Recycling Plastics into Clothing and Fibrefill
Plastics are an essential part of our daily life. For instance, without plastics, 400 percent more material by weight and 200 percent more material by volume would be needed to make packaging.
Plastics can be split into two major categories: thermoplastics and thermosets. With the application of heater bands and cartridge heaters, thermoplastics can be remelted and reformed many times into different shapes and, for this reason, they are the most commonly recycled plastics. Thermosets can only be formed once. After that they may be ground and used as filler for future plastic products.
The process of taking plastic scraps or plastic waste and recovering the material for use in manufacturing is plastic recycling. Melting down polyester soft drink bottles and spinning the melted polymer into fibres is a common example of plastic recycling. These fibres can be utilised in a number of ways:
- As ‘fibrefill’: to stuff upholstery, furnishings, insulation clothing, sleeping bags and duvets. When using it as filling for a sleeping bag or duvet, the fibrefill is sewn inside the fabric to create air pockets which keep the inside of the sleeping bag or duvet warm, even when the outside is very cold.
- The same type of plastic filling may also be spun into a fine thread-like material which may be used to make clothing such as fleece jackets, hats and vests.
Recycling plastics for these purposes is only made possible by applying heat to the material at specific temperatures. Such heat is provided by specialist heaters such as fire sticks.