Recently a "sustainable" fashion brand announced that they would be taking back spent recycled plastic leggings in anticipation of closing the loop + making new leggings out of the discarded ones. We're in confusing times when terms like closed-loop induce initial jubilation...but further thought brings skepticism about the proliferation of plastic particles.
Surely it is a good thing to recycle plastic bottles into something useful...isn't it? Surely it is a good thing to recycle these discarded objects into new useful items...isn't it? But if this process produces harmful substances along with the useful objects (+ promises to continue producing these harmful substances with each use), is that actually a positive advancement? Circular polyester will shed billions + billions of microfibers in its manufacture + use. Can we really tout so-called closed-loop polyester as an ethical or sustainable advancement?
I have to say that I admire a number of brands that have been pursuing this technology in so many ways. They have done the work of obtaining fair labor for the manufacture of their pieces. They have chosen to use recycled materials. When microplastics became headlines, they started selling devices + even washing machine attachments that collect the fibers. They funded research into lesser shedding polyester + closed-loop polyester technology.
Sadly, I wonder if washing machine attachments + closed-loop technology is time + energy spent in the wrong direction. Wouldn't it be better to address plastic bottle usage + nylon fishing net dumping + the general overuse of plastic? Wouldn't it be better to work toward making natural fibers more suitable for use as leggings + swimwear + warming layers?
Let's be thoughtful about so called sustainable advancements + products. Let's put our dollars + efforts toward real solutions.
For some alternatives to microplastic shedding clothing, right this way!