Jul 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:51 AM EDT

Recycling in Style

Mar 14, 2019 10:27 AM EDT

T-shirt made Recycle
(Photo : LBC)
LBC Canyon
(Photo : LBC Canyon)

Have you ever wished there was something you could do to help minimize plastic waste? Well, now there is. Plastic waste is probably the biggest threat facing our planet today. Sadly, recycling bins, recycling drives and various other methods to encourage people to recycle, are just not enough. With nearly one million plastic bottles bought every minute worldwide, plastic waste is at an astronomical high. More than 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are just the ones found and approximately 1 million sea birds also die from discarded plastics. Thankfully, some caring and very resourceful companies are finding new ways to help Mother Earth. Last Bottle Clothing is a company that has devised a way to create t-shirts from discarded plastic bottles. It is an incredible concept and the science behind the process is amazing. Let's explore the science in turning seemingly unusable plastic waste into usable fabric for clothing.

First, the discarded plastic bottles are diverted from the waste stream. This can be accomplished through various methods. The most efficient being to simply collect and donate your used plastic bottles. The next step in the process is to wash and then sort the bottles by color. After that, the bottles are grinded up until only small plastic pellets remain. The pellets are then melted down into long strands. These long, thin strands are then chopped into very small lengths, creating a large, fluffy ball of fiber. Afterward, a knitter, a device used to create knitted fabrics in a semi or fully automated fashion, then takes spools of the yarn and knits them into rolls of fabric. The resulting fabric is then dyed and washed. The last stage is to cut the t-shirt pattern from the fabric and sew the shirts together. A fairly simple process with an enormous positive effect on the environment. An astonishing fact about the Last Bottle process is that it takes over five hundred times less water to create a single shirt, compared to the traditional way of manufacturing t-shirts. Plus, the shirts themselves are one hundred percent recyclable.

Big brand companies such as The North Face, Nike, and Adidas are now actively producing recycled plastic clothing. We are still a long way from solving our plastic waste problem, but we are definitely moving in the right direction with these t-shirts from recycling plastic. 

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