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What is recycled polyester and how do we make toys out of it?

At Plushie, we’re making soft toys more planet friendly. That’s why we use fabrics and stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles for the majority of our plush toy projects. Plastic bottles are shredded into pellets, then transformed into thread which creates the plush fabric. These recycled pellets are also the sole ingredient of our soft and cuddly stuffing. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it – but it’s true. And our plush toys are so much better for the planet because of it.

We’re here to explain a little bit more about what recycled polyester (RPET) is and how we’re making soft toys more sustainably. Read on to find out more.

What is recycled polyester (RPET)?

Recycled polyester is precisely what it sounds like – polyester made from recycled plastic, specifically recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Many toy manufacturers use virgin polyester as it’s durable, easy to work with and cheap. But the downside is that it wastes massive amounts of energy, pollutes water with microplastics and is derived from non-renewable sources – like petroleum.

Unlike virgin polyester, RPET uses PET made from discarded plastic bottles, preventing them from ending up in landfill, polluting the world’s oceans or harming local wildlife.

 

Why do we use recycled polyester to make our toys?

Plastic pollution is a big problem. According to Earth Day, humans use 1.2 million plastic bottles a minute and 500 million plastic cups every year. And even more worryingly, pretty much every piece of plastic that’s ever been made still exists in some shape or form. It sounds unbelievable, but the impact of single-use plastic on the planet affects us all.

At Plushie, our goal is to manufacture our plush toys as sustainably as possible. By using fabrics and methods that have less impact on the environment than virgin plastic, we hope to create toys that bring smiles to our customers’ faces but are a little kinder to the planet at the same time. After all, even small steps can make a difference.

There are many other benefits to using RPET, such as:

  • It’s durable, holding up to wear and tear (especially during playtime!).
  • It’s elastic, meaning it holds its shape well.
  • It’s heat-resistant, which is an essential requirement for stuffed toys.
  • It retains colour, giving our soft toys a vibrant finish.
  • It’s more sustainable than virgin polyester.

How is recycled polyester made?

The recycled polyester manufacturing process is a fascinating one that begins with clear plastic bottles. This is the process in a nutshell:

  1. Step 1: Plastic bottles are collected and sterilised before being sorted.
  2. Step 2: Once the bottles have been dried out, they’re crushed, chopped and reformulated into tiny chips.
  3. Step 3: The tiny pieces of plastic are heated up, melted and placed into a spinneret to create long strands of polyester fibre.
  4. Step 4: The yarn is wound onto spools and put into a crimping machine, giving the yarn a fluffy texture.
  5. Step 5: The yarn is then baled, dyed and knitted into fabric. This is what ultimately ends up on our toys.

 

By using recycled polyester, we can help eliminate virgin plastic altogether, making the world a little bit brighter for everyone. As a result, all our plush toys can be made from 100% recycled materials, making them a more sustainable option than toys made with virgin polyester. If you’d like to find out more, check out our sustainability page or get in touch for more information.