If you are up on the latest fashion trends, you are probably well aware of what colors they are showing this year, what cuts are most impressive and which prints are sure to make a splash. But there is one trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and that’s the trend of recycled fashion.
With an emphasis on saving the environment, many industries are turning to recycled resources to reduce their environmental footprint and the fashion industry is no exception. Using recycled fibers results in fewer landfill spaces, a reduced demand for dyes and less pollution. It is for this reason that more fashionistas are looking to incorporate recycled fashions into their collections making this the trend of the future.
Read on to find out more about recycled fashions and why you should be looking out for them in planning your next collection.
Benefits of Recycled Clothing
To truly embrace the fashion recycling trend, it is important to understand the benefits of recycled clothing. Here are some key points:
• Reduces Waste in Landfills: Landfill space is expensive and hard to find. That’s why it’s important to keep as much waste out of landfills as possible. Recycling clothing keeps garments from taking up valuable landfill space.
• Benefits the Environment: Once clothing is put in landfills, harmful dyes and fabric materials can get into the air to harm the environment. Even biodegradable, natural fabrics do not degrade well under landfill conditions due to a lack of sunlight and oxygen. Reusing the clothing minimizes the amount of fabrics left in landfills to pollute the atmosphere.
• Reduces Waste in General: Recycling clothing turns waste into value adding products.
• Stimulates the Economy: The process of recycling clothing provides jobs for unskilled workers helping to boost employment and stimulate economies around the world.
How Does the Clothing Recycling Process Work?
Clothing recycling is done in stages, including:
Collection: Clothing recyclers find the clothing to be recycled using a variety of strategies. They may pick them up from public bins located in high trafficked areas like business centers and shopping malls. They can also access clothing through clothing drives and door to door collection.
Sorting: After clothing is collected, it gets sorted into three groups: reuse, rags and fiber. Typically, the sorting process is done manually by experts who can identify different types of textiles. Conveyer belts and bins are often used to speed the process along.
Once clothing is sorted, recyclers determine what will be done with the fabric. Options include the following:
• Clothing may be donated to thrift stores to be sold
• Clothing may be sent to developing countries
• Clothing may be used for rags and wipes
• Clothing may be reduced to fibrous materials
Processing: Fabrics that are categorized as being reusable may be processed in different ways.
Natural textiles are sorted in terms of color and material. Putting like colors together reduces the need for re-dying which can add to pollution and consume energy.
The clothing is then torn and combined with similar fibers. Next, it is cleaned, spun and compressed for use in the production of other clothing. It can also be used for mattress production, furniture padding, panel linings, loudspeaker cones, car insulation and many other products that might surprise you.
The process is a bit different with polyester material. In these instances, zipper and buttons are removed and the clothing is then cut into smaller pieces. The pieces are granulated and shaped into pellets to then give a new life to the next batch of textile products.
Through these exacting processes, manufacturers are able to create recycled versions of all-time favorite styles that are just as soft and luxurious as brand new clothing, and the number of cycles is practically unlimited.
Statistics on Clothing Recycling
As people are becoming more environmentally responsible, recycled swimwear, sportswear, loungewear, tees and many other products are becoming more popular. Apparel companies are looking to incorporate more recycled fashions into their product lines knowing that this essentially creates a timeless connection with the present generation of consumers who are mindful about sustainability issues. Technology is also being developed to make the recycling process more efficient.
Now let’s take a look at some 2019 statistics concerning how the recycled fashion movement is impacting the world.
• The average American throws away about 80 pounds of used clothing a year. On average, it costs cities $45 to dispose of a ton of clothing. Synthetic clothing can take hundreds of years to decompose.
• Only .1% of recycled fibers collected by charities is recycled into new textiles.
• Consumers are mostly to blame for not recycling. Only 15% of consumer used clothing is recycled. More than 75% of pre-use clothing is recycled by manufacturers.
• Almost 100% of textiles are recyclable.
• The annual impact of a household’s clothing is equal to the need to fill 1,000 bathtubs or the carbon emissions a modern car produces driving 6,000 miles.
• The recycling of two million tons of clothing per year would equal taking one million cars off of U.S. streets in terms of its benefits on the environment.
• 85% of used textiles in the United States go to national landfills.
Clearly there is room for improvement when it comes to the consumer’s clothing recycling efforts.
Businesses That Are Doing Their Part
While end users can clearly be doing more in their efforts to save the environment through responsible consumption, it is refreshing to see that many companies are doing their part. Ecico Group is on the frontline when it comes to supplying high quality, recycled fashion apparels to apparel brands across the globe. We manage, develop and produce apparel helping to bring our client’s design visions to life. We offer competitive pricing, stringent quality control and terrific customer service. We work with a variety of textiles and are committed to always offer a recycled version of fabrics that you have selected for your developments.
If you are a designer, buyer or product developer looking to get more sustainable products into your locations, contact us to find out more and request recyclable textile swatches.