Being environmentally correct is fashionable these days in the rag trade. First, organically grown cotton made its debut in everything from sheets and towels to T-shirts. Now comes fabric made from recycled plastic.
Wellman Inc., a plastics recycler and polyester maker, and Dyersburg Fabrics Inc., which produces fleece fabrics, have launched what they claim is the first commercial textile fabric made from used plastic beverage bottles. Dyersburg's DyerSport E. C. O. fleece fabric contains 80% of a fiber made by Wellman from such bottles. The fleece, say Dyersburg executives, matches the feel, strength, colorfastness, and shrinkage of other fleece fabrics made from virgin polyester.
Dyersburg's entire production through September is reserved for its first customer, Patagonia, which will use it to make an outdoor jacket similar to a nylon windbreaker. Karen Deniz, merchandise manager for Dyersburg, says the company expects the fabric to find a niche in outdoor clothing sold to environmentally conscious consumers.