Recycling has gained importance with the problems caused by industrialization such as the depletion of natural resources and the increase in environmental pollution. Efforts to improve recycling in the textile industry, second to the petroleum industry in polluting the world, has gained momentum day by day.
Textile waste consists of wastes from artificial yarn factories, textile manufacturing wastes and consumer wastes. Organizations, which aim to produce global solutions for the textile and apparel industries are working on the reuse and recycling of textile wastes.
Intensive efforts are being made for the reuse of almost 100% of textile products as it bears a great importance. For example, denim products may contain up to 20% recycled cotton fibers. More technological innovation is needed in ordeer to increase this rate without compromising quality. In the recycling of denim products, unused denim products are disintegrated until they turn into fibers. Most of these fibers are used as insulating material while the rest of them is mixed with unused fibers to produce new fabrics.
Recycling Helps Reduce Carbon Footprint
Recycling facilities are needed to use clothes for recycling. A recycling facility can be established if 500 tons or more textile products can be collected on a daily basis. Natural resources are conserved, energy saving is achieved, waste amount is reduced, economy is contributed, and more investment can be made for the future all thanks to the waste recycling.
To produce a simple T-shirt and jeans, 8 tonnes of water is consumed. At the same time, an unpredictable amount of chemical materials and energy are used to turn fabrics into apparels. A large amount of chemicals are releaed into the environment from fabric dyes used in the production of conventional cotton or clothes with numerous colors. Recycling this large amount of water and energy starts by adding the unused clothes to the production cycle.
The carbon footprint, which shows the amount of carbon used per person released to the environment is reduced by recycling the clothes in the production cycle. This way, a contribution is made for the environment. Habits like walking or cycling instead of driving or using public transportation instead of private cars, and recycling old clothes help reduce the carbon footprint. Recycling a single pair of jeans helps reusing of 32 kgs of carbon released into the air and 400 MJ of energy in production, thus helping keep the carbon emission remain steady rather than increased.
How to Recycle Textiles?
Textile recycling is almost identical to the recycling of other substances and undergoes the same processes. First of all, the wastes obtained from manufacturers and consumers are placed in a certain order according to the fabric color and type. A correct classification is the most important part in recycling.
In case of an error, products obtained from recycling may also differ. New substances obtained from certain processes are sold to the new buyers according to the differences of usage and reintroduced in the economy.
Fabric recycling is riskier than other recycling areas and requires more labor. There is more intensive competition in fabric recycling. The color and amount of foreign substances in the fabric are the most important factors in the recycling process. The more severe a waste has, the more time it takes for the recycling workers, and requires more careful work. Color of fabric is also important. The more dye a fabric includes, the less valuable it becomes, and it turns into a waste difficult for recycling.