• Question: How are jumpers and hoodies made from empty coke bottles?

    Asked by shivani to Joanne, Martin, Paige on 22 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Paige Brown

      Paige Brown answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      Hey shivani!!!

      The coke bottles can be turned into polyester fibers used to make T-shirts, jumpers and hoodies! The polymer that makes up these polyester fibers is called PET. “If PET is not extruded into the fibers used to make clothing, it can be formed into the plastic commonly used for soda bottles.” This website explains more! http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Polyester-Fleece.html#b

      There is some debate, however, on how MUCH of the soda bottle is really recycled to make the clothing… http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/greenwash-watch-drink-2-wear-t-shirts-from-coke-bottles.html.

    • Photo: Martin Wallace

      Martin Wallace answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      Hmm, something which I don’t think any of us are an expert in, but I’ll give it a go:

      A lot of clothes today are made from synthetic materials, that could be nylon, or some form of polyester. These are synthetic polymers, of which there are many different types, but could be described as various different types of plastic.
      The plastic that coke bottles, and many other different types of products, are made of, is a type of polymer that can be processed to form long thin strands (don’t ask me how, it ‘s quite complicated). These strands can then be used just like thread to create new fabric, which can then be turned into clothing – such as hoodies and jumpers.

      There are lots of processes involved with recycling, and am happy for anybody to comment below on the details of how it happens – basically, anything can be recycled and turned into something else, provided you know how to use it.