More than 90% of all sportswear is made from polyester or another form of plastic fabric. A big problem with these fabrics, which we can’t emphasize enough, are microplastics. These are tiny pieces of plastic that get released every time you wash your plastic clothing. Click here to learn more about microplastics.
Recycling is buzzing. From old tires to airplanes, we are getting better and better with recycling stuff and that’s absolutely awesome. Recycling means that we will need fewer virgin resources to create the same products and have less waste as a result of that.
We are not a big fan of plastic clothing at Iron Roots, but one thing that can’t be overlooked is the recyclability of certain plastics. Wonderful projects like The Ocean Cleanup create the opportunity to turn plastic waste into great new products. However, we believe that this opportunity should not be wasted by creating clothing out recycled plastics. This will only create more plastic pollution due to the release of microplastics. Let’s recycle it for more durable stuff that doesn’t shed microplastics such as tables, chairs, medical equipment etc.
It’s important to emphasize the difference between 'hard' and 'soft' plastic, as we like to call it.
Hard plastic can be great for the applications mentioned above. These hard plastics are also needed for certain products to achieve a certain level of quality, and we don't think there is anything wrong with that. One exception to this are the so called 'single use plastics' like plastic cups and straws. These are hardly ever a good option.
On the other side, you got soft plastic. These are plastics that release microplastics. Examples are fabrics like polyester and nylon. Soft plastic should in our opinion be avoided. So while we think that hard plastic has its applications, we will not use fabrics that are going to shed microplastics. We will always look for alternatives that we can use in our products. One of our favorite alternatives is hemp. We use hemp in our hoodies and joggers, which emits about 60% less CO2 than polyester would.