Recycled Polyester - Atlantis Headwear
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From plastic to fabric
What is it?

Polyester is an important fiber in our collections and one of the most widely used in the world: strong, durable and crease-resistant, it allows us to make lightweight headwear that dries quickly. But its production comes at an environmental cost: it’s a synthetic fiber derived from petroleum, with a lower environmental impact than the production of natural fibers in terms of water and land1, but the energy required to produce polyester makes it a very polluting process2. For this reason, Atlantis wants to encourage the use of recycled polyester instead of virgin, fossil-based polyester.

Its alter ego, recycled polyester, or rPET, is made from polymers obtained by melting down used plastic bottles and converting them into textile fibers. Did you know that nearly 1 million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute?

Even though recycled options allow for a reduction in emissions compared to virgin options, we know that it’s not the final solution to synthetic fiber pollution: the mechanical recycling process of rPET significantly degrades the quality of the material, and unfortunately very few garments are recycled back into textile use, and the majority of polyester garments that are wasted still end up in landfills. In addition, rPET is not biodegradable and loses microplastic fibers at the same rate as virgin plastic.

However, there are good reasons to use this material in our products:

• Resistance: when exposed to the sun, the material does not fade or lose quality, unlike cotton; this allows for increased durability and reduced waste.
• Lack of large-scale alternatives: there are currently no large-scale alternatives to mechanically recycled rPET.A54

To address the issues related to rPET, we will commit to a series of virtuous behaviors as we move towards a sustainable transition. For example, we believe it is necessary to continuously monitor the market for chemically recycled polyester, which generally has a greater environmental impact than its mechanically recycled equivalent, but can be subjected to a greater number of recycling processes while maintaining quality. In addition, we are exploring collaborations with organizations along the supply chain to ensure the recycling of waste generated during production. Another option we are considering as an alternative to rPET is the use of other materials, such as recycled nylon or recycled wool.

In conclusion, recycled polyester is still a more environmentally sustainable fiber than virgin polyester. The more we recycle, the less waste ends up in our landfills. We can reduce our dependence on petroleum, save natural resources, production and energy costs, and reduce the negative impacts of the extraction and processing of virgin materials.

Our LCA study4 on polyester products showed that if we replace virgin polyester with recycled polyester, we reduce CO2 emissions by 4%, and if we replace acrylic, we have a reduction of almost 70%. Impressive!

Recycling helps us reduce the industry’s dependence on fossil fuels and manage our resources in a more ethical way: by using products to their full potential.

1.  Sustainable Apparel Materials 2015
2. Environmental Sciences Europe (2021) Analysis of the polyester apparel value chain to identify key intervention points for sustainability
3. The Guardian
4. The LCA was conducted on selected items, taking into account the full life cycle of the product, from production to distribution.
5. Comparison calculated on 1kg of woven recycled polyester vs virgin polyester from Textile Exchange data.

Why choose it?

- The spread of plastic pollution is prevented
- Non-renewable energy sources are conserved (e.g. oil)
- It uses 62% less energy than virgin polyester
- Reduces CO2 emissions by 16% compared to virgin polyester
- Reduces waste by 34% compared to conventional one
- Reduces water by 99% compared to conventional one
We have helped to recover
0 bottles
since we launched the recycled polyester collection.

Find out how many bottles have been recycled for each hat

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