Bottles to Tees, Design by Thee

by Cai Li and Khloie

Have you ever wondered what does the triangular, recycle sign with numbering on the bottom of bottles and plastic cups mean? It does not refer to the weight or colour, it actually represents the type of plastic that can be recycled! For example, PolyEthylene Terephthalate or PET bottles with the label number 1, used to contain mineral water or soft drinks, can be recycled into many things.

Just an idea, would it be great if your blankets or carpets are made from used bottles instead of wasting even more natural resources and oil? And would it not be even better if you could wear your mantra? Out of love for the environment, we started Qloov (Quirky Cloud of Verde), to start an eco-movement by showcasing great crowd sourced designs on T-shirts that are made from Recycled PET bottles!

These recycled PET bottles are basically a sub-group of Polyester, a common name for fibers that are used to make fabrics, like jackets, blankets and shoes. Just look at your own shirt and you should be able to spot Polyester in the label. Yes, they are made from petroleum-based product!

From bottles into Tees, how is it possible?

Many have asked. It is basically a ten-step process as follows:
1. Sorting by colours,
2. Removing caps,
3. Pressing into bales,
4. Removing labels,
5. Crushing them into flakes.
6. Then washing and drying the flakes,
7. Granulating them into chips,
8. Pulling and stretching into yarn,
9. Made into fabrics,
10. Sewn as T-shirts!

Your impact

A large size Qloov T-shirt is made from 8 bottles. That equates to saving 167g of carbon dioxide, 3.45 litres of petroleum and 587.39 litres of water! This saves 30% carbon emission and up to 70% energy compared to making a t-shirt completely new from crude oil. Secondly it converts plastic bottles, which would otherwise have been incinerated in or land filled, into a reusable and wearable piece of art.

Contrary to common belief, recycled PET fabrics are very soft, comfortable and quick-drying. Nike and New balance have been using them! Plus it looks good and feels great, it is a statement, with unique designs created by people like you and me.

Also many people are unaware of how our cotton piece can impact our environment in undesirable ways. Although cotton only covers 1.6 percent of agricultural land, they account for 16 percent of global insecticides. Not only that, it takes around 2700 litres of water to make just 1 cotton shirt.

What Qloov does

To educate and engage more people in joining our PETshirt-revolution, we hold monthly T-shirt design contests, with themes related to environment protection.

Till 28 September 2011, we are having a contest with ACRES for the campaign “Saving the World’s Saddest Dolphins”. $5 per T-shirt sold from this collection goes to helping ACRES in their efforts. Download the submission kit here. In addition, the winning designs can win up to $600! Similarly, in October we will be working with ECO Singapore on “Responsible Consumerism”.

We empower people like you and me to save the environment and promote a cause, simply by designing or purchasing our t-shirts. We believe in the power of collaborative crowd action!

We also love to work with businesses who want to wear green and live green. Look forward to special contests from us, like designing for a new uniform or green event! Talk to us, if you want to change your company’s old cotton ensemble.

We hope that more people will realise the benefit of recycling and help make the world a better place. For one, we are sure that, now, you know that plastic bottles can be recycled into great things for our daily lives! Start by sorting them before recycling will help to cut time and energy in processing them! That means cheaper and better recycled products coming your way!

So join us, and you can help the environment and social causes simply by wearing your Qloov statement tee!

Cai Li is a penultimate Materials Science Student and believes in collaborative actions and crowd movement, plus of course great green technology!

Khloie is an educator who loves to spread great green ideas and products to everyone else, the more the merrier!

Hi, I’m Tanky! I’m a fresh grad who specializes in illustration and traditional hand-drawn animation. I love chicken rice with steamed chicken drumstick! I live at