You are probably very familiar with the acronym PET, short for polyethylene terephthalate, as the symbol stamped onto the bottom of plastic bottles and other plastic products. But what exactly is PET and how is it different from the recycled polyester, rPET, that Faire Child uses to make our outerwear?
PET is a strong but lightweight form of polyester. It is a polymer, which means it is made of many similar molecules bonded together. PET is made of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules – no funny business there.
Since PET is made up of such simple ingredients it can be very easily and efficiently recycled. The strength and quality of virgin PET is equal to that of rPET. This is a huge deal since other textiles like cotton, linen and wool become weaker after recycling processes.
Sympatex Technologies, the manufacturers of the fabric, have taken advantage of the unique properties of PET and harnessed them into one amazing textile. After the bottles have been collected they are processed by crushing the bottles into small bits that are then reformed into yarn.
These recycled, or rPET, yarns use 94% less water than oil-based PET fibres. The production process uses 60% less energy and there is a 32% CO2 emissions reduction. These yarns are woven into the textiles that are 100% recycled and 100% waterproof. 5 individual PET plastic bottles provide enough fibre to make one square foot of carpet. One of our jackets uses 19 recycled bottles.
So, the biggest difference between PET and rPET is its impact on the environment. PET is our common, traditional polyester which is often made from oil obtained through irresponsible processes. Recycled Polyester, on the other hand, helps divert plastic from landfills. It also reduces our dependency on petroleum as a raw material and uses up less resources. Win – win!
From plastic bottle to raincoat to plastic bottle again. That's the life cycle we envision for our line of children's weatherwear, made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The idea behind Faire Child is to have a positive impact on the planet through fashion and to inspire environmental stewardship in the next generation.