Shocking isn’t it, but it’s true, even those recycled plastic products are harmful for our planet. Over the past few years, upcycled plastic has been seen in every other commodity ranging from sneakers to garden furniture to kitchenware to clothing, because companies worldwide learned to reuse plastic.
As a matter of fact, recycled plastics are far better than new petroleum-based plastic, because recycling has help to keep disposable plastic products far from landfill, where they would take hundreds of years to decompose naturally. However, every piece of recycled plastic represents a drastic environmental threat. The procedure of melting down and recycling plastic produces VOC, which stands for volatile organic compounds, smokes from the process is not only hazardous for the plant life but it also effects animals life living near the industrial site.
More-over the heat needed to melt plastic also generates carbon emissions, which contribute to global warming. There is more to the after effects of recycling plastic, the recycled puffer you buy tend to lose microscopic particles of plastic after every wash and are released into the water system, poising marine life in addition when you throw it out it will not biodegrade.
What’s the issue with recycled plastic?
Consumer goods have a dire problem with plastic. When it was first widely used in 1950s, designers see it as their life savior material because it could be easily morph into pretty much anything, they want it to be.
Companies stretching from fashion brands, furniture makers to toy brands to food outlet as well as packaging manufacturers have relied on it since 1950s.
The fashion industry has been one of the major consumers of the plastic so far. Nylon was first developed in the 1930s, but nearly a century later, 60% of the 100 billion garments had been made out by the industry from synthetic plastic fibers, such as nylon, polyester, and spandex.
These materials are terrible for our environment and planet for several reasons. Firstly, they are largely made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Secondly they also don’t biodegrade, and lastly in 1970s, scientist discovered that synthetic fiber too shed tiny particles into the environment when you wear it and even more when you wash it.
Over the past few years, brands have tried to handle the plastic issue by replacing new plastic with recycled one. Adidas uses plastic dragged out of the ocean to make shoes and active wear. Reformation and Everlane began using plastic from old fishing net and water bottles in garments and swimsuits. Pangaia a fresh fashion brand launched 2 years ago used recycled plastic in its new FLWRDWN puffer collection.
Even-though recycled plastic has a lower carbon footprint and don’t rely on petroleum, they still shed microfibers and will likely ultimately end up in a dumping ground.
Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer for the ocean conservancy Oceana, is brood because of the boom in the use of recycled clothing may actually have a negative effect on the environment. she says that “people can feel good about using plastic bottle because it would somehow get turned into a fleece,”. In truth, she points out 91% of plastic is not recycled, and a lot of what we throw into our curbside recycling bins doesn’t ultimately get recycled, and a lot of what we throw into our curbside recycling bins doesn’t ultimately get recycled because they are contaminated by food or coated with plastic. The solution is to move away from plastic altogether. It’s really doable: Society survived perfectly well without plastic until the 1950s.
According to Satviz it is incumbent on companies to switch away from plastic-based materials. Consumers can’t really drive this change because they don’t have much choice in what they can buy at the moment. “The consumers have very limited choices” she says. “It’s really up to consumer goods companies to provide us with the alternatives so that we can choose the non-plastic option”.
Pangaia and its work towards plastic-free synthetic.
Pangaia announced a partnership with tech startup Kintra which invented a fabric which is durable and stretch exactly like synthetics but it is made of renewable materials and can be composted. Dr Amanda Parkes, the company’s chief innovation officer, did her PhD FROM MIT’s Media Lab and she has been working for years to fine an alternative for plastic-based fibers, the replicative part about Kintra didn’t attract Dr Amanda instead the on-going creation of the material which makes it compostable make her inquisitive to know about the company.
Kintra’s fabric are designed to mimic the qualities of nylon, polyester and spandex. Right now, Kintra use sugar as their raw material for the fabric, but the company is exploring the other alternatives too which will eventually led to better tomorrow for our Planet.