These are fibres obtained by transforming waste that has been meticulously sorted and processed so that it can be reused for making new clothing and, therefore, upgraded.
In the textile field, waste is collected at two stages in a garment's life cycle:
or the leftover yarn and fabric scraps resulting from textile production
or garments, upholstery fabric, napkins, and other textile materials that have reached the end of their life
By using reusable products and reducing waste, recycling is one of the best solutions for countering the disposal of waste by landfill or incineration.
This is where recycled fibres come in.
Conventional polyester is the most utilized fibre in the clothing industry. Like plastic, it's made of a synthetic material sourced from fossil-based resources. Recycled polyester is an alternative that eliminates the need for new petroleum and helps keep plastic waste from accumulating in our environment.
After being collected and sorted, the plastic waste is thoroughly washed and treated. These bits of plastic are then melted and turned into fibres. This preserves the quality of the material and allows the fabric to be recycled an infinite number of times.
Sources: HIGG MSI3 comparing GRS-certified, mechanically recycled polyester to conventional polyester
Frequently found in clothing, nylon is also frequently found in our seas and oceans. Every year, it's estimated that roughly 600,000 metric tons of fishing equipment, including nylon nets, are discarded into them. This represents 10% of the debris found in our bodies of water.4
Although more technical and expensive than transforming plastic waste, nylon recycling is possible and has excellent environmental benefits.
Included in the scraps used to make recycled nylon products are:
- Fishing nets
- Post-industrial fabric scraps
- Reclaimed clothing
Source: HIGG MSI3 comparing GRS-certified, mechanically recycled nylon to conventional nylon
This popular natural fibre is also one that can be recycled! Recycled cotton gives textile scraps a second life. By reusing reclaimed clothing, cotton scraps, and other post-industrial and post-consumer waste to compensate for the production of new materials, the amount of water, energy, and dye used is massively reduced.
Sources: HIGG MSI3 comparing recycled cotton to conventional cotton
Wool is a material that's cherished and highly sought after by consumers. In order to enjoy its thermal properties and sophistication while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact linked to its production, be sure to select pieces made of recycled wool fibres.
In addition to giving materials a second life, this alternative helps eliminate the carbon emissions linked to animal farming.
As wool is a durable and high-quality material, the clothing made out of it can last a long time. In fact, many studies5 show that wool garments stay in our wardrobes longer than clothing made of other materials and that they are more likely to be recycled at the end of their life.6 According to the International Wool Textile Organization, wool items account for 5% of the total weight of consumer clothing donations. So keep your well-loved wool pieces for years, and think about donating them to someone else when the time comes!
Sources: HIGG MSI3 comparing GRS-certified recycled wool derived from textile scraps with Australian virgin wool
TENCELTM Lyocell with REFIBRATM Technology
Relatively new in the textile market, TENCELTM Lyocell fibres are produced with innovative REFIBRATM technology, which involves upcycling cotton scraps in addition to wood pulp during the manufacturing process.
It should be noted that the wood pulp used to produce this material comes entirely from certified and controlled sources. Additionally, TENCELTM Lyocell is made using a closed-loop production process, meaning that the water and solvents are reused every time. This way, nothing is wasted, contaminated, or thrown away!
Sources: HIGG MSI3 comparing TENCELTM Lyocell to conventional lyocell
Recycled polyester spaghetti strap jumpsuit
Recycled chiffon belted jumpsuit
Loose corduroy shirt
Windowpane check overshirt
Recycled cotton ribbed turtleneck
Cropped recycled nylon puffer
Eco-friendly urban check shirt
Eco-friendly nylon-pocket half-zip fleece top
Stretch organic cotton mom jean
Recycled fibre half-zip fleece
Solid sporty joggers
Recycled cotton solid Oxford shirt
Recycled polyester hooded puffer jacket
Blocked polar fleece half-zip pullover
Graphic art recycled cotton T-shirt
Eco-friendly essential ultralight tee
3 These results were calculated with the help of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The Higg MSI analyzes the impact of materials over their entire life cycle (up until the materials are ready to be assembled into a product). The Higg MSI scores or the calculations of percentages provided here represent only one production step within the scope of the Higg MSI (for example, fibres or raw materials). They do not provide an overall view of the impacts involved in the production of materials. The SAC does not verify the results of users' custom materials. (Higg Materials Sustainability Index, 2020) https://msi.higg.org/page/msi-home
5 http://www.iwto.org/re-use-and-recycling /
6 Wool items account for 5% of the total weight of consumer clothing donations, according to the International Wool Textile Organization (http://www.iwto.org/)