Your Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly Polyester Fabric

By Rebekah Carter|Posted on 17 April 2023
 Your Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly Polyester Fabric

Eco-friendly polyester fabric is taking the world by storm. Offering all of the durability and comfort of traditional polyester, this convenient and versatile material gives fashion retailers an excellent way to produce clothing, without harming the environment.

Leveraging recycled components to reduce environmental waste, eco-friendly polyester is sustainable fabric, earth-friendly, and suitable for creating all kinds of garments. In recent years, demand for these phenomenal materials has accelerated, as countless fashion and clothing retailers look for new ways to reduce their environmental impact.

After all, the fashion industry currently accounts for around 10% of the world’s global carbon dioxide output, and is responsible for significant amounts of waste and water consumption. With eco polyester, brands can not only reduce their footprint, but appeal to the 67% of consumers who value sustainability when choosing which fashion companies to buy from.

Even better? Eco friendly polyester doesn’t cost a fortune to produce and customize, thanks to convenient services from companies like NovaTomato.

What Is Eco Polyester Fabric?

Let’s start with the basics, what is eco polyester fabric? Most people are familiar with polyester as one of the world’s most versatile materials. Durable and lightweight, polyester is used in the creation of everything from t-shirts and sweaters to home furnishings and cushions.

Unfortunately, traditional polyester requires significant resources to produce. It involves the creation of synthetic fibers, which uses a significant amount of water, resources, and energy, all of which can negatively impact the planet. Eco polyester fabric, sometimes referred to as recycled polyester or rPET, is a fabric made from plastic bottles and other plastic waste.

Compared to traditional polyester, this eco-friendly alternative has a much lower environmental impact. It reduces the amount of plastic waste that often ends up in oceans and landfills, and requires significantly less energy and resources to produce. Compared to virgin polyester, which is created using non-renewable fossil fuels such as petroleum, eco-friendly polyester can significantly reduce a clothing or garment brand’s carbon footprint.

Essentially, eco polyester fabric delivers all of the benefits of standard polyester, from durability and versatility, with fewer negative results for the planet. It’s a win-win!

What Are the Characteristics of the Eco-Friendly Polyester?

Eco-friendly polyester is typically made from recycled plastic waste, which is cleaned, melted down, and reformed into brand-new, ultra-soft fibers. It’s an eco-friendly, durable, and versatile material, featuring excellent moisture-wicking capabilities, and fantastic comfort.

Eco polyester:

  • Reduces the consumption of crucial resources: Eco-friendly polyester reduces the need to use non-renewable resources for the creation of virgin polyester fibers. It also requires less water, and energy to create overall, compared to traditional polyester.
  • Minimizes waste: Because eco polyester is made from recycled products like plastic bottles, it reduces the number of non-degradable materials that end up in landfills and oceans. In other words, eco polyester helps to keep our cities and countries clean. Plus, since multiple types of plastic can be used to create eco polyester, there are fewer wasted resources overall.
  • Lessens the harmful consequences of plastic: While plastics are useful in the modern world, large amounts can have serious environmental consequences, particularly when they’re allowed to build up in landfills. Eco-friendly polyester reduces the impact plastics have on our wildlife, resources, and environments.
  • Cut down on harmful emissions: By reducing the consumption of petroleum and minimizing the need for harmful non-degradable chemicals in the production of virgin polyester, eco polyesters are less harmful to the planet than traditional alternatives. They can reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, and help to protect the ozone.
  • Uses fewer chemicals: Creating eco-friendly polyester fiber and fabric requires fewer dangerous chemicals than the traditional polyester production process. Fewer chemicals means there’s less chance of dangerous substances leaking into the environment when eco polyester products are thrown away or recycled.

What Is Eco-Friendly Polyester Made Of?

Eco-friendly polyesters are made primarily using recycled waste plastic. Think of all the water bottles and similar items you throw away every day. Rather than allowing these to build up in landfills, eco-friendly production companies use those plastics, as well as old garments and industrial polyester waste, to create brand-new products.

