Fashion Brands Using Recycled Fabrics
Image credit: Lucy and Yak
Using fabrics created from recycled waste is an amazing way for fashion brands to lower their carbon footprint and reduce it’s stress on the earth. Here are our favourite brands using recycled fabrics.
Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to preserve and protect our precious natural resources. According to the Global Recycling Foundation, each year recyclables save over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions, which is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. Recycling is on the front line in the challenge to save the future of our planet and humanity. To celebrate its importance, Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 to amplify the key role of recycling, and to educate us on how it plays a fundamental role in preserving our planet. Its mission is to tell world leaders that recycling is too important not to be a global issue. As well as asking people across the planet to think resources, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us. More importantly, Global Recycling Day was set up to encourage people to change their perspective on recycling by viewing waste as a valuable future resource.
“Waste is only waste, if you waste it.” Will.I.Am
Every year, the Earth yields billions of tons of natural resources and at some point, in the not too distant future, it will run out. That’s why we must think again about what we throw away – seeing opportunity where we once saw waste. The last decade has been the hottest on record, and we are now facing a climate emergency of unparalleled proportions. If we don’t make significant and rapid changes, we will see continued rising global temperatures, the melting of icecaps, continents on fire and rapid deforestation.
Fashion And Waste
The fashion industry plays a crucial role in contributing to the amount of waste created. According to the recycling platform I:Co, almost 150 million tonnes of clothing and shoes are sold worldwide every year. The majority of this ends up in landfills or is incinerated instead of being reused or recycled. This is a huge waste of valuable resources and causes harm to the environment. Key reasons for this include a lack of consumer awareness around the issues, but also a lack of legislation and the structure needed to recycle at the same scale we produce. The traditional linear supply chain based on the “take-make-waste” business model is unsustainable. The end goal is instead to create an efficient system to close the loop. A circular manufacturing model where raw materials are reused and repurposed again and again, effectively eliminating waste.
Whats the Difference Between Recycling and Upcycling
Recycling involves the destruction of waste to create something new. Upcycling, however, takes waste and creates something new from it in its current state. When upcycling fabrics from pre-existing clothes, you can see what the item has been and also what it has become. You can discover fashion brands that upcycle here. While with certain fabrics recycling is quite direct and intuitive, it often includes innovative scientific processes. Recycling and the future of materials is an exciting field. Upcycling is dependent on the state of the material. If the material is in good condition, it makes more sense to upcycle it rather than recycle. If it can no longer serve any purpose, then it is eco-friendlier to recycle it.
Brands Using Recycled Fabrics
At Maium, the research for durable and sustainable alternatives in production techniques, fabrics and raw materials is their mission. All their materials are certified under GRS and OEKO-TEX(R) Standard 100 principles, and all their raincoats are made from recycled plastic. Their polybags are biodegradable, and they use recycled, reused and reusable carton boxes. Even the lining and taping is made from recycled material! They stick to non-animal products, and 2020 was the year in which they recycled more than a million plastic bottles into their raincoats. It doesn’t stop there, as over the next 5 years, they expect to recycle at least 5 million plastic bottles each and every year.
Pangaia is the brand that finds its inspiration for sustainable and recyclable processes from nature itself. They know that using less-polluting virgin fibres, such as organic cotton, does not address the growing amount of cotton waste globally. They replace it whenever possible with recycled cotton made from repurposed production scraps and retired textiles. This initiative saves 20,000 litres of water per kilogram of cotton and reduces the amount of energy use. To them, the real power in using recycled materials is in offsetting the production of new materials while diverting fabric waste from landfill at the same time. Their Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified recycled cashmere is currently made from 70% post-consumer recycled cashmere and 25% virgin cashmere, and 5% virgin wool.
At Lucy and Yak, 100% of their garments are either organic or recycled. Arguably their most famous product has to be the dungarees that come in a rainbow of colours and are made of organic cotton. But we are lusting after the 90’s style fleeces. Trust us when we say they are the next best thing to a vintage one. They of course come in a variety of cute colours, but all are made from recycled plastic bottles. While the fabric is soft and cosy, Lucy and Yak are keen for you to wash your product safely to avoid microfibre shedding. With this in mind, they also sell Guppy friend bags to help reduce shedding when you wash your fleece or other synthetic items. Plus your purchase comes in a bag that is 100% recycled and reusable and they have switched entirely to 100% recycled paper bags or biodegradable mailing bags.
At Mud Jeans, their stats for recycling are impressive and inspiring. With a goal to design the first jeans made from 100% post-consumer recycled cotton, they aren’t far from their target. Their reputation as a seriously sustainable jeans company is unparalleled. MUD has already turned 20,000 pairs of jeans into new denim. These steps towards circularity are also helped by their take-back scheme. They’ve collected jeans that consist of more than 96% cotton in order to recycled them. They then produce new fabrics in collaboration with the denim experts at Recover and Tijedos Royo in Valencia, containing 40% post-consumer recycled cotton. This is the highest percentage out there. While currently recycled cotton is more expensive than virgin cotton, MUD are hoping that their efforts will help to change this so that more brands can viably use recycled cotton.
Did you know that only 1% of materials used to make textiles is recycled into new textiles? Riley Studio plans to do its part in making the fashion system more sustainable. They create from waste materials instead of virgin fibres whenever possible. As an example, they use recot²® yarn for their t-shirts, which is a blend of 25% recycled cotton (from cotton waste) and 75% organic cotton. As a result of using this yarn, and with their latest state of the art spinning technology, 5,000 litres of water can be saved for every kilogram of recot² yarn used. They have already saved 715,000 litres of water using these techniques. Riley also use ECONYL® yarn, a form of regenerated nylon. This wonder fabric is made from post-consumer waste like abandoned fishing nets and carpet, as well as pre-consumer waste such as fabric scraps, yarn discards and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans across the world.
Brixtol is the brand committed to the use of recycled materials. They use recycled wool derived from old wool garments, a time consuming process, which then ends up as coats and jackets. Recycled PET is used to produce their puffer jackets, which is made out of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The ability to recycle these bottles, not only to make new bottles, has huge potential to decrease our global waste issue in the long run. Therefore Brixtol use it where they can, it also makes up the padding in their jackets. Recycled cotton is also used and comes from production spill from factories situated in the Jiangsu and Anhui provinces in China. This cotton would commonly be thrown away, causing a great loss of resources.
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