Cotton is an ever ‘green’ fibre. How can we tag, polyester as an eco-friendly fibre? What are the possibilities?
Being a natural fibre, cotton is beholden to the elements and the desire of farmers to plant cash crops that provide them with a better income.
As a result of the inter-crop competition, it has become difficult to expand cotton acreage and production to meet growing demand.
Polyester on the other hand requires little land and not much water or energy in the production process and therefore the filling of the demand gap is possible.
Importantly, polyester is easy to recycle and many sportswear manufactures and customers alike already understand the unique properties that make polyester the material of choice for sportswear due to its ability to disperse perspiration quickly and efficiently coupled with anti-microbial effects.
Many brand owners have moved further into the use of recycled Polyester to maintain their sustainability goals and take advantage of the positive applications of the fibre.
What kind of challenges do you foresee in future as regard to cotton and polyester production?
Polyester offers a challenge to all natural fibres due to its low cost and comparable utility. However, we have identified the need to implement further construction of plants for recycling as this is what the consumer, and our major customers, desire.
We recently acquired Wellman International, Europe’s largest post-consumer plastic recycler and we will have the advantage of an ability to produce both bottle grade pellets and fibre from this waste material.
As the world’s largest polyester value chain producer, we obviously wish to lead the way in recycling and responsible manufacturing.
Going forward, we do not see any credible threat of reverse substitution from materials such as cotton etc., due to their severe limitations in being able to grow production in line with demand.
Do you think petroleum production can ever give threat to the fibre production, especially polyester in near future?
All polyester companies are a part of the crude oil downstream business and therefore we are as an industry inherently interested in whatever happens in oil and gas production.
However, we remain mindful of the need to mitigate downwards our consumption of carbon-based natural resources for energy and raw materials.
We therefore have implemented energy-saving methods across our business platform and lowered our reliance on carbon-based energy sources with the implementation of a solar power farm in Thailand last year and the reuse of our several raw materials in the manufacturing process.
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