Plastic Bottles into Polyester
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: United Kingdom
I have noticed that some clothes shops
now offer clothing made from polyester which has
come from recycled plastic bottles. What is the
process involved in turning plastic bottles into
Polyester bottles (polyester's correct name is Polyethylene
Terephthalate) have the advantage of being an easily recognized source
this material, that is pure and has no other plastics added that would
complicate attempts to recycle it.
The process to reuse the polyester is quite simple. The bottles are
chopped up into small pieces, then fed to an extruder where they are
heated to their melting point and "squirted" (like toothpaste from a
tube) into long spaghetti-like strands, that are then chopped into
short pellets and stored for later use. The recycled polyester is now
in exactly the same form as so-called "virgin" polyester purchased
from a plastic resin manufacturer, and therefore can be used to make
polyester fiber (or any other polyester plastic part) that "virgin"
polyester would be used to make.
To make clothing, the polyester pellets (whether brand new "virgin"
pellets, or those made from recycled bottles) are heated to their
melting point and forced under great pressure through tiny nozzles to
make many fine fibers. The fibers are then made woven into fabric, and
the fabric made into clothing in the usual manner.
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Update: June 2012