Polyester and other synthetic fabrics are cheap and versatile materials that the fast fashion industry loves to use to keep prices down. Labelled fashion’s “dirtiest” fabric, polyester is one of the most common materials in our closets, and has received a ton of negative press from sustainability experts for its environmental impact.
Polyester is made from petrochemicals aka plastic. You are basically wearing plastic! It is a synthetic, petroleum-based fibre which is made using carbon-intensive processes from non-renewable resources. The making and disposing of polyester has a massive environmental cost. The fabric takes a lot of energy to produce and releases toxic chemicals into our environment.
Synthetic textiles are the biggest source of microplastic pollution in our oceans. The dyes used in polyester are harmful to humans; it also traps sweat and other bodily toxins onto the skin and can cause irritation, so it’s not good for humid climates.
Polyester production doesn’t require as much water as cotton or other fibers, but the residue from chemical dyes pollute large water streams, killing fish, wildlife, and poisoning individuals who depend on rural water sources in developing countries.
Recycled polyester is not a sustainable alternative for us. During the recycling process micro plastic is released which results in even more plastic in landfills and our oceans. Moreover, it’s still plastic, with all of the characteristics described above.