Monday, April 6, 2009

Environmentally-Friendly Fabric From Soda Bottles

Images courtesy of Teijin

The US arm of Teijin Fibers Limited has joined with Sears and the maker of the retailer’s private label apparel to fashion a men’s business suit line made of their Eco-A-Wear fabric.

What is Eco-A-Wear? It’s a fabric made from a blend of wool and polyester fibers that are harvested from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. PET is one of the most common consumer plastics used. Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and edible oils are all examples of products that are packaged in PET.

Due to the fabric composition of the suit, it is fully machine washable and dryable – a huge benefit for the vast majority of consumers. Another benefit to the vast majority of consumers is the price - $175 for a jacket and $75 for pants. The fabric is 54% recycled polyester (PET), 42% wool and 4% spandex. This fabric can be blended with other fibres such as cotton, viscose; or, even, 100% PET.

They are to be sold as separates under the Sears’ Covington Perfect brand. Covington Perfect is manufactured by the Israeli firm Bagir Group Ltd. with the line expected to hit the racks in May. Unfortunately, this particular launch will be in the US only. However, I’m sure that if the line is as successful as I expect it will be, it won’t be long before that or other similar fabrics are available everywhere.

Mini-quiz: How many PET bottles does it take to make one suit?
Answer: 25 2-litre bottles.

Japan’s Teijin Group (est. 1918), a multinational corporation with 160 firms under its umbrella, claims N.I. Teijin Shoji Inc. as one of its own and has a long history in chemical manufacturing. The company is now a leading manufacturer of synthetic fibres.

Eco-A-Wear is being marketed as an environmentally-friendly fabric to business professionals who are always interested in a “new generation of green fashion”.

The company provides this simplified diagram to demonstrate how the manufacturing process does not rely on petroleum. It illustrates how the recycled polyester fibre Teijin calls Ecopet is manufactured and then spun with wool to create the Eco-A-Wear fabric.

Teijin first made big news when they partnered with the eco-friendly clothing giant Patagonia to launch the Common Threads Recycling Program in 2005. It is the goal of Patagonia to eventually have a catalogue of goods that are 100% recyclable. Way to go, Patagonia!!

Common Threads uses old worn-out garments as the raw material for new garments. It is called garment-to-garment recycling because no new material is used – just the usable material from old garments. It was discovered during their first recycling efforts that when old materials were used as the raw material for new garments 76% less energy was used and 42% less carbon dioxide was released. Significant savings, indeed!

The promoters of Eco-A-Wear fabric say it wears well, drapes nicely, is easy to care for, wears comfortably and breathes. They say this fabric is not to be confused with the polyester suits of the 1970’s. This fabric has been two years in the making and is light years away from the “disco” polyester suits we still make jokes about over 30 years later.

1 comment:

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