Sustainability, ethical, eco-friendly, pollution-free, carbon footfalls, carbon impact etc. are much talked about in the textile industry, a new addition to it, is a word Re-garmenting!
A vertically integrated garment unit carry out all the operations such as spinning, weaving, washing & processing, sewing and packing, thus, the end product is ready. In re-garmenting, the process is different and highly useful for all – a used-garment is sent to re-garmenting/recycling unit – converted into a raw material – pass through a spinning – weaving – washing – sewing – packaging, and finally a garment is ready to wear! So here, new clothes are made out of used clothes. In this article, let us understand this technology in more detail, their importance and benefits.
There are hundreds of apparel/fashion brands selling garments with various sizes, styles, seasons, genders etc. due to the fast fashion, the fashion labels/apparel companies are always in a pursuit for quick sales, and for consumers, it’s a pursuit of looking stylish, fashionable, comfort and witnessing the change in wardrobe, impulsive shopping; all these aspects end up dumping clothes in our wardrobe and eventually being donated to poor, thrown in garbage, being burnt in landfill, giveaway to other needy, sell on second-hand apparels platform or recycling units etc. As per the record, more than 100 billion to 150 billion clothing items being produced in the world every year, around 100 billion cubic metres of water is being used, production of textile is responsible of about 20% of global clean water pollution, 10% of global carbon emissions because of fashion industry, most of the textile products takes a long time for biodegrade, for an example, it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade of synthetic material (around 200 years for a polyester dress!!).
Due to an awareness of sustainable and eco-friendly textiles, various campaigns to save earth/water/air/natural resources/landfill across the world, use of new technologies etc. the recycling and upcycling of used clothes is improvising. There are many start-ups and companies in recycling/upcycling of used clothes business.
Let us understand the process. The used clothes sent to the recycling units are cut into the fabrics, all clothing accessories such as zips, hooks, buttons etc. are removed. They divided into two: natural textiles and synthetic textiles.
- Natural Textiles are sorted by color and material, due to the color segregation it eliminates re-dyeing and thus no chemicals pollution neither water nor air.
- Textiles are then pulled into fibres or shredded. The yarns undergo cleaning and spinning. Ones it is re-spun, the yarn is ready for next process i.e., weaving or knitting.
- Some fibres are also used for fillings in mattresses, car seats etc.
- For Synthetic Textiles, fabrics are cut into smaller pieces.
- The shredded fabrics are granulated arranged into pallets.
- They are ready to be melted and used to create fibres which can be used to make new polyester fabrics.
Companies that are offering recycling solution to clothes are: Freecycle, Trash Nothing, Retold Recycling, Terracycle, Helpsy, Wearable Collections, B.R.A. (Bra Recycling Agency) and more. Brands that use recycle clothes are Thredup, Tonle, Girlfriend Collective, Hanky Panky, Patagonia, Knickey, Pact, H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., MUD Jeans and many more.
It is always great to support brands and companies that uses recycled and sustainable materials such as recycled polyester and plastic bottles in their fabrics. We all have to save mother earth with our collective approach.