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Recycled polyethylene

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The non-profit association Vesti la natura provides several free guides specially created to promote the use of low environmental impact materials among consumers and entrepreneurs

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An ecological fabric with excellent performance: recycled polyethylene

Sten Gustaf Thulin had designed the bags in polyethylene thinking of creating an ecological solution. That's right.

The Swedish engineer had devised a system for making bags in polyethylene in a single piece to avoid the use of paper bags which, at the time, increased the felling of trees in the beautiful forests of Northern Europe.

As early as the late 70s, this invention accounted for 80% of the European handbag market. While today it seems that the production rate of polyethylene bags is at the levels of one trillion per year.

Unfortunately, it is estimated that almost 90% of the products that are killing marine ecosystems derive from this petroleum derivative.

A bag in polyethylene it takes hundreds of years to decompose. Many are in fact returning to the use of paper bags, but if we went to check we would discover that the production of these packaging is not so eco-sustainable if we talk about virgin paper, but we will deal with this topic elsewhere.

What we are talking about today is instead the possibility of reusing polyethylene bags and transform them into a textile product with interesting characteristics: recycled polyethylene.

The polyethylene in plastic bags can in fact be recycled to obtain very light fabrics that do not retain heat, evaporate moisture, are anti-stain and anti-sweat and do not require impacting chemical treatments for their coloring.

The transformation of polyethylene into fiber, in fact, it creates a chemical oxidation process that makes the material hydrophilic and forms spaces between the fibers (when the yarn suitable for weaving is formed) which allow water to be absorbed (by capillarity).

By adding to the powder of polyethylene, before being transformed into a fiber, dry dyes, the most disparate colors are obtained with excellent solidity (therefore less impacting than traditional dyeing).

And when do we throw it away?

Nothing could be simpler: it merges, centrifuges and retrieves the whole (or at least part of it) to start over.

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Characteristics of Recycled Polyethylene

Fabric Quality: The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.
  Does not shrink / discolor
  Quick drying
Ecological Characteristics: The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.
  Natural - Artificial - Synthetic   S
  No GMOs
  Natural raw material
  Recycled raw material
  Mechanical extraction
  Chemical extraction
  Energy saving
  Sustainability class   C
Textile Certifications:: The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.
Global Organic Textile Standard
Organic Content Standard
Global Recycle Standard
Second Life Plastic
Animal Free
Fair Wear Foundation

This card can only be found on www.vestilanatura.it

Recycled polyethylene clothing

With the company recycled polyethylene it is possible to make fabrics that have the power to absorb humidity and make it evaporate more quickly than traditional fabrics.

These are properties that diminish with repeated washing, but which are magically regained by rubbing the fabric or exposing it to ultraviolet rays.

We will not dress in recycled polyethylene to save the planet (it's still one synthetic fiber and release microplastics during washings), but if we just take a quick look at the islands of waste that are forming in the oceans, this nuohe technology could be a very interesting solution to stimulate the recovery of these materials and make them become something more "friendly" for the environment.

At the moment, being a nuogoes technology, clothing in recycled polyethylene is not yet available.

Buy recycled polyethylene products

A showcase where you can find Sustainable, ethical and cruelty free fashion brands guaranteed by the supervision of our association:

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Washing of fabrics

How is recycled polyethylene washed?

The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using ecological detergents.

The washing of garments made of recycled polyethylene can be done either by hand or in the washing machine, since this fiber is not very sensitive to spinning or hot water and, therefore, no special precautions are necessary, if not the preliminary reading of the label, which will indicate the need for any separate washing or specific treatments, such as not drying in the dryer.

They are also fabrics that do not get dirty and can be cold washed (important energy saving).

Machine wash

Normally, garments in recycled polyethylene show excellent color retention; therefore, it is possible to proceed with a mixed washing in the washing machine, with a program for synthetic garments and which therefore does not exceed 30 or 40 degrees.

The centrifuge must be delicate and, in any case, not exceeding 800 rpm.

To wash recycled polyethylene in the washing machine it is advisable to use a delicate liquid detergent, preferably ecological; although recycled polyethylene is famous for its resistance, the mixture with elastane and other fibers that increase its elasticity could make the garments more sensitive to the action of washing powder.


Hand washing garments made of recycled polyethylene is an operation that requires a basin, warm water and liquid detergent; after rinsing, wring a little and apply normally.

Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?

  1. We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
  2. You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
  3. You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg


Are you looking for more information on recycled polyethylene? Ask your questions using the form below.
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Our answers:

Where can I buy recycled polyethylene fabric?

Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.

Does recycled polyethylene release micro-plastics during washing?

Yes, being a synthetic fabric it can release microplastics during washing.

Is recycled polyethylene biodegradable?

No, it is not biodegradable as it is a synthetic fabric, but on the other hand it is 100% recyclable.

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