Last year, Sears introduced the $200 EcoGIR suit for men–the world’s first suit made from recycled PET bottles. Now women get their own line of eco-suits with a comparatively inexpensive $80 Debenhams trouser combo made from recycled plastic bottles.
The bottles in the suit are ground down into chips, which are melted, refined, and woven into a form of polyester. Each suit uses about 50 plastic bottles. The rough polyester feel of the Debenhams suit might not appeal to some customers, though it certainly allows for environmental bragging rights.
Debenhams says that its shirt and trousers save energy and reduce CO2 emissions. I do question if the overall energy required to melt and refine the plastic bottles is less than the energy used in traditional clothing production, but the process undeniably cuts down on landfill waste.
If the womens suit proves popular in stores, Debenhams will extend the recycled bottle line to menswear. Although an even more ideal solution might be to extend this line to the homeless: Insert 50 used plastic bottles into a machine at the grocery store and get a ready-made and pressed Debenhams suit from the other side.