Important Reasons for Textile Recycling | Benefits of Textile Recycling

What is Textile Recycling?
Textile recycling is the process of reusing or reprocessing used clothing, fibrous material and clothing scraps from the manufacturing process. We can also define textile recycling in the following way; It is the reuse as well as reproduction of fibers from textile waste open recycling refers to the process of mechanically or chemically opening the fibers so as to return it to as fibrous form. Mechanically this involves cutting, shredding, carding and once the post-consumer textile are opened they can be further processed into new product for renewed consumption. Primary approaches involve recycling a product into its original form. Secondary recycling involves melt processing a plastic product into a new product. Tertiary recycling involves pyrolysis and hydrolysis, which convert the plastic waste into basic chemical or fuel. Quaternary recycling refers to burning the fibrous solid waste and utilizing the heat generated.

Important Reasons for Textile Recycling:
There are many compelling reasons for the recycling of waste from textile products and processes. The resources on this planet are ultimately finite. The two key fibers in the textile industry are cotton and polyester which represent over 85% of global fiber production. Cotton relies on a finite land mass for agriculture and competes with food production. Polyester relies on finite sources of oil (petroleum based) and its extraction is damaging to the environment. In 2014 the global production of polyester filaments and cotton fiber was approximately 65 million tonnes this number is estimated to grow in upcoming years with growing population demand and increasingly unstable climate we are facing global textile resource scarcity but also the hazardous environmental impact of textile fiber production. Therefore effective resources management in the industry is now becoming high-priority. Environmental issues are also associated with sector – include high energy and water usage and use of toxic chemicals. Synthetic fibers products will not decompose in the landfills. Taking 100’s of years to decompose such waste discarded in landfill has no resale value and it pollute the atmosphere, if not degraded they get accumulated and spread infectious diseases and foul smell. Woollen garments do decompose but they also produce methane gas which contributes to the global warming.

Recycling of waste from textile processes and products have many convincing reasons. They include reduction of the landfills need, resources conservation, and paying the related tipping fee, and facility of low-cost raw materials for making products. Even then, in actual, the textiles recycling rate is not very high. Moreover, the often endorsed reason of inadequate public will to participate in recycling, economics is frequently the reason of acceptance of other waste disposal modes.

Besides, textile and clothing industry is the most polluting industry in the world. Textiles have a significant impact on the environment during their lifecycle. Large amount of water, energy, chemicals are need in textile manufacturing. Textile recycling will be significant to reduce pollution. In order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, efforts are made to increase textile recycling.

What to Recycle?
Clothing-shirt, pants, jackets, suit, hats, belts, ties, scarves, hat, socks, etc. Footwear, shoes, sandals, boots. House hold textiles – curtain, drapes, sheets, blankets, comforter, towels, mats, etc.

textile recycling
Fig: Old clothes and household textiles for recycling

Where do We Get Waste Textiles?

  • The majority of textile waste comes from household sources. Average life time of any clothing is deemed to be about 3 years after which they are thrown away as old clothes .sometime even not so worn garment are also discarded as they became unfashionable or undesirable.
  • Textile waste also arises during yarn and fabric manufacturing, apparel making process and from the retail industry.
  • PET bottles are also used for recycling polyester fiber.
  • Majority of past consumer textile is currently collected by charities and sort the collected materials selling it on to merchant in the appropriate sectors.

Benefits and Advantages of Textile Recycling:
As we consider the case of textile and apparel recycling it becomes apparent that the process impacts many entities and contributes significantly, in a broader sense, to the social responsibility of contemporary culture. By recycling, companies can realize larger profits because they avoid charges associated with dumping in landfills, while at the same time contributing to goodwill associated with environmentalism, employment for marginally employable laborers, donations to charities and disaster relief, and the movement of used clothing to areas of the world where clothing is needed.

There are many significant benefits of textile recycling. I have given some benefits of recycling here:

  1. Recycle textile provide low-cost quality clothing.
  2. Keeping used textile out of trash reduces disposal cost of government
  3. Lesser energy is consumed while processing.
  4. Protecting the planet for future generation.
  5. Textile recycling saves energy and reduces pollution.
  6. Recycling provides both environmental and economic benefits.
  7. Textile recycling reduces pressure on new resources.
  8. Textile recycling reduces the demand for dyes and fixing agents.

Textile recycling material can be classified as either pre-consumer or postconsumer waste; textile recycling removes this waste from the waste stream and recycles it back into the market (both industrial and end-consumer). Pre-consumer waste consists of by-product materials from the textile, fiber, and cotton industries that are re-manufactured for the automotive, aeronautic, home building, furniture, mattress, coarse yarn, home furnishings, paper, apparel, and other industries. Post-consumer waste is defined as any type of garment or household article made from manufactured textiles that the owner no longer needs and decides to discard. These articles are discarded either because they are worn out, damaged, outgrown, or have gone out of fashion. These are sometimes given to charities or passed on to friends and family, but ultimately deposited into the trash and end up in the municipal landfills.

List of Textile Recycled Products:

  1. Fabric fruit basket, foot mats, bottle cover, laundry bags, hot pads.
  2. Furniture stuffing, seat stuffing.
  3. Quilts, blankets and carpets.
  4. Cotton can be used for making rags, high quality paper, wiping cloth.
  5. Wool can be used for car insulation, absorption, baseball and soft ball filling.
  6. Velvet material became jewellery box lining.
  7. Medical products (bandages), diapers and other disposables items.
  8. Threads waste can be used in making mops, padding, and home furnishing.


  1. Sustainability in Fashion and Apparels: Challenges and Solutions by M. Parthiban, M. R. Srikrishnan, P. Kandhavadivu
  2. Recycling in textiles Edited by Youjiang Wang
  3. Recycling textile and plastic waste Edited by A Richard Horrocks
  4. Textile Engineering – An Introduction Edited by Yasir Nawab

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  6. A Fundamental Guide for Fruitful Textile Recycling Business

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