Polyester fiber, a manmade fiber, , has become one of the most widely used fibers across various industries. While the twisted and spun yarn is used in clothing, bedding, furniture as filling, non-woven fiber is used in sanitary products, construction, and automobile via compression technique.
The significant features of this fiber are:
- Polyester is lighter than other alternatives. It is warm as there is no convection of air. Thus, companies manufacturing warm clothing prefer using this fiber.
- Staple fiber has the feature of absorbing moisture which makes the cloth comfortable and non-sticky. This property is known as hygroscopicity.
- The fiber is soft and has a good fall which renders it a good fit. An increasing number of sports clothing companies are now using regenerated PSF as people demand comfort and quick-dry features when buying sports clothing.
- The polyester fiber is also blended with other fibers like wool, cotton, viscose, etc., to make fabric with desired quality. For example, polyester combined with wool gives thin, light yet warm thermal wear. Thus, manufacturers have a lot to experiment with when using this fiber type.
Indeed, clothing industry consumes a significant portion of polyester fiber, but there are several other industries where the application of this fiber is seen. Some such major industries are:
- Filtration devices where the fiber serves as a soaking agent for different components.
- Filling industries making pillows, mattresses, quilts, etc.
- Furniture and home décor fabrics like curtains, wallpapers, carpets.
- Automobile industries for making vehicle seats, mats, etc.
- Fibers are also used in the construction industry due to their crack control, elasticity, and durability aspect.
With advancements in technology and increasing demand for fiber, manufacturers can now either produce virgin fiber or recycle fiber. Both virgin and recycled PSF are equally good. Here we understand the difference between the two fiber types and their application.
Virgin Polyester Staple Fiber
It is made by polymerizing Mono Ethylene Glycol (MEG) and Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) at high pressure and temperature. Some companies also use Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) chips. Due to its high quality, it is the most preferred material in sanitary products, furniture, all types of clothing, and even construction. Below are the significant benefits of virgin polyester fabric:
- Polyester is cheaper than other filling materials like microfiber or feather material. It allows manufacturers to offer pocket-friendly products to their customers.
- The virgin PSF is the best option for hypoallergenic mattresses and has become very popular amongst users.
- Polyester fiber is easy to maintain and are durable.
Recycled Polyester Staple Fiber
Recycled PSF was possible because of new technology that can reconstitute fibers at the molecular level. This ensures that the product's properties remain the same as virgin PSF. Recycled fiber has high performance, strength, versatility and is environment-friendly.
Manufacturers use PET flakes obtained from recycling various PET plastic products. This is introduced to high-temperature processing, where they are liquefied and extruded. The product then goes through a filament cable leading to fiber generation. The recycled polyester has some salient features:
- Petroleum is a product required in manufacturing virgin polyester; however, recycled polyester does not need petroleum which means reduced consumption by fiber manufacturers, a considerable quantity.
- Recycling ensures lower carbon dioxide emissions which again contributes to a better environment.
- Made of recycled PET flakes, the recycled polyester ensures the consumption of waste plastic products like bottles. This is good for the environment as plastic waste is a severe problem in today's world. It poses a threat to the future.
Recycled polyester has gained popularity due to its environmentally friendly feature. Producers using polyester as a component in their products prefer the recycled version. Regenerated polyester is the most widely used fiber in the clothing industry.
Recycled PSF: Towards a better world
Plastic waste accumulation in junkyards is an environmental threat. It has adverse effects on human health, fauna, and the planet's flora. It is impossible to eliminate or even minimize the use of plastic products as it has become an integral part of our lives in all ways. Products like water bottles, soft drinks, and soda bottles contribute the maximum portion to the waste. Thus, it becomes essential to find an alternative where the discarded plastic can be used in innovative and valuable ways. This led to invent of the plastic recycling business. Here, the companies take the plastic waste and recycle it using technology. All the foreign, undesirable materials are separated during the recycling process, and then the plastic is subjected to high pressure and temperature. The polyester recycling companies make sure that the end product is of high quality can be used in products without any worries.
Recycled PSF is an excellent alternative since it is helping us to remove thousands of tonnes of plastic waste each year. Countries worldwide are encouraging the recycling business and have also introduced policies like extended producer responsibility. This policy entitles the companies that make plastic products and introduce them to the market to take back the discarded plastic and recycle it into valuable products.
Some organizations specialize in reusing PET chips and flakes into regenerated polyester staple fiber. There were times when people had reservations about using products made of recycled material, especially when it came to clothing. However, the consumers are changing. With increasing awareness regarding the threat that plastic poses to our future and the fact that recycled fiber is as good as virgin fiber, consumers are also demanding products made of regenerated fiber. This increase in demand has encouraged manufacturing companies to use fiber. In fact, big companies have taken up regenerated fiber completely and promote themselves as environment-conscious brands.
The story of recycled polyester staple fiber will be successful in the long run as the product has excellent qualities and is manufactured at a reasonable price. Also, the most crucial aspect is the eco-friendly feature since it helps save petroleum, a non-renewable and valuable source. Regenerated polyester is a boon when pollution has reached a severe stage and has life-threatening possibilities. Everyone can contribute to saving this planet by buying products made of recycled polyester and ensuring a better life for generations to come.