According to ABC News, up to 50% of clothing in Australia is made from polyester fabric because it is durable, cheap and dries quickly.
Dr. Shadia Moazzam – lead author of a study at RMIT University in Australia – said that 100% polyester T-shirts – unless it is petroleum-based it is thrown in the trash, harming the environment – contains carbon. emissions (CO ) occur2) approximately 20.56 kg.
Number of CO emissions2 Producing one finished shirt is equivalent to driving 140 km. Buying just 6 shirts causes CO emissions2 Equivalent to a journey of over 800 km.
Here’s the life cycle of a polyester T-shirt, from the time it was a fossil fuel to the shirt you wear now.
Crude oil will be turned into plastic
Polyester shirts are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable fossil fuel.
This petroleum then goes through an industrial production process that turns it into semi-crystalline plastic particles called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This is the material from which plastic bottles are made.
According to RMIT researchers, making PET resin for just one polyester T-shirt requires 7.6 kilowatt hours of energy and will emit 5.95 kilograms of CO2.2,
This makes PET manufacturing one of the most energy-intensive stages of the t-shirt life cycle.
To make polyester, PET granules are put through a machine with other agents including spinning oil, sodium hydrosulfite and acetic acid.
Some researchers describe this industrial process as akin to hot plastic flowing from a showerhead.
This spinning process uses a lot of energy. It takes 5.32kWh of energy to produce one T-shirt.
Not to mention other side effects on the environment, such as using water and chemicals in the fabric dyeing process.
Dyes used in textile production can pollute water sources by containing toxins and carcinogens, including chromium.
It is perhaps no surprise that the textile industry is considered one of the world’s biggest polluters.
plastic fabric for garment
CarbonFact, a technology company that helps track carbon emissions, says each country’s clothing environmental landscape produces different carbon emissions.
CarbonFact data records that polyester T-shirt products produced in Vietnam emit CO2 25% less than t-shirts made in India, China and Bangladesh. These are the world’s leading countries in the textile industry.
Plus according to CarbonFact data, your polyester T-shirt will emit CO emissions2 If it is sent from China to Australia then 120 times more.
The story is not over, as the next stage of the shirt’s life cycle will be the most environmentally destructive, when huge amounts of water and energy will be used to wash and dry it…
Researchers at RMIT have modeled this stage in the life cycle of a polyester T-shirt. He estimates that there are 50 washes per year. This will contribute to approximately 1/3 of the shirt’s total carbon emissions, equivalent to 6.25 kg of CO emissions.2,