Nike, Primark, H&M accused of “greenwashing” as report reveals recycled polyester just as damaging to environment

Nike, H&M, Primark and Zara have all been accused of greenwashing after damning new research revealed that clothes made from recycled plastic bottles are just as damaging to the environment.

The Changing Markets Foundation has released a new documentary video which lays out how polyester clothes made from recycled materials, which 85 per cent of retailers surveyed said they aimed to use to achieve recycling targets, are just as damaging to the environment as non-recycled polyester.




Plastic pollution campaigning organisation City to Sea details how polyester from downcycled PET means they can then not be recycled again, instead going directly to landfill after being used.

Recycled materials also do nothing to prevent the spread of microplastics in the world’s oceans, as the manufacturing process still produces as much pollution.

READ MORE: Retailers warned they will face “full force” of regulator over fake greenwashing claims

“With their carefully marketed green credentials unravelling fast, brands are clinging to recycled bottles for clothes to distract consumers from their inherently unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels for fibre,” the Changing Markets Foundation’s campaign’s advisor George Harding-Rolls said.

“If fashion brands are serious about reducing their environmental impact, they should stop the charade of downcycling plastic bottles into clothes and instead focus on cutting their addiction to fossil fuels and curbing overproduction”.

H&M says that around 90 per cent of its recycled polyester comes from single-use plastic bottles, 59 per cent of claims made by the 50 retailers examined in the study were unsubstantiated or potentially misleading to customers, according to the campaign groups.

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