A much better option is for the plastic bottles to be recycled and used again. Back in 1993, the outdoor clothing company Patagonia became the first to use fleece made out of recycled plastic bottles. It now offers more than 40 different products made from recycled plastic fleece, including jackets, hats, vests and socks.
To turn plastic into fleece, used bottles are collected through bottle banks or kerbside collection schemes. Any bottles made from PET (a type of plastic) are chopped up into flakes, cleaned, dried and melted. The melted plastic is then squeezed out into long strands of fibre, which are spun into yarn and woven to make the fleece material.
On average, each fleece garment made by Patagonia uses 25 two-litre drinks bottles. Every 150 fleeces made of plastic bottles saves a barrel of oil (42 gallons) and avoids about half a ton of toxic air pollution.