Why we avoid recycled plastic.

We from NORDLICHT have always relied on natural materials and are critical of the use of plastic and polyester. Because plastic is bad for you and bad for our environment. Here you can find out why we don't use recycled plastic - for good reason.

Plastic is everywhere, especially in our clothing. Polyester, nylon and acrylic garments are all made from plastic. Not only are these fibers harmful because they are made from fossil fuels, but they also release microplastics into our environment. Microplastics enter our bodies via groundwater and are suspected of being carcinogenic.

Around 70 percent of the clothing produced contains plastic microfibers, and clothing is responsible for a third of all microplastic pollution. Every time polyester is washed, microplastics are released into our water.

The fashion industry is now promising: We have a solution – products made from recycled plastic.

Apparently the plastic even comes from the ocean and thus directly protects our environment. Are we really making the world a better place when we buy products made from recycled plastic? After all, around ten million tons of plastic waste sink into our oceans every year and UN environmental experts warn that, in the worst case, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our planet's seas.

Still, recycled plastic is sold as something far more sustainable than it actually is, and brands often market their recycled plastic products (or even just some of their products) as an eco-friendly purchase when this is not the case.


What does ocean plastic mean?

When you hear ocean plastic, it suggests that the ocean is being freed of plastic. The problem, however, is that the plastic that is mixed into so-called “ocean plastic” products is only Ocean Bound plastic.

So plastic on land that “could” end up in the sea. Marine plastic that has been floating around in the sea for a long time is not collected at all. The high level of contamination, the impurity of types and the poor condition of plastic waste from the sea do not allow recycling - at least into yarn.

Here we come to the next point, PET bottles.


 Main component PET bottles

Another problem, most recycled plastics come from PET bottles, which are part of a closed recycling system where they can be efficiently recycled at least 10 times. Fashion makes this a linear system because most of these clothes are not or cannot be recycled, accelerating pollution.


Microplastics in your body

Recycled plastic is not a solution to the microplastic problem. During the recycling process, the plastic material is intensively washed and shredded. A large proportion of microplastics end up in the groundwater and are blown into nature around the recycling factory. Regardless of whether the plastic is new or recycled, our rivers and oceans continue to be polluted by microplastic fibers that are released every time we wash them.

Another point is the quality. Old plastic can contain plasticizers or other harmful substances, which are then processed into the new product. You would have to test each product individually for harmful substances, which is not possible in reality.


final destination

Products made from recycled plastic can no longer be recycled and must be burned. It would be truly sustainable in terms of the circular economy if recycled PET fibers from textiles could be processed into new textiles. But as soon as a fabric is no longer 100 percent polyester and therefore becomes a blend, this makes mechanical recycling extremely difficult - or even impossible.

The possibility of linear recycling as clothing or backpacks is offset by the possibility of recycling PET bottles several times into new bottles. Unfortunately, recycled plastic cannot be a sustainable solution. We wish it was that easy! Only when these items of clothing can be recycled in a closed cycle and do not end up in a landfill will they make a big leap towards greater sustainability.

But what is the solution?

In general, we should stop using plastic. In addition, products with real recyclability represent real progress. Products that can be reused as materials, but so-called fiber-to-fiber recycling has hardly taken place so far. We at NORDLICHT are relying more and more on recycled cotton. Here too it is necessary to add new cotton, but we use 100% certified organic cotton. It is produced under strict ecological conditions - without chemical fertilizers, without pesticides and with lower water consumption than with conventional cultivation methods. Genetic engineering is also taboo. Because we want you to feel good with our product.

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