Do fashion items with recycled polyester still release microfibres?

Yes. Recycled polyester tends to be a more sustainable alternative to virgin polyester as it can use up to half as much energy to make and saves plastic from landfill for one cycle. ⁠

However, it still sheds microplastics. The majority of fast fashion textiles including recycled polyesters shed microfibres when washed that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. Small amounts are released into the air as we walk too.⁠

It’s important to remember that we seem to be in a bit of an ‘ocean plastic fashion’ craze but it’s not the solution yet. The way we currently recycle most plastics is downcycling; so the plastic is turned into an inferior product. This can be only be done 2 to 7 times depending on the type. Generally, ocean-plastic-fashion only stays out of landfill for one cycle; it’s not recycled again. Think about where your clothes go when they’re beyond repair or selling. If you can’t compost, it tends to go to landfill. There are a few companies like Moral Fibre working on being able to use these polymers infinitely in the future. ⁠

Better still is using materials such as hemp and linen and then working out a system to recycle them (using less energy and less environmental impact than new growth to product).⁠

Fast fashion is a major issue in all our environment problems and it’s largely a consumer one unlike a number of others. Repairing clothes, buying secondhand (you can find some real gems at thrift stores), doing clothes swaps, washing less and investing in ethical clothing, products made to last and natural fibres when buying new are some ways to reduce the impact.⁠