The question of is polyester eco-friendly comes up in conversations about environmentally-friendly fabrics.

A feature image for a blog post about whether polyester is eco-friendly.

The short answer is that it is not because it is a petroleum-based material and it doesn’t biodegrade. It adds to the waste and pollution problems plaguing the planet, and there’s a lot of it around.

What Is Polyester?

According to Contrado, polyester is a term assigned to any fabric or textile, which is made using polyester yarns or fibers.

It is, in fact, a shortened name for a synthetic, man-made polymer, which is in the long form known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Polyester is made by creating a combination of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.

In a nutshell, leaving the scientific terms aside, polyester is really a kind of plastic. And that in itself is enough reason to kick it off the eco-friendly list. Our planet is already drowning under a sea of plastic waste.

Why Is Polyester Bad for the Environment?

According to Ecocult, there are several reasons why polyester is not an eco-friendly fabric:

  • It encourages fashion overproduction and waste. It’s so easy to produce.
  • It is produced from fossil fuels.
  • It is unable to be recycled yet. Or, at least on a large enough scale to justify using it so much.
  • It is not biodegradable and may shed toxic microfibers, depending on the textile used.

These are quite enough reasons to add polyester to any list of textiles that are not going to support the health of our planet.

And, it’s especially true when you look at the current state of environmental crises we are in. We live in a time when we must make conscious decisions about what we purchase and support.

How Can You Dispose of Polyester?

Polyester is a popular fabric and it’s no wonder about that. It’s a durable material that washes well and lasts a long time.

It’s also a fabric that can be blended with other fibers and a great variety of fabrics can be produced for various purposes.

It is a good material for heat retention in cold weather, but not so much for warmer weather and activities that cause perspiration because it isn’t breathable.

All that said, there’s a lot of it out there in peoples’ closets. So, the question is, what to do with it if you want to use eco-friendlier fabrics?

If you have polyester clothes or other items in your home, the best thing to do is to wear them out and don’t just discard and replace them. That would create a lot of trash unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, when you are finished with your polyester items, there are limited options for disposing of them. Which is another reason this fabric is not eco-friendly and why it’s just as well to wear them out.

If the clothing items are still in good shape, you can donate them to a charity or thrift shop so they get a longer life span.

However, if you’re thinking about recycling them, keep in mind that there are pros and cons to recycling polyester. And, in some regions, you’ll be told to put anything polyester in your trash bin.

When it comes down to it, we all need to take a moment to be eco-conscious when we choose clothing or other items made from fabrics.

Creating and maintaining a minimalist wardrobe that includes eco-friendly fabrics might be a good idea if we want our fashion choices to reflect our desire to care for the world we live in.

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