As China Bans Plastic Waste Imports, Demand for Polyester Fabrics Picks Up


This Thomas Index Report is sponsored by Eastex Products, a leading provider of textile products and solutions to the textile-based manufacturing industry.

Hello. In this week’s Thomas Index Report, we’re going to take a look at sourcing activity for Polyester Fabrics by users of the platform. Our data shows that over the past 12 weeks, sourcing activity for this category is up 10% over its historical average.

Our firmographic buyer data shows that three of the top industries driving this trend are textiles, apparel, and health care & medical.

Say the words "polyester fabric," and to a lot of folks, it conjures up images of tacky leisure suits from the 1970s. But polyester actually burst onto the textiles scene decades earlier, as following World War II many clothing manufacturers began shifting away from natural materials such cotton, wool, and linen, and moving toward man-made textiles that were less costly and faster to produce.

Believe it or not, today polyester is the dominant fabric in the clothing industry, with annual global production exceeding 22 billion tons. In recent years, there has been a trend toward using recycled plastic bottles to produce polyester fiber, with a good number of entrepreneurs and companies using plastic waste recovered from the world’s oceans, landfills, and recycling centers.

We recently covered the growing crisis in Plastic Recycling here in the U.S., as recyclable plastic waste is literally piling up at landfills and collection centers due to China’s recent decision to stop importing much of our post-consumer waste. While this is an issue that will take some very creative thinking and actions to address, it’s apparent that many in the polyester fabric industry are doing their part to provide more sustainable solutions moving forward.

Overall, Polyester is still a growing category; according to research by, the polyester fiber market will rise at an 8% combined annual growth rate to 2024, when it’s expected to be more than a 165-billion-dollar market.

In addition to Polyester Fabrics, sourcing activity is also up 8% in the related category of Polyester Film over the past 12 weeks.

Moving on from Polyester, here’s a look at the top 10 industrial product and service categories being sourced on the platform over the past four weeks.

  1. Steel
  2. Food Products
  3. Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)
  4. Injection Molded Plastics
  5. CNC Machining
  6. Corrugated Boxes
  7. Contract Manufacturing
  8. Tube Fabrication & Bending Services
  9. Construction Equipment
  10. Plastics

To get this weekly Thomas Index Report — as well as daily news and information for industry — please sign up for our Thomas Industry Update newsletter at

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

Star Trek Inspires New 3D PrinterNext Story »