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What is Recycled Plastic Fabric?

Written by Chris Shipferling


Posted on December 06 2018

One of the biggest trends in fabric manufacturing is sustainability. With many companies and businesses looking to have a smaller negative impact on the environment, some are turning to recycled plastic fabric. While it may seem far-fetched, recycled plastic fabric is a revolutionary way of repurposing plastic bottles and packaging them into something beautiful and useful, like a blanket, tablecloth, or drape.

Sustainability and the environment is a hot-button topic for many, and we believe that companies should be doing their part to be less wasteful and try to recycle products as much as they can. That's why the Stair Barrier® is dedicated to making sustainable stair gates that keep our children safe today and also keep the future brighter for the children of tomorrow. For more information about the Stair Barrier, our manufacturing process, or if you are ready to purchase a sustainable stair gate that is made in the USA, visit our website today.

How Recycled Woven Fabric is Made

It starts with a bottle — a simple, plastic bottle that was tossed in a recycling can. It spent weeks with heaps of other bottles before it was sorted at a recycling center with many other bottles. Once all of the plastic bottles are together, the caps and labels are separated, then the bottles are shredded and processed into tiny pieces that are called bottle flakes. These flakes dry for a period of time until they are ready for the next process: extruding.

As the tiny flakes are channeled on conveyor belts and giant bins, an extruder is firing up. The extruder’s job is to heat the plastic flakes until they begin melting and then force the flakes through small, barely-visible holes that create stringy, molten strands of plastic. These fibers are fine, long strands that are eventually spun into something that looks like unprocessed wool.

When these strands are forced through the extruder, they turn into a jumbled mess. Once the extruding process is done, this rat’s nest of recycled fiber is funneled into a machine called a carding. The carding uses a series of metal teeth and combs to align the fibers in the same direction.

At this point, the recycled fabric looks like one giant sheet of wool. However, the spinning process is the final step in making these plastic bottles into a usable product for manufactured items like upholstery, napkins, and cubicle lining. The spinning process turns the sheet of fiber into a tightly wound and organized string, otherwise known as yarn.

How is Recycled Plastic Fiber Used?

The incredible transformation turned a heap of plastic bottles into usable fabric. Plastic waste has gained a second life. The recycled plastic fiber is now just like any other yarn. There is hardly any difference between the yarn made from plastic bottles and that of a sheep. It can be dyed, woven thicker, spun softer, or even made into a sweater.

Occasionally, the plastic fiber can find new life in office supplies and in the retail space. Many clothing companies such as Patagonia, North Face, and Volcom are using more and more recycled plastic fiber in their products. Adidas is also pledging to make all of their products with recycled plastic materials by 2024.

One of the most innovative companies that supply our manufacturers with recycled plastic fiber is Repreve®. Unlike many recycled plastic fiber companies, Repreve has implemented their plastic fiber in everything from paint rollers to car door panels, to carpet tiles.

The fact that Repreve is dedicated to creating a reprieve for our planet is inspiring. That’s why the Stair Barrier is made with recycled plastic fiber from Repreve. We value the safety of your children, which is why we decided to make the Stair Barrier in the first place. However, we also value the future of our children. The Stair Barrier is dedicated to making the world a better place today and tomorrow.

Our sustainable stair gates are made from recycled plastic bottles, which are less wasteful than processed wooden bars. The sleek and elegant design of a fabric stair gate is also appealing for homes that may not vibe with the jail-bar stair gate look. If you’re ready to make protect both your child and their future, visit our website to purchase a Stair Barrier today.



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