The Deep Dive on RPET fabric
& why Good Shirt has chosen to launch with these fabrics.
"It's not at all like wearing a plastic bottle"
While people like the sound of recycling, wearing a plastic bottle doesn't sound that appealing "Is it breathable?" the most common question I get asked.
Then there's the issue of microfibers that shed from all clothes when washed, entering our waterways/ oceans and finding their way into the food chain. Recycled PET, Polyester, Nylon and other synthetics not biodegradable as are the microfibers from Natural fibres such as cotton, hemp....
The positives, of the fabric used in Good Shirts, are that it's not like wearing plastic bottle at all, with the look and hand-feel of a luxe cotton, the fabric is a very breathable performance fabric. Eco-Cool moisture wicking properties combined with quick drying raising the comfort level to the wearer.
Infused with a leading edge antimicrobial produced using recycled coffee grounds stops bacteria from the wearer's sweat forming in the garment keeping your Good Shirt smelling fresh for the life of the tee.
The fabric/ garment's life span is considerably longer than that of cotton.
Recycled polyester is more resistant to stains, requires less energy to wash & dry.
With in depth testing by independent 3rd party bluesign® an international organisation whom sets high standards for the sustainable production of textiles verifies the fabric/s we are using as sustainable free of harmful chemicals, dyes and BPA.
Spending considerable time researching many areas and fabrics before deciding on fabrics produced using recycled plastic bottles the conclusion was not as easy a choice as you might think.
We live in an imperfect world and short of going naked any fabric you care to name will have a negative impact on the Natural World, so we'll be taking a good look at other fabrics including hemp, merino wool ... in our ranges down the track, but right now there are millions of tons of plastic to clean up so we'll give that a nudge first.
While fabrics made using recycled PET (Plastic bottles) are not the perfect solution they certainly tick a lot of boxes with a positive outcome.
So below is my reasoning, you're most welcome to add to the conversation, with comments, advice, alternate viewpoints, solutions .... many minds coming together speeding up positive progress.
We're starting Good Shirt. with a strong focus on the global plastic problem simply because it's most likely the single biggest man-made threat to the Natural World as a whole, especially our oceans and with all the data out there, governments and businesses alike are very slow to respond with positive plans to resolve this problem so it's clearly going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Ponder these facts
1/ While our dependence on fossil fuels lessens and oil companies make feel good ads regarding renewables (wind, solar, geothermal, tidal) * since 2010 Fossil fuel companies are among those who have invested more than US$180 billion into new facilities that will produce the raw material for everyday plastics from packaging to bottles, trays and cartons.
The new facilities – being built by corporations like Exxon Mobile Chemical and Shell Chemical – will help fuel a 40% rise in plastic production in the next decade, according to experts, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis that scientist warn already risks “near permanent pollution of the earth.”
2/ Alternate Fabrics that at first glance appear a smarter choice for the environment not so clear when weighing in with all the facts.
Natural Fibers such as Cotton use a for example use high levels of pesticides & insecticides to accelerate growth and increase yield, these chemicals leaching into land, waterways and oceans. Even organic cotton not a darling, whilst there isn't the same chemical dependance in the growing of organic cotton, approx 2,700 litres of water are required to produce enough organic cotton for one (1) tee shirt, that fact alone taking the fabric down a fair few notches when looking at it's sustainability cred.
Bamboo fabrics are almost exclusively created using the viscose process, which leaves a trail of seriously bad chemical waste as a byproduct of the production process, with no eco-friendly solution yet available for the disposal of this waste bamboo fabrics green image not on par with the reality .... the list goes on.
So I'm thinking we can simply all go naked (yeah, nah!) or pick the lesser of these evils. Hard making the perfect choice in an imperfect world!
Cleaning up plastic waste through recycling definitely not a bad thing and given the current state of plastics in our oceans and the projected increases it's an area that needs a massive amount of attention to attain a viable solution to the problem. This type of initiative simply one in an array of efforts to clean up what is fast becoming a global disaster.
*The microfibers in recycled PET fabrics, polyester and other synthetics while not natural or biodegradable fiber as is cotton, they can easily be caught in your washing machine in several ways,
(c) Having a lint filter installed for your washing machine.
In addition, washing your clothes less often and washing with a full load. This not only reduces your water consumption but with a full load there's less friction caused resulting in less microfibers.
This same result of less friction can be achieved by using washing liquid vs powder. Washing in cold water also reducing microfibers.
Advances will likely move quickly in this area, supply meeting demand, with the innovators finding a USP and profitability within the solution.
With solutions already available, it won't be long before some smart engineer takes things Next Level with the solution built directly into washing machines. It may even be those kiwi legends at Fisher & Paykel, given they have a bit of a rep for innovation and leading edge design ; )
The jury is still out in the scientific community as to whether these microfibers entering waterways, and the food chain are causing us harm.
I'm neither a doctor or a scientist, but it doesn't sound like it's going to be good for you to me, so err on the side of caution here I say, and take steps to collect and reduce microfibers when washing your clothes.
These microfibers are definitely not killing marine and bird life, single use plastics are, so we'll focus on tackling that immediate problem and cheer on those more qualified and committed to finding superior solutions to the issue of microfibers.
Links to resources used in this text, and the decision to focus on recycling and reducing the use of single use plastics wherever possible.
* "$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge"