It’s true that there are benefits of buying polyester clothing. You can find many T-shirts, leggings, and even bedding made out of these synthetic fibers because they are affordable, and they don't wear down as quickly as natural fibers do. That sounds like a win-win for consumers!
But it’s not a win for the environment. Polyester clothing is contributing to the destruction of our planet.
It uses up vital resources during production
The resources on our planet are finite, even if we have treated them as infinite. It is important to conserve energy where we can, when we can, and the process of producing clothing is one place where we can have a huge impact.
The good news is that polyester uses less resources than some other synthetic fabrics. The bad news is that the process of making polyester still uses up plenty of resources that natural fibers don’t require.
The creation of polyester fabrics must be done from scratch, which means it uses plenty of electricity. The process uses a whopping 70 barrels of oil each year! That’s a lot of pollution in the air in the name of fashion.
It pollutes our water in more ways than one
Polyester causes the most damage to our waterways. It’s true that it uses less water during production than many other materials, including natural fibers, but its lasting impact is much greater. Polyester requires chemical dyes to color instead of natural dyes. Not to mention, the chemicals that are used to make the material itself. All those dyes and chemicals have to go somewhere, and that somewhere ends up being our water supply.
That’s not even the biggest impact polyester fabric has on our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Microplastics are getting a lot of attention because they are so pervasive. Microfibers make up 85-percent of human-made debris on shorelines, and microplastics are almost always found in the intestinal tracts of marine wildlife. Not only is it poisoning our water supply, microplastics are poisoning our food supply.
That’s not even the scariest part. Microplastics don’t decompose. They simply build up in the environment, causing more and more damage as the years pass.
Polyester is made of microplastics. Every time you wash this synthetic fabric, miniscule plastic fibers are being washed away and they pass through your local wastewater treatment plant, straight into the environment.
Eco-friendly fashion to the rescue
So, what’s a fashionista to do? Going without polyester doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style! There are many eco-friendly fashion options that use natural fibers instead. They include cotton, bamboo, hemp, peace silk, rayon and linen.
The fibers in these kinds of fabrics are biodegradable, so they won’t persist in the environment, even if they get washed into the water supply. They use less natural resources, and they don’t require chemicals and toxins to produce. Natural fiber clothing may cost more than synthetic fibers upfront, but you’ll help save in the long run when it comes to the health of our planet.