After plastic waste is collected, such as plastic bags, soda bottles, and milk jugs, manufacturers use various methodologies to convert the plastic components into flexible fibers. Materials are carefully cleaned and shredded into small pieces, which are then melted down and extracted in the form of long filaments. These filaments are then spun into yarn, which can be woven or knit into new pieces of clothing, accessories, and even furniture items.

Traditional polyester and eco-friendly polyester are extremely similar in texture and performance, because they both include the same fundamental ingredient: polyethylene terephthalate (PET). However, instead of using virgin, petroleum-based PET, which consumes crucial resources, eco-friendly polyester uses recycled components, reducing waste levels around the world.

How Does Eco Polyester Feel?

One of the most common questions any consumer or business will ask when considering eco-friendly and sustainable polyester fabric options is: how does it feel? For the most part, the answer is simple. There’s very little difference between the texture and performance of traditional polyester, and polyester created through sustainable recycling practices.

Just like standard virgin polyester, eco-friendly polyester has a lightweight and smooth feel, that can occasionally appear to have a slight sheen. Of course, the texture and feel of the fabric can also vary depending on how a garment or product is created. There are various ways to weave or knit polyester fibers into different materials for the fashion and textiles landscape.

Some eco polyester fabrics can even feel a little softer than traditional alternatives, thanks to advances in the technology of the textile industry. Some options can even be treated with specific finishes that improve their overall softness.

There are multiple varieties of eco-friendly polyester to choose from too. Manufacturers can create athlete-friendly products that come with fantastic sweat wicking properties. There’s also the opportunity to create fabrics with a satin or silk-like feel. You can even experiment with thicker weaves for cushions, tote bags, towels, and similar items.

The options are practically endless, making eco-friendly polyester one of the most valuable and versatile products in the textile industry.

What Are the Uses of Eco Polyester Fabric?

As mentioned above, one of the things that makes any polyester fabric such a great option for textile companies, is its versatility. Fortunately, eco polyester is just as versatile as its traditional alternative. In fact, because of the way plastic fibers are recreated from recycled products, eco-friendly polyesters may have even more use cases than their virgin alternative.

Today, eco-friendly polyester fabrics are used in virtually every industry connected with the textile landscape. In the clothing and fashion industry, these fabrics are used to make a range of garments, from sleek and stylish dresses, to cozy hoodies and durable t-shirts.

Eco polyester is also a great material for the creation of accessories like hats, wallets, and backpacks, since it’s so lightweight, strong, and easy to clean. It’s also regularly used in the home décor landscape, for the creation of curtains, bedding, throw pillows, and even furniture upholstery.

Eco polyester is also one of the primary raw materials used in many industries, from the automotive landscape (for interior furnishings), to the food packaging sector, and construction landscape. It can be reshaped and formed to offer a number of different properties, making it suitable for the creation of everything from kitchen containers, to sheets, sporting items, wrapping materials, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Eco Polyester

Eco polyester is one of the most exciting and valuable fabrics in the textile industry to date. Offering all the versatility and durability companies need, with none of the problematic side effects for the environment, this sensational material is transforming the way we make products. It’s even one of the core materials we use here at NovaTomato.

If you want to learn more about our eco-friendly production processes, reach out to our team for insights into how we can help you create more sustainable, custom products.

Still have questions about eco-friendly polyester? Let’s see if we can answer a few:

Do Eco Polyesters Contain Plastic?

Eco polyesters, just like virgin polyester materials, are made from a type of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate. Although eco-friendly and sustainable polyesters are usually made from recycled plastic bottles and other components, they won’t feel like plastic against your skin.

Is Polyester More Eco-Friendly Than Cotton?

It’s difficult to say for certain. Most people assume that materials produced using organic materials like cotton and silk are more environmentally friendly than synthetic alternatives like polyester. However, there’s a lot of waste and manpower involved in cultivating organic fibers. In most cases, eco-friendly polyesters can have a better impact on the planet than cotton, and generally waste a lot less of our most valuable resource: cotton.

Is Eco Polyester Biodegradable?

No, one of the things that makes eco polyester so valuable is its durability. It doesn’t simply break down over time. However, that doesn’t mean it has to contribute to overwhelming landfills either. Eco-friendly polyesters can be recycled into new garments too.