Is it ok to wear polyester?

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Polyester is one of the most common fabrics today. If you are not someone who pays attention to the materials used in your garments then I can guarantee many of the clothing items you own are made from polyester. In the following article, I want to explain why that is something you might want to start paying attention to, for your benefit and for the benefit of the environment. 

Polyester is man-made material it is not a natural fabric. Getting a little more technical, it is actually made from the chemical reaction caused by mixing oil, air, and water. A compound called ester is created and this is is stretched and divided until it resembles a fishing line. This fishing line can be used to make any sort of material. We use polyester in many high fashion items, in a large quantity of sportswear, in shoes, in luggage, sheets, and much more.

The reason polyester is so widely used is because it is such a well-performing material. Polyester is highly durable and resistant to many other chemicals. It doesn’t shrink or stretch so it lasts a very long time. It is strong yet lightweight making it suitable for sports gear. It is easy to dye and keeps its shape well. In addition, it is quick-drying and easy to look after making it perfect for outdoor and everyday use. It is essentially an incredible material to use for clothes. It is the reason many of us don’t see the fuss about separating materials in the wash, most of what we own is likely polyester.

It has downsides too though. The material lacks breathability. It will cause you to sweat more than natural materials like cotton. However many companies are now creating moisture-wicking polyesters that are better for sport.

The material is believed by many to be bad for the skin. It is not a natural material and causes people with sensitive skin to break out in rashes. If wearing 100% polyester clothing it is also highly flammable and can hold a lot of static electricity. For this reason, it is rare to find 100% polyester today.

The biggest issue with polyester concerns the environment. As it is not a natural material it is not easily disposed of. Estimates suggest it can take between 20 and 40 years to break down. However, it does play a part in the recycling process. Plastic bottles are often recycled into polyester which is creating a use for other plastics. In addition, the polyester itself can be recycled and reused for more clothing purposes. Many companies are now embracing the idea of reusing polyester with market estimates suggests that by 2030 20% of polyester will be recycled. It is a good start.

However, some people point out that it is still bad for the environment. Whether you recycle it or not it is bad for the environment to make it at all. In addition, every time you wash it microplastics come loose in the wash and leach into the water. This means that no matter what amazing way we choose to dispose of the material it is impacting the environment during its lifecycle. 

So should you wear polyester? The truth is that polyester has improved a lot since the 1970s when the material got a very bad reputation. If you are concerned about the quality of material on your skin there are now many polyesters on the market that are high-quality material. They are blended with other materials and can be fine for your skin. Many of the companies known for producing high-quality goods use polyester. If you are concerned about the environment then you should use as many natural materials as you can as they place less of a strain on the environment.