Often called a wonder material, polar fleece is a man-made fibre which is a soft napped insulating fabric that is made from polyester. Polar fleece is used to create hats, jackets, sweatpants, sweaters, gym clothes, hoodies, blankets, and many other items. It is also used commonly as a clothing liner, particularly in jackets designed for use in colder climates. The material has a significant advantage over other materials, as it can be made from recycled materials, at least in part. Recycled plastic bottles have been part of the production process by companies seeking to lower the environmental impact of clothing production.
Polar fleece which is not made from any recycled materials is made from non-renewable material derived from petroleum, which is detrimental to the environment. Unfortunately, even when using recycled materials, part of polar fleece must be made from materials that cannot be recycled.
One of the most significant and unwelcome environmental impacts of polar fleece is the release of microplastics which are shed from clothing when it is put through a laundry machine. The microplastics become part of domestic wastewater, and eventually end up in the ocean, where they remain for extended periods, due to not being biodegradable.