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It’s said that every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. Most plastics are not biodegradable, they just keep breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, and along with more trash, they end up dumped into the ocean and swallowed by hundreds of animal species.
Plastic has got to go, but while some companies and people are beginning to cut down its use, it’s not disappearing any time soon. If we continue to use and dispose of it at the current rate, the ocean will have almost 400 million metric tons of plastic by 2050. I don’t know about you, but that terrifies us at IMJENNIUS, and we want to make a change.
That is where this recycling initiative comes in. While only a small portion of plastic is currently recycled, we as a fashion company do our best by transforming plastic waste into clothes and accessories. If it’s going to be around for hundreds of years anyway, why not wear it?
So, I decided to give this immortal waste a new life, by printing my designs in comfortable and stylish apparel, with the purpose of making the world a cleaner, more eco-friendly, and stylish place.
THE PROCESS OF RECYCLED POLYESTER YARN FROM A BOTTLE
Recycled polyester yarn manufacturing is very easy and economical which is encouraging fabric manufacturers. Sorting and grading plastic bottles are chops and grinds into small bits that melt and soften plastics passes through a number of tiny holes which results in thin filaments. These filaments are using nowadays into both the woven and knit industry to manufacture fabric.
I.Collection of plastic bottles
As generally plastic bottles are just used and thrown away which needs to be taken under a policy. By following Bring Schemes and/ or Deposit refunds schemes plastics bottle could collect. By bringing schemes known as kerbside collection results in low collection rates (overall 30 – 40% wastage) in the absence of public behavioral commitment. However, Deposit refund schemes impose a direct economic incentive to mass participation. Further “on the go” or “office” collection may increase the recycling rate.
According to the report by the World Economic Forum over 165 million tons of plastics contains in the ocean where about 8.8 million tons of bottles are throwing as garbage per year. This collection could use recycling as well
II.Sorting of plastic bottles according to grades
Sorting plastic bottles is very important. Most of the plastic bottles are marked with a number from “1 to 8” inside of the triangular symbol along with PET below on it according to the quality, grades, color etc. collected bottles are sorted and separated from other materials such as PVC, HDPE, Polypropylene, drink cartoons, glass etc are taken to recycling centers known as MRF ( Materials recovery facilities). Post-consumer PET is often sorted into different color fractions; transparent or uncolored PET blue and green color PET and remainder into a mixed colors fraction.
III.PET flakes production and washing
The sorted plastics are crushes, separate, and dry by shredding the material into small fragments that contain residues of the original content, shredded paper labels, and plastic caps. As a result, pure PET fragments or PET flakes are produced. It is used as a raw material for polyester fabric making. According to the report by Rosenberger, a fabric made from recycled polyester requires 80% less energy and 90% less water than virgin polyester that made directly from oil. In washing plants, flakes are washed. According to a report, only 2-3m3 water per ton of material is requisites to clean the flakes. However, “Dry cleaning” technologies are using to clean the surfaces through frictions without using water.
IV.Drying process of PET flakes
PET flakes are very sensitive to the hydrolytic situation during melting results in adverse mechanical properties; therefore, it requires a very low moisture level prior to extrusion. There are different drying processes of PET flakes are available after removing contaminations such as dehumidifying and infrared drying . Here moisture level is strictly maintained based on parts per million (ppm) contains on flakes to minimize hydrolysis.
V.Melt filtration and contaminants removal
Removal of contaminants from polymer melts is done during extrusion in the melt filtration process. A “screen changer” machine is used to separate contaminants mechanically from melt where contaminants are stored on stainless steel, called a “Breaker Plate”. A large hole of steel drill allows the flow of polymer melt smoothly and heated, reheated and re-melted if necessary further.
VI.Re-melted of flakes to convert yarn
VII.Quality of recycled yarn
The quality of the finished product depends on the grades of plastic bottles used and the processing of raw material. Newer technology applications during manufacturing would be a great innovation in a recycled bottle.
Flow chart of fabric manufacturing by using plastic bottles
CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND SUGGESTIONS FOR THE INDUSTRY
It is assumed that there are approximately 165 million tons of plastics in the ocean which could be more the weight of fisheries by 2050. As there requires only some extra arrangement as a regular process could be much more effective to the environment. Only mixing the concept of plastic bottle melt filtration and fiber formation is required. By recycling, we could make a wide range of polyester fabric and at the same time, we could make a safer world.