Summary of Polyester Is Plastic

Polyester Is Plastic summary

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Each American discards an average of 81 pounds of clothing every year, dumping an aggregate of more than 26 billion pounds into landfills annually. How does the fashion industry affect the environment, and what can consumers and designers do to lessen the industry’s impact? These are the questions that Harper’s Bazaar editor Olivia Fleming discusses in her Dare I Say podcast with New Standard Institute director Maxine Bedat and Linda Greer, the founder of the Clean by Design program for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Both women are working to raise awareness of the environmental, social justice and health impacts of the fast fashion industry. 

About the Podcast

In the Dare I Say podcast, actress and activist Olivia Wilde features intimate, unfiltered conversations with the world’s most influential women. In this episode, she presents New Standard Institute director Maxine Bedat and Linda Greer, the founder of the Clean By Design program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.


There’s no standard for sustainability in the fashion industry.

Sustainability doesn’t mean the same for everyone. For some clothing brands, it means they use only natural materials, while others they affect the environment less because they use only recycled plastic bottles. However, the process of melting down plastic bottles, turning them into fiber and weaving them into fabric is carbon intensive – which is why others say recycling polyester is the better choice. But both polyester and fabric from recycled bottles shed plastic microfibers. They’re now found everywhere, on mountaintops, at ocean bottoms and in animals – and therefore in food humans eat. No one knows the consequences for human health. Using recycled materials for clothes isn’t a panacea. The alternative of doubling or tripling the amount...

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