Polyester as part of a healthy materials diet!


Perhaps controversially, Team TED started February by talking about the potential of polyester for making sustainable, high-quality products.

This was an internal interim workshop for the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) project which aims to create new high-quality polyester and cellulosic fibres from waste materials. The T2C project is in its infancy and the area of focus for materials R&D is yet to be defined. There is a real opportunity to change the way we perceive, value and use polyester, as part of a varied and considered approach to materials, but first we need to identify the future potential and the most effective and appropriate applications for this most underrated of fibres.

Drawing on TED’s sustainable textiles design expertise we spent the morning thinking proposing and adding detail to six ‘visions for polyester’ that had emerged from the consortium workshop in November, in preparation for the next stage of the collaboration with materials scientists, manufacturers and designers.

Prof Becky Earley and Dr Rosie Hornbuckle asked TED researchers to write three words that relate to the future potential of polyester, the results are a set of characteristics describing a material that many would not identify as polyester:

  1. Durable / longevity / hardwearing / robust
  2. High end / performance / super-luxury
  3. Forever recyclable / circular / low impact / transformative
  4. Popular
  5. Flexible / versatile
  6. Bio / fossil
  7. Bright colours / print / surface
  8. Biomimetic
  9. Replace cotton


Did we miss anything… is this the future you see for polyester?