What happened to your recyclables? This video, prepared by the National Geographic, illustrates the process of transforming PET bottles into Polyester clothing in just 5 minutes.
The video starts at a UK Bottle Recycling Center.
- Sorting – separation of the bottles from the waste stream
- Shredding – to remove remaining content from the bottles
- Bailing and transporting to China
- Sorting – to remove unwanted materials
- Bathing – to separate HDPE and PET and a second caustic bath to remove glue
- Heating – to colour the polyester
- Threading – to transform hard pieces of plastic into fibres
- Stretching – to strengthen fibres
- Fluffing – transform hard pieces of plastic into fluff
- Carding – transform fluff into a continuous web
- Making polyester sheets
- Making clothing
Since the restrictions on import of plastic waste in China, it is likely that this video is not exactly up to date anymore. But still, it gives a clear overview of the steps involved in the production of clothing from plastic bottles.