BEIJING – Since textile microfibre pollution hit the mainstream headlines, manufacturers producing garments from synthetic materials have – like the microfibre particles the apparel appears to shed – found themselves hurled into choppy waters.

Perhaps in light of this, China has been on a recent campaign to alter its polluting image. A ban on importing foreign waste (primarily PET) and tighter restrictions on emissions imposed on the nation’s manufacturers all made for good PR and perhaps even changed China’s image in the eyes of some.

It is therefore a little contrary to this environmental charm offensive that one of the largest Chinese petrochemical plants – closed for three years following a huge fire – looks set to reopen with the aim of capitalising on what sources have described as a “growing global demand for virgin polyester.”

If this is approved by the Chinese government, where does this fit into the country’s new environmentally-conscious brand, and which apparel brands will be buying all this virgin polyester for its garments?

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