Much has been written recently about recycled water bottles being used in China. A group of Chinese students recently made a boat out of old plastic bottles. In other parts of the Asian Pacific recycled plastic bottles are being used for an entirely different reason, to make soccer jerseys.
Taiwan, long known for their booming textile and manufacturing community, upped their green credibility by creating soccer jerseys for 10 world cup teams, partially out of recycled plastic bottles.13 million bottles were used, enough to fill 29 soccer fields, to supply the amount of material needed for the ten teams. There is a pretty interesting video (in Mandarin) outlining their process here.
Taiwan pioneered a way to breakdown polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into a comfortable fabric that is more sweat absorbent than cotton. Taiwan consumes about 4.5 billion plastic bottles a year and using this material to create fabric reduced energy costs by about 30%.
In order to compete with China’s textile industry, Taiwan had to create way to be unique and lower costs. By pioneering into plastic bottle recycling, they now have a 70 percent share in the bottle-based fiber market.
With the world continuing to consume resources at an increasingly alarming rate, processes like this one pioneered in Taiwan are important for the world to emulate. Hopefully China starts to take a page out of Taiwan’s book and becomes more environmentally friendly, because, after all, it makes economic sense as well.