risks and Mitigations

While recycled PET felt brings significant environmental benefits, it is essential to consider potential risks and implement mitigations. One key concern is microplastic shedding. Like other synthetic fabrics, recycled PET felt can release microfibers during use and washing. These microfibers, tiny plastic particles, can enter water bodies and harm aquatic ecosystems. To tackle this issue, manufacturers and consumers should adopt measures such as washing products in mesh bags to capture the fibres and investing in filtration systems that trap microplastics during washing.


Another aspect to address is the potential presence of chemical treatments or coatings on PET felt products. These treatments, meant to enhance properties like water repellency or flame resistance, can introduce chemicals that may harm the environment or human health. It is crucial to source recycled PET felt from suppliers who adhere to environmental regulations and avoid using hazardous substances. Certifications such as the Recycled Claim Standard + Global Recycled Standard (GRS) can ensure that the material meets specific recycled content and chemical usage criteria.


Applying relevant strategies can ensure responsible sourcing and production. Firstly, manufacturers should partner with suppliers who prioritise sustainable sourcing practices. It includes obtaining post-consumer plastic bottles from reliable recycling facilities and ensuring proper sorting and cleaning. Transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain are essential.


Additionally, suppliers should strive for energy and water efficiency in manufacturing. It can involve utilising renewable energy sources, optimising production efficiency, and implementing water-saving techniques. Waste management should also be a priority, with efforts focused on waste reduction, recycling of production scraps, and responsible disposal of byproducts.


Collaboration and innovation are vital in advancing the use of recycled PET felt. Manufacturers, suppliers, and researchers should work together to develop innovative technologies and processes that enhance the sustainability and performance of the material. Sharing knowledge and best practices can drive continuous improvement in the industry, leading to more responsible and efficient manufacturing practices.


Conclusion

The use of recycled PET felt in manufacturing fabric-based products holds immense potential for reducing waste and minimising the environmental footprint of the textile industry. While the material offers numerous advantages, addressing potential risks such as microplastic shedding and chemical treatments is crucial. By implementing the solutions highlighted above, the industry can foster a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to manufacturing.


Last but not least important, using recycled PET (polyethene terephthalate) in fabric-based products positively impacts several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14, SDG 15, SDG 9, SDG 8, and SDG 6.


About Consulting Nirmana

Accelerate sustainability actions! It’s good for the planet, people and business.


Consulting Nirmana, a sustainability-led consulting firm, has combined four decades of rich experiences in delivering enterprise transformation enabled by SAP ERP, supply chain transformation enabled by Blue Yonder aka JDA, & strategic priorities-led business transformations with climate change imperatives & solutions to assist clients in embedding sustainability in their business.


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This blog provides general information based on secondary research referencing publicly available data. Consulting Nirmana assumes no liability for the information given being complete or correct.


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