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
Unfortunately, the video is not of very good quality.
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.