The textile industry has been under great scrutiny over the last decades, as many problems in the supply chains have been discovered. Workers safety and rights, minimum wages, child labor etc. have all been issues. The 2013 collapse of the garment factory Rana Plaza in Dhaka which killed more than 1100 and injured 2500 workers, sent a clear message to the industry that supply chains must be improved.
Brands and buyers of textiles from all over the world have stepped up in demanding better working conditions, and improvements have been achieved. In China this is visible for instance in comparisons of CSR standard reporting across industries, where the textile industry now ranks among the highest partly because of pressure from the buyers.
However, the opportunists operating in the supply chain are still there. With the rise in demand for RPET polyester, the market price of textiles from recycled bottles has increased. RPET is priced higher than virgin polyester. This incentivises suppliers to brand polyester as RPET even if it comes from virgin materials. Some estimate that as much as 50% of polyester sold as RPET today is in fact not sourced from recycled plastics.
At Waste2Wear we have implemented blockchain tracing through the supply chain to remove the risk of illicit sup-suppliers, or mixing in of virgin polyester with our RPET materials. We have also developed a unique, patent pending chemical process to verify if polyester materials marked as RPET is intact sourced from recycled bottles.
We have called our solution RA3, short for Recycling Assurance in three steps. We use this to verify both our own products, but also anyone who is interested in testing what they they sell in the market as RPET to reduce the risk of greenwashing.