The Pros and Cons of RPET in Organic Clothing Brands

Dec 08, 2020

Organic clothing brands are gaining in popularity as more people become aware of the benefits associated with wearing them. One of the most noticeable pros of organic clothing is the lack of recycled polyethylene tetraphyte in clothes made from organic cotton.

Here at Relax Into The Chaos, we mostly only use 100% organic cotton for our Signature Series T-shirts, a mix of organic cotton and organic viscose bamboo for our Elite Series T-shirts, and water based dyes in our printing process.

What is Recycled Polyethylene Tetraphyte?

Many of you may be asking, “What exactly is recycled polyethylene tetraphyte?”. Also known as RPET, recycled polyethylene tetraphyte is tiny flakes of plastic (usually from plastic drinking bottles) that have been chopped into small pieces during the recycling process. The flakes are then melted to separate the core polyethylene tetraphyte (PET) ingredient from the plastic. The PET can then be used to make anything from a T-shirt to another plastic bottle.

Many of the clothes in your wardrobe are likely made from PET — although when discussing clothes, PET is simply called polyester. Because PET is such a durable compound, some estimates suggest it can take as many as 700 years to break down in the soil if it is buried in a landfill. In some areas of the world, there are mountains of buried PET plastic, some the size of small cities.

A recent story in Consumer Reports Magazine details that small pieces of plastics known as microplastics are almost impossible for humans to avoid. We see microplastics everywhere — in our food and water, in our clothes, and even in some organic clothing brands. This same article suggests that we might ingest up to a “credit card’s” worth of plastic weekly.

Over time, plastic eventually breaks down. It takes hundreds of years for most plastics to disappear, but small pieces and fragments will break apart and spread into parts of our ecosystem. Opening plastic wrap or cracking open a bottle can leave small bits of microplastic lying around for us to inhale or ingest. Microplastics can even wash off of PET clothing brands and into our water supply.

When PET is first created, instead of letting it mold to the shape of a container the liquid is passed through a spinneret (almost like a shower head) producing long strands of PET. Tie enough of the strands together and you have a highly durable, inexpensive, lightweight fabric. From designer clothes to bedding, and pillows to sports gear, the entire textile industry relies on polyester as the world’s most popular man-made fiber.

More must still be done!

While the last 10 years have seen drastic improvements in PET recycling, much more must still be done.

There are many areas in the world where organic clothing brands aren’t being used, and its overall effect on the earth is negative. With clothes made out of polyester, you’ll have harmful dyes and durable plastics that end up in landfills. We can all make a conscious choice to buy organic, and go against the “fast fashion” trends we see advertised today.

Relax Into The Chaos is committed to producing organic clothes that avoid PET and RPET products. Over time, we can make a change in our ecosystem and our world. For more information on our organic clothing brands or about how we make our products, visit us online or reach us by phone at 203-903-2200.

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