Plastic straws and single-use plastic bags are not the only products that wind up in landfills and contribute to the acceleration of the climate crisis. Many individuals are surprised to find that textiles such as clothing and fabric contribute to environmental issues. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the average American creates 70 pounds of rubbish in the form of clothing and textiles in a single year. To make matters worse, according to the EPA, textile waste accounts for around 5% of the total landfill area.

That’s a lot of clothes, textiles, and other materials, all of which were almost definitely utilized for a variety of reasons.

Old fabric and other forms of textiles should not be thrown away in the trash since they are not waste. Donating textiles gives them a second life as part of someone else’s wardrobe, or they may be recycled and reused several times. In fact, giving away clothes as a solution to the problem of extra annual textile production is not a foolproof technique (in both fast fashion and otherwise, the fashion industry in general really needs to slow down). However, if the firm is compelled to wait until the materials and textiles are recycled, this might be a considerable barrier.

Do you want to learn more about the textile recycling process and how to properly dispose of your old clothes? Continue reading!

Is it feasible to recycle cloth wherever possible?

Although recycling is feasible for almost all textiles, only around 15% of them are now recycled, according to Recycle Nation. This equates to 1.75 million metric tonnes or 15% of the 14.3 million metric tonnes of textile waste created in the United States each year.

One of the numerous ways that worn fabric may be recycled into new goods is to donate it to charity. Upcycling and donation centers are two more options. Fabric scraps that would otherwise be discarded may be utilized to manufacture rags, which can then be used to clean a variety of business cars and equipment. Insulation may also be made from recycled cloth by cutting it into small strips and sewing it back together. Building insulation may be made from the fabric of old sweatshirts, such as those you no longer wear.

Which garments can be reused or recycled, and which cannot?

According to Recycle Nation, practically all textiles may be recycled and reused. If the underwear is clean enough, it may be reused.

Clothes are one of the most easily processed recyclable items. Giving your old clothes to a nonprofit organization, community center, or shop that sells secondhand products is one way to recycle them. You are engaging in recycling when you find a new owner for the clothing since you are reusing them in this manner. Regardless, gifts of patched clothing or scraps of fabric are ineffective and should be avoided. These leftovers should be easy to recycle.

How can we reduce the quantity of fabric that is wasted?

Giving unneeded clothes to a nonprofit organization or secondhand store is a great way to get started with textile recycling. Fabric and fabric remnants may be recycled if you do not want to or are unable to give them.

It depends on where you live, but the majority of big cities have developed textile collection and recycling programs. Before contacting a textile recycling organization, ensure that your material is in excellent shape.

However, this does not mean that the items you use must be in excellent condition and show no traces of previous use. Any pair of underwear, no matter how soiled or ancient, may be recycled. Keeping your textiles in a clean and dry environment helps preserve them in good shape for recycling. Before reusing a cloth, make sure it has been cleaned and dried within the last several days. When damp, moldy, or otherwise dirty fabric is combined with clean textiles in a recycling bin, the whole container may become polluted.

Wet textiles pose a hazard to the other goods in the load in addition to being a possible source of germs. Not only is recycling a resource-intensive operation. It also requires the export of bales of recovered fabric, raising the possibility that other materials may “catch” the germs already present in the recycled fabric. Because of the microorganisms present, the bales might spontaneously ignite and catch fire.

In a nutshell, if you want to recycle fabric, you need to wait until it has been thoroughly cleaned and entirely dried before doing so.

Is it feasible to recycle cloth wherever possible?

The bulk of city curbside recycling programs, on the other hand, do not take fabric. If you have fabric that you would want to donate or recycle, contact a local curbside pick-up service.

The following is the technique for recycling fabric:

Remaking fibers from old clothes and other textiles is an essential aspect of the textile recycling process. Donated textiles are sorted, packed, and transported to recycling facilities. Further, they are processed and converted into secondary raw materials.

Because recycled textiles contain both natural and synthetic fibers. They must go through two separate processing steps in order to be completely recycled. As a result, the process is heavily reliant on the sorting of textiles that occurs after contributions are made. Color, fiber type (synthetic vs natural), and end users all play important roles in the classification method used for textiles.

Yarn can be created by either pulling textiles into fibers or shredding them after they have been properly sorted. After the textiles have been sorted, both of these processes take place. After it has been cleaned, the yarn must be processed. Respinning the yarn allows it to be reused for knitting or weaving.

Any fiber that cannot be spun into yards can be compacted and used as insulation or mattress stuffing.

“Recycling” refers to the process of granulating polyester fabrics into chips in order to recycle them. The chips are melted down to create virgin fibers, which are then used to make new polyester fabrics.