My beef with polyester.

Participating in #plasticfreejuly? Did you know polyester is plastic and that goes for most synthetic materials your clothes are made of? Pretty crazy, right? Plastic can come in untraditional forms and you may not even realize it. Polyester is now the #1 material used for garments and also the #1 least sustainable. That’s a problem.

 
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I’m hatin’ hard on polyester because its production requires roughly 2.5 billion gallons of oil every year and it’s the leading source of microplastic in the ocean, contributing 34.8% of the global total. It’s such a big contributor because the pollution doesn’t stop post production. Every time a polyester garment is washed it releases thousands of microfibers. Those microfibers make their way up the aquatic food chain to reach our seafood and eventually people. A side of plastic with your seafood dinner? #nothanks

Polyester, a synthetic petroleum-based fibre, is a product of the oil industry making it a double whammy. The oil and fashion industry are two of the most damaging industries and polyester has a connection to each of them. Though, my biggest beef with polyester is it doesn’t biodegrade. It’ll be hanging out in a landfill for 20–200 years. I don’t know about you but I find it a little ridiculous that my clothing might outlive me.

Lately everyone’s been buzzing to #banthestraw, but I think we need to go bigger. I’m definitely on board with it, any steps people are willing to take to reduce plastic consumption is a step in the right direction. I’m just saying, if you’ve ditched the straw, consider ridding your life of polyester too. Giving up straws for most of us is only a small change — it’s important to recognize that to people with disabilities it is not. For those able to go without straws it is a low impact change and that is why I believe so many people are rallying behind it. Asking someone to change the way they shop and potentially their personal style, that’s a much bigger ask. Nonetheless, I challenge you to check your labels and reconsider when purchasing new polyester clothing. If it continues to sell and be in demand, brands will keep using it. Use your power as a consumer to show you want more sustainable and natural alternatives.

Don’t get down about all of this. Here’s what you can do:

Don’t run to your closet and get rid of all your polyester. 65% of clothing made is now polyester and if your closet aligns with that statistic you’ll be losing more than half your wardrobe. Instead wash your poly garments sparingly, only when they really need it. When you do wash consider using a microfiber filter washing bag such as GUPPYFRIEND from Patagonia or find another option here.

When purchasing clothes in the future, look for more eco-friendly fabrics like linen. Linen is a rockstar and it doesn’t have any of polyester’s baggage. It only takes 8% of the energy of polyester production and it’s biodegradable. Not only will it keep you cool, it will get better with age and be a garment you’ll want to hang on to. Other better alternatives to polyester include tencel, bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton.

— Happy shopping