IVL eyes use of recycled plastic in clothes

IVL eyes use of recycled plastic in clothes

From left  Ms Naweensuda, Mrs Lohia Sharma, Ms Krittika and Ms Kamonnart are working together to use yarns and fabrics made from recycled PET bottles to make clothes in line with the global trend in circular fashion.
From left  Ms Naweensuda, Mrs Lohia Sharma, Ms Krittika and Ms Kamonnart are working together to use yarns and fabrics made from recycled PET bottles to make clothes in line with the global trend in circular fashion.

Chemical manufacturer Indorama Ventures Plc (IVL) is working with circular fashion experts to help designers commercialise clothes made of recycled PET bottles that would otherwise only end up being shown on catwalks.

New products are not always made to meet the needs of people from all walks of life, but they must serve target customers who are open to value, including the sustainability concept of circular fashion, said Kamonnart Ongwandee, an eco-friendly fashion designer and the director of RECO Incubation Lab Course.

Circular fashion aims to reduce the natural resources used to make clothing and minimise its waste.

"This does not mean we will simply use sustainability as a selling point. Designers must identify what products customers want in terms of functions, emotions and daily usage," said Ms Kamonnart.

RECO is the name of a project initiated by IVL some 10 years ago to urge designers to join a competition to make clothes from recycled materials. This year, RECO designers will be selected to study how to design clothes and build brands for their products, notably ready-to-wear items, by featuring the unique characteristics of yarns and fabrics made from piles of discarded bottles.

Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, is a type of clear, strong and lightweight plastic often used to make water bottles. They can be recycled to make new bottles or yarns used in the garment industry.

"Indorama Ventures recently celebrated a significant milestone of recycling 100 billion post-consumer PET bottles worldwide, and we want to keep the momentum going in promoting the importance of recycling," said Aradhana Lohia Sharma, vice-president of IVL.

Up to 130 tonnes of used PET bottles in Thailand are supplied daily to the firm's recycling process, said Naweensuda Krabuanrat, head of global corporate social responsibility, global recycling education and Thai advocacy at IVL.

One way to highlight recycled PET bottles is to use them as a key raw material for making clothes, which are still not widely recognised among Thai consumers.

"But we have begun to receive a good signal from the market. Many people understand environmental issues. They are waiting to see how designers will apply sustainability to clothes," said Krittika Chaiwilai, vice-president of marketing at Thai Taffeta Co, a yarn and fabric manufacturer and supplier.

Her company, which uses recycled materials from IVL, joins RECO by providing various types of clothes to support RECO designers.

The availability of clothes made from recycled PET bottles for designers is crucial to promote the sustainability concept.

"One major hindrance for them is to access recycled materials. It's difficult to find these materials if you are not large companies," said Ms Kamonnart.

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