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Table 2 Key recommendations to improve the sustainability of polyester garments during the production phase of the value chain. GHG = greenhouse gas

From: Analysis of the polyester clothing value chain to identify key intervention points for sustainability

Issue Goal Measure Action
Inputs Phase out fossil fuels as source of energy Strict taxes on GHG emissions
Discontinue buying/selling quotas on GHG emissions
Discontinue subsidies for use of fossil fuels
Incentivize use of renewable energy
Phase out fossil fuels as source of materials Prioritize recycled PET pellets for production of new polyester fibers
Further investigate the environmental impacts, safety and economic feasibility of:
  Renewable monomers ethylene glycol and TPA for the production of PET pellets
  Renewable polyesters such as polylactic acid
  Renewable dyes and other chemicals
Optimize and upscale the use of renewable feedstock
Consider materials other than polyesters that may be more sustainable
Reduce water consumption Prioritize dyeing/printing methods that require less water
Encourage water recycling
Outputs Reduce water pollution Impose wastewater treatment
Reduce microfiber release Prioritize compact yarn structures (high twist, longer filaments)
Prioritize thermal cutting methods
Reduce waste Improve management of chemical residues
Smart design through digital tools to reduce cut-out pieces
Recycle cut-outs back into the supply chain
Design Design for durability and recyclability Work with high-quality materials for durable clothing
Discontinue use of hazardous chemicals and dyes to increase recyclability
Avoid blends when possible to increase recyclability
Transport Supply chain optimization Shorten the supply chain
Implement traceability through digitalization
Reduce oil, chemical and polymer pellet spills
Retail Make the purchase of sustainable clothes easier Implement strict eco-labeling
Include reuse and recycled garments in regular stores
Place retail stores at accessible locations
New business models System based on pre-orders
Fashion as a service (subscription or pay-per-use)
  1. Legislation Economic incentive or funding Education or communication