The current challenge

The damage that plastics are having on our environment is profound. Surprisingly, less than half of plastics are recycled in the UK although that number is improving. The issue with plastics is they do not decompose; their strength becomes an issue as almost nothing can degrade them. They can be broken down by UV radiation, this leads to further issues. Once plastics degrade, they do so into smaller and smaller pieces- hence you will hear a lot of discussion regarding the issue with microplastics. These plastics are so small they can enter our circulatory systems and even our brains. 

 There is some light at the end of the tunnel. Not all plastics are the same, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) can be melted down and therefore used again. This cannot be said for all plastics (such a polythene, don’t use plastic shopping bags!). This presents a great opportunity to put old plastics to good use. 

How does plastic become fabric?

A large proportion of clothing is made from polyester which is plastic. The strength of plastic and unidirectional nature of the structure plastic makes it a very good option as a thread. As plastic is thermodynamic (can be melted down) recycling makes a lot of sense as the melted plastic can then be used in any number of applications including fabric manufacture.  

Using plastic bottles is optimal given making new plastic requires petroleum and coal. Recycled plastic doesn’t rely on these natural resources. Instead, plastic bottles are shredded into smaller pellets which can then be melted (preferably utilising renewable energy). 

Once melted the plastic is extruded to produce long strands. At this point the plastic isn’t strong enough to be made into thread, so it needs to be combined to create stronger bonds. This material is shredded again into a product that resembles cotton wool. This wool like substance then passes through another step to ensure all fibres are in the same direction. This final fibre can then be turned into thread through a spinning machine. 

Tweed dog collar

How do recycled fabrics (and recycled dog collar) help the environment?

Melting plastic doesn’t sound environmentally friendly and in the ideal world we may want to do away with plastic altogether. The manufacture of fabrics using recycled plastic leads to some very positive benefits:

  • 75% reduction in carbon emissions
  • 70% reduction in energy consumption
  • 80% reduction in water usage

On top of the above benefits, we are also taking a product that would otherwise be waste. Waste would then end up in landfill or worse still the oceans. There are also economic benefits as jobs and industry is being created around recycling. A Recycled dog collar make a lot of sense!

What does the future hold?

Assuming industry can keep improving both recycling and manufacturing process, then we would hope for a full cycle whereby no plastic is ever wasted. On top of this products need to become carbon neutral from manufacture to delivery.

At Oscar & Hooch we intend to continue to innovate to ensure we can be carbon neutral and do our bit for the environment. We are already making steps towards this:

  • All our packaging is fully recycled
  • Transport for distribution to our chosen courier is in an electric vehicle
  • We have introduced recycled dog collar into our range

For the future we aim to give consumers the opportunity to return our products so we can fully square the recycling circle. As a small business we are currently limited in what we do but every purchase will support a brighter future….

The Oscar & Hooch recycled dog collar range

We use two different recycled fabrics. On the inside of our tweed range collars we use an ultra-soft recycled velvet style fabric. This ensures we maintain one of our core purposes of being kind to both dogs and owners (our leads utilise the same fabric). On the outside we have selected a sumptuous, recycled tweed style fabric which reflects the brands style and function. The tweed fabric is quick drying and stain repellent and at the same time machine washable if absolutely required.

Recycled dog collar

Our metalwork isn’t currently recycled (we are working on that!) but can be recycled.

Our recycled tweed range is due to launch later in June 2024.