If we're lucky, discarded plastic bottles get reincarnated into new plastic bottles.
If we're really lucky, discarded plastic bottles and other refuse are turned into comfortable shirts with the two-pronged benefit of helping the planet and looking good.
That is what's happening here with Vollebak's new Garbage T Shirt. It's the latest entrant to their "garbage range," which also includes a sweater and a watch.
According to Vollebak, about 100 billion new pieces of clothing are made each year, and by 2050 that number is expected to double. But most of those items aren't made to last, and more than 150 tons of clothing are dumped into landfills every minute. That's a lot of trash. And this sobering fact is the inspiration for the collection.
The Garbage T Shirt is a follow-up to Vollebak's Garbage Sweater, which debuted last year and is made from old firefighter suits and bulletproof vests. The technical strength of these materials is an asset during use but a detriment post-wear, as they take hundreds of years to decompose. So, turning them into sweaters makes sense. But for the new T-shirt, Vollebak wanted to address fibers that are more common, like cotton and plastics.
The Garbage T Shirt is comprised of 50% recycled cotton and 47% recycled plastic bottles. Everything is cleaned, shredded and turned into fibers that can then be melted down and spun into new fibers. The remaining 3% is of unknown origin—consider it mystery trash that wound up in the mix, as it's impossible to completely separate materials during processing.
The result is a shirt that's soft and comfortable and definitely does not resemble trash. It's available in two colors—off-white and purple—each with a unique speckled pattern. This is because lots of the materials used to make the shirt featured various dyes in their previous lives, which show up on the new-again shirt as tiny colored dots.
You can note that fun fact to anyone within earshot, whether or not they asked.