In October 2018, we traveled to Taiwan to retrace every step in the snow jacket manufacturing process, from recycling plastic bottles to making the finished product.
Episode #2: Transforming plastic bottles into polyester thread.
It takes several steps to transform the flakes created from recycled plastic bottles into a synthetic thread.
1/ The flakes are melted into a liquid.
2/ This liquid is then cooled until it returns to a solid state.
3/ The solidified liquid forms stalactite-like shapes that are cut into small uniform squares to make chips.
4/ The chips are then melted into molten plastic.
5/ The synthetic thread is formed by pushing the molten plastic through very tiny holes.
Another machine neatly rolls the thread onto spools that are stored until the weaving process begins.
In spite of the energy required to melt the flakes, cool the liquid, and then melt the substance a second time, the environmental impact is significantly less than when crude oil is extracted for the same purpose (creating a polyester thread).
According to a recent study conducted by ADEME (the environmental agency in France responsible for energy efficiency) in 2018 entitled “ Modeling and evaluating the carbon footprint of consumer products and equipment ”, recycling plastic bottles to make polyester has a 40% less impact than crude oil extraction.
Using thread from recycled plastic bottles represents a genuine step forward for the environment, allowing us to extricate ourselves from an industry linked to fossil fuel depletion, to provide genuine value to waste, and to reduce our carbon footprint.
Next stop in episode 3: weaving