How companies can source polyester more sustainably

Updated : October 2020


  • Sourcing professionals
  • Synthetic fiber professionals
  • Testing and standards professionals
Polyester is the most widely used fiber in the world, accounting for roughly half of the fiber market overall and about 80 percent of all synthetic fibers. Virgin polyester is made from a non-renewable resource (oil) using an energy-intensive process and is not biodegradable. The article provides recommendations on polyester sourcing strategies for brands. The article expresses that leading brands invest in research and development and help suppliers bring new materials to the market. Many bio-based alternatives are still in early development, and several brands leading the charge in this area engage with pre-collaborative initiatives. Brands can also look to close the loop and use old textiles as input for new ones. Brands manufacturing garments made from post-consumer recycled bottles should aim to be continuously recycled with no degradation of quality and companies should look to create and collaborate on post-consumer collection solutions. The article asserts that brands can use powerful storytelling to get people excited about recycled polyester and tackle misconceptions around the quality of recycled materials. An example of this is when Adidas initiated a unique partnership with environmental organization Parley for the Oceans to produce shoes containing plastic waste intercepted at coastal areas. To help brands in this regard, several standards track recycled polyesters through the supply chain, including the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS), Global Recycled Standard (GRS), and SCS Recycled Content Certification.

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