Recycled Polyester Vs Cotton

Recycled Polyester – The New Lie!

Polyester producers and Sportswear know the tide is turning, so they are spinning a new lie.

The argument:Traditional Cotton is very water intensive. It takes around 2,700 liters of water to grow enough cotton to manufacture a single T-shirt.

This is of course biased – Based on the the average if not dirtiest practices, many or not all of our suppliers are committed to the BCI or other better production certifications – Organic Cotton production not only uses less water, but also use less chemicals.

However even the dirtiest cotton production is miles better than traditional polyester development, which brings us to recycled Polyester.

Recycled Polyester sounds great on paper, it uses much fewer resources and is finding a use for those plastic bottles what could be better right?

The problem is the damage is mid and backloaded.

Cotton’s ill effects are almost all Front Loaded – The enviromental and ethical concerns are all around making the product, from this point of view Recycled Polyester looks better (though the creation of the bottles etc in the first place is a whole other story).

However whilst cotton is natural and breaks down, polyester doesn’t. At the end of the day Polyester will likely end up in a landfill – Which is enough to make Cotton a better choice… But it gets worse once you consider microfibres….

Plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary plastic that is polluting our oceans. “”

Each cycle of a washing machine can release more than 700,000 plastic fibers into the environment. A paper published in 2011 in the journal Environmental Science Technology found that microfibers made up 85 percent of human-made debris on shorelines around the world.Source:

In fact Ocean Clean Wash claim it is more likely millions of fibres per wash. But wait it gets better, fibres are shed into the air with friction…. You know the sort of friction you might get when working out… In your performance (polyester) gear.

With plastic microfibres found from the bottom of the ocean, to the top of Mt Everest, in our food, water, lungs and even in unborn children it might even be time to change what we are wearing.

Further Reading:


Cotton Supply Co® – New zealand’s original tea towel printers