One of the great challenges of the Circular Economy is to give new life to materials. And that’s why a Chilean venture called BoTela created «sustainable clothing» from fully recycled PET plastic threads.
The initiative emerged after revealing figures: in the world, one million PET bottles are bought per minute. In addition, 50 billion PET bottles are produced worldwide each year and 25 thousand tons of waste reach the sea per year.
That’s why this initiative uses fabrics made entirely of plastic threads. The process begins with the import of fabrics from the United States – to a supplier that has recycled 18 billion bottles in two years – after which the design and manufacture of the garments is done in our country, as a way to boost the local industry.
«We do all the development of design, prints and tailoring in the workshop, where five people work. In this way, we deliver a new utility to a product like the plastic of the bottles», explains Arturo Vial, creator of the brand.
Botela has a catalog that includes t-shirts, sports shoes, jeans, corporate uniforms and even marketing items, such as pendones. In the latter case, the condition of sale is that, once they are no longer used, they are transformed into bags to extend their service life.
Each shirt manufactured by Botela uses the material of 12 bottles of 500 cc, and its quality is very similar to that of cotton: «Technology allows us to develop and match a product that, although it is made of polyester, looks and feels like cotton. With this we collaborate to the Circular Economy and to take care of the environment», says Vial.
The next step is to try to bring the technology to Chile to transform plastic pellets into clothing threads. «We recently visited all PET recycling and processing plants into threads in the United States. Being able to do it here means a very high investment, but we are looking for options», says Vial.