Eco-friendly headscarves (and more!) made from plastic bottles

fabric made from plastic bottles

In a recycler’s reinvention of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, a Malaysian manufacturer is crafting eco-friendly fashion from melted and discarded plastic bottles.

Waste2Wear has developed an eco-friendly hijab made from recycled drinks containers. The chiffon-like material in each Green Hijab is made from 6 post-consumer plastic bottles. They come in three colorways (violet, blue, and green) packed in a box (made from recycled and biodegradable paper) with a story card (printed in soy ink) that explains how the product is made. It’s a perfect gift that also helps clean the environment by diverting throwaway materials from landfills or ocean dumping.

Waste2Wear also creates garments (think medical scrubs, spa robes, and school uniforms) for high volume customers who seek a more sustainable approach to their businesses.  As example, Tropical Islands Spa and Resort in Germany welcomes over a million annual visitors, each of them given a bespoke kimono for use during their stay. The resort approached Waste2Wear, concerned with the environmental impact of their robe givewaway. Together, they developed a full cradle-to-cradle solution to make sure their used garments would not end up in landfills.

fabric made from plastic bottlesThe company encourages high volume customers (who use mainly disposable or semi-disposable products) to send back their garments so they can be used as a feedstock for next-generation garments. This cradle-to-cradle maunfacturing loop turns traditional waste into wearable fabric:

Step 1: Plastic bottles are stripped of caps and labels, then thoroughly cleaned to remove any residue or contaminants.

Step 2: The plastic is processed into flakes and washed again to ensure there is nothing left but 100% RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) remaining.

Step 3: The clean flakes are transformed into small pellets of pure recycled plastic that is virtually indistinguishable from “virgin” PET (polyethylene terephthalate).

Step 4: The pellets are then extruded into yarn which can be tinted as any color.

Step 5: The 100% recycled polyester yarn can be used on its own or blended with other eco-friendly yarns to produce Waste2Wear® fabrics.

Their product line includes home goods (bedding and pillows) and reusable market bags, all made from plastic bottle fiber.
Other companies are using plastic waste to create fabrics for fashion, including Patagonia, and Nike (their bespoke jerseys for the 2012/2013 Maccabi Haifa football team were once plastic drinks bottles!).  Waste2Wear stands out as they work with customers to recycle used goods into their next order.
The company was founded in Shanghai, China in 1998 by Monique Maissan as a trading office focused on ladies’ fashion wear. Operating under the name Vision Textiles, a childrenswear department was added in 2000. The business now operates on three continents, with a corporate goal to one day run out of plastic bottles.  That’s a mission statement we can all line up behind.
Learn more on the Waste2Wear website (link here).

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