ZHEJIANG – Life-cycle analysis research from China claims the carbon footprint of recycled polyester production is ten times that of its virgin counterpart. The study found the carbon footprint of virgin polyester textiles production was 119.59 kgCO2/100 while for recycled polyester production it was 1154.15 kgCO2/100 kg. The stunning findings are in stark contrast to conventional wisdom which suggests switching to recycled polyester is better for the environment. The researchers claim the carbon footprint for recycled polyester was much larger than that of virgin production processes due to a series of energy intensive procedures (e.g. crushing, high temperature cleaning and drying) involved in the spinning stage from waste polyester.
However, we would suggest that readers treat the findings with a note of caution given they seem to fly so dramatically in the face of previous findings in this area. Without questions, more research and LCA studies are needed.
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