Some music lovers now have an opportunity to display their allegiance to singing stars by wearing plastic bottles. More specifically, bottles that have been turned into T-shirts.
Gardena-based Chaser Merchandising, which makes licensed music apparel, recently unveiled a line of shirts that contain recycled bottle material.
John Houston, a product developer for the company, said this showed the green movement has even come to concert T's.
"It's really taken on a new impetus in the last couple of years," he said. "We started hearing demand in the marketplace."
The privately held company, founded in 1988, makes about 8 million garments a year. Only a fraction of those are made from plastic bottles, but Houston said the percentage is growing.
The first artist to sign up for the plastic-bottle shirts was country music star Keith Urban, who has begun selling them at his concerts.
"The idea that our concert T's could retain the same look and feel, but be partly made from recycled materials, appealed greatly to me," Urban said in a statement. "I believe making even a small contribution like this and running our trucks on bio-diesel can make a big difference."
In order to make the shirts, the company collects the bottles and crushes them. That material is then turned into a fiber, which is spun into yarn. Chaser then blends that yarn with cotton to make the shirts.
Each shirt contains material from two to four bottles.
The process has been around for some time, but the fabric previously has been plagued by a distinct stiffness. Houston said Chaser worked hard to create a shirt that was as soft as cotton-polyester blends.
From an environmental perspective, the process removes plastic from landfills and uses less energy than traditional garment manufacturing.
Carolyn Allen, publisher for environmental business consulting group California Green Solutions, said there are a number of companies adding green products to their lines as environmental consciousness has come into vogue. A product such as this one can help a company set itself apart.
"Plastic is such a problem for our ocean that anything we can do to keep them in use is probably a good thing," Allen said.
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