Sustainable Fabrics – Recycled Cotton

Yes! Our unisex, relaxed fit sweater is ready! That is… we have the print designs, patterns, and samples, but now we need the most comfortable sustainable fabric to start production.

Post-consumer textile at TexNed

The easy choice would be organic cotton. This is a more sustainable choice than regular cotton because organic farmers don’t use harmful chemicals, pesticides, or machines. However, also for organic cotton, a lot of water is used: about 2.700 liters for one (bio) cotton shirt.

A more sustainable solution is recycled cotton, either from pre-consumer waste (like leftover fabric or cutting waste) or from post-consumer waste (used clothing for example). A blend of recycled cotton and a sustainable fibre such as Lyocell, could save up to 2.500 liters of water per shirt! Unfortunately, recycled cotton isn’t widely available yet. While learning more and more about textiles, we discovered that there are three types of issues to overcome if you want to work with recycled cotton.

First there are technical challenges, such as the quality of sorted fibers. Secondly, there are a lot of different producers involved. The used cotton needs to be collected, sorted, shredded, spun, and knitted. Since the quality and alignment of every stage is crucial to produce textile from recycled fabric, this requires a lot of effort and commitment from every partner to succeed.

The third and what we consider a key element in this is the minimum order quantity. To make it interesting for producers to invest and participate, we need scale! And to reach scale, we need demand. Consumers and regulators should create the conditions for producers to offer recycled cotton products.

Circular Cotton Initiative

Collaboration for Recycled Cotton

That’s where we come in! We are here to inspire you. Not just by talking, but mainly by doing.

We’re participating in an experiment to create a superblend with recycled cotton and other natural fibers for our sweaters. This is a small-scale experiment together with 5 sustainable textile experts, where we found several producers willing to participate. The result will be a soft knitted sweat fabric, existing of at least 40% recycled post-consumer waste! So, don’t break a sweat – your sustainably produced sweater will be here soon.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: