Analysis of the polyester clothing value chain to identify key intervention points for sustainability

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Clothing is one of the primary human needs, and the demand is met by the global production of thousands of tons of textile fibers, fabrics and garments every day. Polyester clothing manufactured from oil-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the market leader. Conventional PET creates pollution along its entire value chain—during the production, use and end-of-life phases—and also contributes to the unsustainable depletion of resources. The consumption of PET garments thus compromises the quality of land, water and air, destroys ecosystems, and endangers human health. In this article, we discuss the different stages of the value chain for polyester clothing from the perspective of sustainability, describing current environmental challenges such as pollution from textile factory wastewater, and microfibers released from clothing during the laundry cycle. We also consider potential solutions such as enhanced reuse and recycling. Finally, we propose a series of recommendations that should be applied to polyester clothing at all stages along the value chain, offering the potential for meaningful and effective change to improve the environmental sustainability of polyester textiles on a global scale.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironmental Sciences Europe
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Life Cycle
  • Life cycle
  • Microfibers
  • PET
  • Pollution
  • Recycling
  • Textiles
  • Value chain
  • HUMAN HEALTH
  • FRESH-WATER
  • SYNTHETIC-FIBERS
  • TEXTILE FIBERS
  • IN-VIVO
  • INCLUDING MICROPLASTICS
  • PLASTIC FIBERS
  • WASHING PROCESSES
  • MICROPLASTIC POLLUTION

Cite this