Used Shirts That Aren’t Second-Hand

by Matt DeLaere, Marketing

Several states, including my home state of Michigan, have bottle deposits. When you buy a frosty, delicious Mountain Dew, you pay an extra 10 cents (5 cents in some states), and get that money back upon returning the bottle to the store. Some people (including me, at times) make a living off of these deposits.  They’re an extra little economic incentive to recycle. But once you’ve collected a couple hundred bottles, how will you spend the money? Some enterprising companies have come up with a product that lets you spend the money you get from recycling plastic on… recycled plastic.

Rethink® Fabrics, of Seattle, WA, for example, produces polyester shirts and bags made from recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are cleaned, melted, and spun into yarn, from which these revolutionary, eco-friendly shirts are made. Each product even has a bottle count, showing exactly how many plastic bottles were used in its production. Their 100% ring spun T-shirt, for example, sports a count of 16 bottles for men’s sizes, 14 for women’s.

These recycled polyester products are gaining in popularity, thanks to graphic T-shirts from retailers like Brooklyn Industries®.  Items have also been produced for corporations such as Danish sportswear company Hummel®, Evian®, and even Mountain Dew®, meaning you can drink Dew then recycle the bottle, all while wearing bottles of Dew. It’s like the soda pop circle of life.

Outdoor clothing company Patagonia® has been selling products made from recycled plastic since 1993. Their product line includes fleece, shorts, base layers, and jackets made from recycled plastic bottles. They’ve even begun recycling unusable garments and low-quality fabrics into polyester for their clothing.

Everybody knows about recycling aluminum, plastic, paper, and other household items, but clothing made from recycled items shows how far the technology has come, as well as what the future holds. So, whether you’re environmentally conscious or just think it’s cool to wear water bottles, there’s a T-shirt (and more) for you.

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