Recycled polyester, also known as RPET, is made from recycled plastic bottles. Conventional polyester is the most used fibre in fashion with a market share of 55%, and the process of making polyester requires huge quantities of water, chemicals and fossil fuels – many of these chemicals are released into groundwater. As with plastic, polyester is made from coal and petroleum and, once it is made, it sticks around forever. Most unwanted polyester products end up either as landfill or in the sea.
A much more environmentally friendly approach is to reuse the plastic and polyester already in circulation. This is a mainly mechanical process, and according to the organisation Waste2Wear it requires only 30% of the energy that conventional polyester production uses.
The chiffon fabric used in the VILDNIS collection is made from recycled Coca-Cola plastic bottles. The bottles are broken down and melted, then spun into fine silky soft polyester fibres.
Of course, there is still the issue with synthetic fibres shedding micro-plastic particles during machine washing cycles; particles that ultimately may end up in the ocean. This includes fibres from recycled polyester. While we acknowledge that this is a challenge, we still believe that reusing plastic/polyester fibres in beautiful long-lasting garments is better than sending them to landfill.
At present, most washing machine manufacturers are looking into improving the filters on the machines to prevent the micro-plastic particles from reaching the oceans, and there are already washing machines on the market with such filters.
Another great invention is the Gubby Friend wash bag, developed by a group of surfers and nature lovers. Designed to limit fibre shedding during washing and to contain the loose fibres, it is much more affordable (and more sustainable!) than buying a new washing machine and easily fits an entire machine load into the bag.
Certification: GRS (Global Recycled Standard)
Fibre ranking class: A (mechanically recycled) or B (chemically recycled)
Properties: durable, quick-drying, retains shape, lasting colour vibrancy