John Lewis’ new range of towels made from recycled plastic bottles will still pollute the oceans, campaigners have warned.
Next month the retail company will become the first to stock towels recycled from cast-off clothing and used plastic.
The Croft Collection range will be made using 35 per cent polyester from recycled bottles – each bath towel will use roughly 11 one-litre bottles.
The only other element used in the products, which have been in development for the last 18 months, will be recycled cotton, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Five tonnes of fabric is estimated to be saved from landfill each year by avoiding the use of virgin cotton, according to John Lewis.
The retailer is also set to launch duvets made using 100 per cent recycled polyester from plastic bottles.
To create one 10.5 tog double duvet approximately 120 plastic bottles will be used.
However, plastic campaigners have criticised the new products.
Sian Sutherland, founder of campaign Plastic Planet, said the invention was ‘well-intended but misguided’ and will only contribute more to plastic pollution.
She said: ‘Every time you wash a synthetic garment, trillions of plastic microfibres wash into our water system.
‘We know about plastic bottle pollution and single use plastic pollution but the amount of nanoplastic which comes from synthetic fibres is an equally big problem which we’re just becoming aware of.
‘You’ll be washing something you know will produce plastic microfibres, and just think how often we wash our towels.’
She claimed recycling plastic is not a cycle, but a downward spiral instead.
‘It’ll all still end up in landfill or in our oceans’, she added.
‘This makes us think it’s fine to use plastic in this way because it’s going to have a second life, but recycling is never going to be the answer.
‘The focus should be to use different materials, rather than perpetuating the myth you can recycle plastic endlessly.’
Zoe Brady, Towel Buyer for John Lewis, said: ‘It took 18 months to develop these towels with our supplier. Initially it was hard to create the soft, luxurious feeling we wanted from recycled materials but we got there in the end.
‘The recycled polyester makes these towels quick drying and the cotton means they’re highly absorbent too.’
The towels are certified by the Global Recycled Standard.
A bath sheet will cost £24, while John Lewis will charge £5 for a face cloth.
They will come in ash grey, marine green and ivory white.
For more than a decade the Daily Mail has campaigned to end the scourge of plastic bags clogging the oceans, choking turtles, killing sea birds, poisoning fish and threatening human health.
The newspaper has fought endlessly for plastic bags to be banished, the introduction of a plastic bottle deposit scheme, and action to be taken on the mountain of non-recyclable coffee cups blighting the country.
The plastic bag levy was imposed on supermarkets and other large retailers in October 2105 following the Mail’s successful Banish the Bags campaign.
The charge was designed to reduce the number of carriers shops hand out because each can take 1,000 years to degrade after being used for an average of 20 minutes.
The Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign introduced last year has led calls for measures to stop the tide of waste that is poisoning the oceans.
The Mail has also previously successfully campaigned for toxic plastic microbeads to be banned from cosmetic products.
John Lewis declined to comment.