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Recycling or greening fashion?

Today recycling in fashion is not a debate. It's an evidence.

In France alone, 600,000 tons of clothing are put on the market and unfortunately only 10% of these clothes will end up being recycled at the end of their life, either by reusing them as they are or by reworking the fibers to create new materials that will therefore have a second life.

So why develop new materials when we could potentially reuse the existing (unsold or waste) to create new clothes or accessories?

To answer this question, we need to analyze the impact of recycling very popular materials. Take polyester for example. Polyester accounts for nearly half of the fibers used in the textile industry. This synthetic material of petroleum origin is based on plastic. It is harmful for the eco-systems and the environment in general.

Recycling polyester increases the life of these plastics and prevents them from ending up directly in the oceans. It is a material that requires less energy. (ref Fashion United) In short, it's a great ecological advance!

Even so, the recycling system has its limitations. Recycled polyester releases micro-particles of plastic every time it is put through the machine. And these micro-particles end up in the oceans. In April, microplastics were even detected in the Pyrenees, transported by the wind and rain (Source CNRS)

Moreover, the recycling of a material is not infinite. The recycled fiber wears out, must be combined with virgin material until it is no longer usable.

"Should we take into account the first life of a recycled product?"

Similarly, there is a question that can be asked when calculating the environmental impact of a recycled product: should we count the first life of this one? It may be recycled, but it is first and foremost synthetic material that has been manufactured with petroleum.

Of course, we must continue to recycle given the mass of existing products, but the challenge is also to find alternatives to polluting materials such as polyester or leather and to manufacture less of them. And there the development of new plant materials such as corn or pineapple fiber has its place. So should we recycle or green fashion?

Both, my captain!

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