Over the past few decades, recycling and sustainability messaging have shifted drastically with over-consumption of goods and rampant use of plastic slowly choking our planet. Did you know that back in our grandparent’s generation, items such as milk, soda, and beer came in glass bottles? When they were done with the bottles, they were returned to the store which was then sterilised and refilled.
These days, on average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year. Only 12% of that’s recycled. More frightening still, up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean. Once in the ocean, it endangers our marine wildlife.
We’ve decided to take a stand and create beach towels from recycled single-use plastic that would make Mother Nature grin from ear to ear. The Double-Sized beach towels we create are made from 40 recycled plastic bottles. They are sand-free, anti-microbial, ultra-absorbent, rapid-drying, and gives you extra wiggle room without the added bulk.
Producing the yarn from recycled plastic products means we do not need to use precious hydrocarbons to make the polyester material. Reducing energy consumption for manufacturing by 66%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 34%, and reducing water consumption by nearly 50%.
Unlike virgin polyester, recycled polyester uses PET as the raw material. This is the same material that is used in clear plastic water bottles, and recycling it to create the fabric prevents it from going to landfill.
In a nutshell, there are seven main stages in the production process and it goes something like this.
- The recycled plastic bottles are sterilised, dried, and crushed into small chips (not the kind you can eat).
- The chips are heated and passed through a spinner to form strings of yarn.
- This yarn is wound up in spools, kind of like your nan’s sewing thread reels.
- The fiber is then passed through a crimping machine to create a fluffy texture.
- This yarn is then woven into the material that is anti-microbial, sand free, absorbent, and rapid drying.
- Our exclusive artwork is finally printed onto the beach towels. Digital printing positively impacts the environment by reducing waste and harmful by-products that are prevalent in traditional printing methods.
HOW IS RECYCLED POLYESTER BETTER THAN VIRGIN POLYESTER?
This process of converting PET into recycled polyester requires much less energy than in the case of normal polyester, it takes 33-53% less energy. There are two main advantages to this process:
- Using more recycled polyester reduces our dependence on petroleum as the raw material for our fabric needs.
- Diverting PET bottles for this process reduces landfill, and thus less soil contamination, air, and water pollution.
Another benefit is that the beach towels created from recycled polyester can be recycled again and again with no degradation of quality, allowing us to minimise wastage. This means towel manufacture could potentially become a closed-loop system, polyester could forever be reused and recycled.
Plastic pollution is a ferocious beast to our delicate environment and marine life. But when it’s recycled into good strong fabrics, it can give single-use plastics a second life. Bower Sands makes fun, functional beach towels that are made from recycled plastic bottles and if that sounds up your alley, stop by our online store and dive straight in.