When you think of Africa you think big five, beautiful coastlines, and a land of diversity. You think struggles and our willingness to survive.
Our wildlife is in danger. Roughly 8 million pieces of plastic enter the ocean worldwide daily, that’s 4,8 to 12,7 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year. Take a second to reflect on the severity of that fact.
Humanity has killed 60% of wildlife populations since 1970. What a horrendous statistic this is to face.
What are we doing? What will future generations have, see and do?
Luckily, in the last couple of years recycling started playing such a vital role in our society. People are becoming more conscious of what they can do to reduce their carbon footprints, and now sustainability has taken on a new form and meaning. What would you say if I told you we can use all that plastic to make clothing?
If this is the first time you’re hearing of plastic fabric, you probably are having the same reaction as I did. I was so amused by this that I had to delve deeper into the topic and educate myself on how this works, and I was even more amused when I found out how simple it was.
Let’s jump right into it:
The process literally starts at the dump to collect the plastic bottles that do not belong there in the first place. (Less plastic in the ocean AND less plastic in the landfills.)
Once that mission has been dealt with, the plastic gets broken down and shredded into tiny pieces, where it’s followed with a wash to clean and rid the plastic from any paper, dyes or chemicals. It is then followed by a high pressured melting process where the small pieces of plastic forms into pellets; these pellets are extruded and spun into yarn and, just like any other yarn, it’s knitted, cut and sewn into a fabric, which we, of course, can use to make beautiful clothing.
Recycled fabrics are one of the most sustainable fabrics you can find. Yes, it does use big industrial machinery to create the fabric, but not nearly as many resources are used to make virgin polyester fabric, for example. Virgin polyester is made from a combination of coal, ethylene, air, and water. The fabric is formed from a chemical reaction under immense high heat. It’s apparent that it’s a high energy process that relies on even more energy and natural resources when you consider the number of resources it takes to extract petroleum and coal from the mother earth.
It takes about two 2L or six 500ml plastic bottles to create enough fabric for a T-Shirt to be manufactured. Each shirt that we get to manufacture with this fabric plays a vital role in helping nature and lessening the carbon footprint we leave behind.
At the end of the day it’s not about us, its about our legacy.
Let’s stand together, be the difference, and create our legacy one small step at a time.