Polyester is threatening our planet
Polyester is the most widely used fiber in the world, accounting for roughly half of the overall fiber market and around 80% of synthetic fiber on the market. As Common Objective points out, polyester’s relative cheapness has led to the growth of fast fashion.
That being said, a multitude of recent studies show that polyester sheds small pieces of plastic called microplastics every time it is washed. These microplastics are infiltrating our water and air, and are being ingested by marine life, animals and human beings! While the full extent and impact of these microplastics remain unclear, it is obviously a huge problem. It is estimated that another 22 million mt of microfibers will be added to the ocean between 2015 and 2050. The annual amount of primary microplastics released from textiles is estimated at 190,000 mt per annum. This continual deposition of microplastics will have detrimental impacts on plant, animal, and human health.
As an oil-based plastic, polyester does not biodegrade like natural fibers. Instead, it stays in the landfill for several decades at least.