What is Textile Recycling?

Textile recycling is the process of recovering used clothing and other textiles for re-use or to extract raw materials for manufacture of new products. This helps reduce waste, conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of new textiles. The process of textile recycling typically involves sorting, grading, cleaning, and processing the textiles, often by mechanically breaking down the fibers into short lengths that can be spun into new yarn. The resulting recycled fibers may be used to produce new clothing, household items, or industrial products. Textile recycling also provides economic benefits, as it creates jobs and reduces the demand for raw materials and energy used in textile production.

The amount of clothing that can be recycled depends on various factors such as the type of clothing, the condition of the clothing, the process used for recycling, and the demand for recycled fibers. In general, it is estimated that approximately 80-90% of used clothing and textiles can be recycled, although the exact amount may vary depending on the specific circumstances.

However, a significant portion of used clothing and textiles are still discarded as waste, rather than being recycled. This is due to a variety of factors, including the perception that the clothing is not in good enough condition to be recycled, lack of access to recycling facilities, and lack of education about the benefits of textile recycling. Encouraging greater participation in textile recycling programs and increasing access to recycling facilities could help increase the amount of clothing and textiles that are recycled.

The Sustainable Fashion Community Center works with Green Tree Textile Recycling, a non-profit organization based in Bronx, New York that aims to reduce waste by collecting and processing used clothing and textiles. They work with schools, community organizations, and businesses to collect used clothing and textiles, which are then sorted and processed for re-use or to extract raw materials. The organization states that its mission is to “create a more sustainable future by diverting textiles from landfills and putting them back into use”. By participating in Green Tree Textile Recycling’s programs, individuals and organizations can help reduce waste and support a more sustainable future.

To help sort, organize and learn more volunteer at The Sustainable Fashion Community Center.

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