Everything You Need to Know About Textile Recycling

It's no secret that some industries have not been good for the environment or the planet's resources. Fast-fashion manufacturing is a big part of the problem, but there are ways to mitigate the issue.

Clothes recycling, textile recycling, and clothes repurposing represent a chance to reinvent the fashion industry. Recycled fabric such as cotton and polyester allow brands to be more sustainable while still creating fashionable garments.

But how do you recycle old clothes? There are many ways to go about it, including using clothes recycling bins. This article talks about the many benefits of textile recycling, cloth recycling, and even fabric scrap recycling. Plus, we’ll also explain how can clothes be recycled.

Reasons to Start Clothes Recycling

The textile recycling rate is currently around 15%. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but we must take into account that the percentage has increased steadily.

Still, the majority of clothing ends up in landfills worldwide, and most of that is in developing countries. Promoting clothes recycling practises can change the grim statistic even more significantly.

Furthermore, recycled fashion and recycled material clothing reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Due to a lack of oxygen, it’s difficult for organic materials like cotton and linen to decompose in a landfill.

Instead of biodegrading, they produce methane that is released into the atmosphere, harming the air quality. You don't have to be passionate about sustainability to see the value in using recycled fabric and shopping for recycled fashion.

Also, learning how to recycle clothes and choosing to recycle old clothes from your closet impacts rampant consumerism and conserves the energy used to produce countless clothing garments.

Finally, clothes recycling isn’t complicated, and there’s no excuse not to do it. When you consider all the benefits of cloth recycling, it becomes harder to throw a garment along with other rubbish.

Which Fabrics Can Be Recycled?

Before you recycle old clothes by throwing them into clothes recycling bins, it's crucial to make sure that the fabric can be recycled.

For example, garments with Spandex and Lycra can’t be recycled and will end up in a landfill. That's why it's important to talk more about the textile recycling of materials you can recycle.


Among natural materials, cotton is by far the most popular. The good news is that cotton has a lot of potential when it comes to fabric scrap recycling. You can even recycle your old cotton underwear.

But it's important to point out that the cotton is of lower quality as a recycled material clothing than new cotton. Usually, recycled clothing brands mix the recycled and new cotton for the best results.


When it comes to recycled fashion, many choose to invest in recycled silk. There are many recycled clothing brands that specialise in creating 100% silk yarns from old silk garments.

As a material, silk tends to rip in a straight line and can be easily sewed together again. Often, cloth recycling is more complicated, but with silk, you can get recycled fabric without compromised quality.


Clothes made from recycled materials aren’t only repurposed fabrics. In the case of recycled polyester, the efforts go further. Some recycled clothing brands use materials made from recycled water bottles.

This type of yarn is used to produce various environmentally-friendly garments. The fabric requires far less energy consumption than "virgin" polyester when it comes to clothes recycling.


Are there leather clothes made from recycled materials? While recycled leather is usually associated with upholstery, it does extend into the realm of garments made from recycled materials too.

Some fashion brands solely focus on fabric scrap recycling and create brand-new designs from old leather jackets.


Of all recycled fabric, denim offers the most versatility. If you’re wondering how to recycle clothes made from denim, there are some great options to consider.

Your jeans can become a pair of shorts in no time, and that’s just one example of new clothes made from recycled materials. Some fashion brands recycle denim to create bags and other accessories, but denim can also be used as insulation.

How Can Clothes Be Recycled?

Many people are curious about clothes recycling but aren’t sure where to begin. An excellent starting point for textile recycling is taking your garments to a big brand clothing store.

Many have comprehensive recycling programmes and will even tell you which fabrics can be recycled. Often, these brands also sell garments made from recycled materials.

When it comes to cotton, clothes recycling is even simpler. You can turn old t-shirts into cleaning rags and save some money while practising sustainability. Also, textile recycling is not only for shirts and pants – you can recycle shoes that contain cotton.

We also have to talk about clothes recycling bins. You have probably seen them around and wondered how they work.

Often, these clothes recycling bins are associated with charity organisations collecting clothes for those in need. When it comes to recycling clothes, in general, donating is one of the easiest and rewarding solutions.

Some clothes recycling bins are used by companies that want to turn the garments into recycled fabric. It's essential to read what it says on these clothes recycling bins to decide how you want your clothes to be used. Also, they usually indicate which fabric can be recycled and which can’t.

Finally, you can use old clothes for crafting purposes and find creative ways to reuse them. It's a win-win situation for the environment. You can use cotton or denim to stuff your pet's bed or make next year’s Halloween costume.

Clothes Recycling Made Easy

You may see “recycled fabric" on clothing labels these days, but still not know what that entails. Buying recycled clothes used to be unusual, and the choices were somewhat underwhelming.

Today's clothing industry has made real progress, and many fashion brands focus heavily on using recycled fabric. Still, the term is often used to mislead buyers, so it's essential to be clear about the recycling process. With some fabrics, recycling options are limited, but for others, they are pretty versatile.

Also, as a consumer, you can choose to shop vintage, donate clothing, and research brands that take textile recycling seriously.