Recycled Polyester within the context of Fibre Fragmentation

When tested using The Microfibre Consortium Test Method, an industry adopted standard for the quantification of fibre loss from fabrics during simulated laundering, mechanically recycled polyester was found to have no detrimental effect on fibre fragmenta

Saal C
Mittwoch, 13.09.2023, 13:55 - 14:20 Uhr
Kelly Sheridan, Microfibreconsortium, Bristol (GBR)

Microfibres are now recognised as environmental pollutants, and microfibre loss from textiles is acknowledged as an important issue within the textile industry.  The increase in the use of recycled polyester (rPET) as part of the 112 million tonne textile business has been steadily growing since 1993 and now represents 54% of global fibre production in response to the growing sustainability needs within the clothing sector.
When the industry adopts new materials it is vital to consider their impacts holistically and ensure they are not causing unintended, invisible consequences somewhere else. The aim of this work was to determine the effect of recycled fibres on fibre fragmentation in textile products.
The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) convened 36 global brands and retailers to measure fibre fragmentation in their fabrics. The TMC Test Method, an industry standard, was used to measure fibre fragmentation from 251 polyester fabrics. Virgin polyester and recycled polyester were found to, on average, fragment 0.48 g/kg and 0.50 g/kg respectively, with no statistically significant difference found between the two.
On the basis of fibre fragmentation alone, this research provides no empirical evidence replacing virgin polyester fibres with recycled polyester increases microfibre pollution. However, nor does it help to stem microfibre loss from textiles and more must be done to prevent synthetic microfibres from entering the environment at their root cause.