The Ecological Effects of Cotton Versus Recycled Polyester

by Gaute H. January 16, 2021 2 min read

Oceanness t-shirt made from recycled plastic bottles (recycled polyester) versus cotton t-shirt

What production process impacts the environment the most, apparel made from recycled polyester or cotton? The difference is stark, so let's just cut straight to it.

First of all, cotton is using a lot of land. With an ever-growing human population, it seems unsustainable to use a significant amount of crop land to grow cotton. According to World Wildlife Fun (WWF), cotton takes up 2.4% or arable land worldwide. Turning post-consumer plastic bottles to recycled polyester fabric on the other hand simply diverts plastic bottles from landfills and our oceans.

Did you know that growing cotton includes a large amount of chemicals, specifically pesticides? Thousands of cotton farmers and their families suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. According to WWF, cotton requires 24% of all pesticides and 11% of all agricultural water usage worldwide.

From seed to harvest, cotton requires an immense amount of water. Even "organic" cotton is highly water intensive. According to a study by Rob de Nooy for WWF, cotton is the second highest water consumer of any crop in the industrialized world. It takes, wait for it, 2650 liters of freshwater to produce one single cotton t-shirt. Oceanness uses about 3 liters of water to produce one Eco Oceanness T-Shirt from recycled plastic bottles.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the water crisis is the #1 global risk. With that in mind, it does indeed seem counterintuitive to use 2650 liters of water to produce one single cotton t-shirt.

Oceanness' mission is quite simply to save the ocean, by having the world #DressWithPurpose. Recycling plastic bottles into soft durable t-shirt isn't all we do to fulfill our mission. We also have dedicated plastic collectors that will pull an additional 100 plastic bottles from the ocean and coastlines in Haiti and the Philippines for every item purchased.

Oceanness is generating a restorative effect on the environment while reinventing the apparel industry, one t-shirt at a time. Care to join the wave?

PS: For questions about our products, please reach out! We're here to answer your questions every day of the week.

Gaute H.
Gaute H.

Founder of Oceanness. Enjoys the ocean, hanging out with friends, and exploring the world. Favorite ocean animal: Dolphins.

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